Anticipation is Keeping me Waiting
Carly Simon’s song “Anticipation” was before my time, but it rings of truth when it comes to the holidays with our older kids.
We have an expectation of how things will go – they will come home with wide open arms like when they were three! They will bask in our presence and eat all their favorite meals at home. They will spend time with their high school friends, sure, but it will be in our kitchen, laughing and cutting up just like the “good ol’ days.”
Oh, boy… The reality may be that — or it may be that they will give you a brief hug, toss their dirty laundry in the hall, and head out to meet high school friends at Sonic. Or something in the middle…
The trick in navigating these new waters of young adulthood and holidays at home is to temper your expectations with reality. Think back hard to your own days of returning to the nest after being gone. Was it your favorite thing to be grilled by your parents about all the experiences of your new life? Did you want to hang out 24/7 with your family? Maybe you did – I’m living in a house of boys and they can only handle about two hours of mom-time. If I’m lucky…
Young adults have gotten a taste of independence and they like it. Not to mention that they are in that age range of 18-24 when they are pretty self-absorbed. (You will hear me repeat this ad nauseum on here, because it takes everyone – me included! – by surprise!) I don’t mean that in a “kids these days!” kind of way. It’s just the way it is.
In a sense, it is necessary. They need to separate from you to build their own lives, plus it is a busy time – deciding on a career, falling in grownup-love, changing their minds on career paths, making a whole new set of friends, navigating potentially life-changing mistakes and coming back from them. College, early career, or military – it doesn’t really matter. There aren’t easy answers to some of the things they are facing.
Next week, we can chat about how to make sure that the holidays are meaningful for everyone – even you! The part to focus on now, two weeks before Thanksgiving, is to adjust your expectations. If you have to, stare at yourself in the mirror every morning and repeat after me. “Thanksgiving will not be perfect. There will be a few hurt feelings mixed in with the fun. ____ will not spend every second at home, and that’s ok. I’m a grownup – I can handle this.”
For more help on connecting with your teens/twenties, check out Karen Gauvreau’s blog post: