These are the good ol’ days
It makes me sad when I hear my friends pine for the good ol’ days of childhood, when you could tell your children what to wear, what to eat, and how to behave on Thanksgiving. Not because I don’t get it – I do – but any day can be the best. We just have to adjust our expectations of what the “best” looks like.
One of my favorite memories of my all-but-adult children was on a roadtrip recently, playing “name that tune” of old theme songs from TV shows. I asked one of my boys, “How do you know these old songs?” He looked at me with a puzzled glance and said “Hulu.”
Of course. All of the old shows we watched in high school and college are back, thanks to the genius of streaming. They can watch Friends, Growing Pains, Scooby Doo, ER, Who’s the Boss, or many more right on their device. Some things never change… And many more do change – but for the better!
Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing – but it is a difficult thing to navigate sometimes. Holidays are a case in point – newly hatched chicks want to visit old friends when they come home. They chaff against too much family time and they are used to being more relaxed about cleanliness — both their own and their space’s.
So, how do we navigate the holidays with teens and twenty-somethings, without hurt feelings or everyone retreating to their own corners? It isn’t always easy, but it can be done.
- Lower your expectations. Holidays are a bit chaotic anyway. Just embrace it. There will be more mess, more noise, and less structure. It won’t be Norman Rockwell; it will be more like Andy Warhol. Hopefully, minus the drugs!
- Set the non-negotiables. Even as adults, we have to follow certain rules, right? Everyone has different sticking points – maybe the common areas have to be kept clean. Thanksgiving dinner is at grandma’s, with everyone looking their best, whatever form that takes these days (brush your hair and teeth? don’t wear pajama bottoms?)
- Arrange something fun that everyone, from the fourteen year old to the fifty six year old can enjoy. A basketball game? The latest movie? Family game night?
- Anticipate bumps. Be quick to say I’m sorry and quick to forgive.
- Schedule time alone to regroup. Maybe, for introverts, that truly is alone-time. No one else – reading a book, visiting a coffee shop. Maybe, for extroverts, that is dinner with just your spouse or a mani/pedi with a friend. Get away from the noise for awhile and remember that, two months ago, you longed for the craziness of all your kids at home!
- Be a grown-up’s parent, not an elementary parent. Recognize that you can’t control everything anymore – not their friends, not their career choices, not their leisure time activities, not even when they choose to start their day. Unless it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas. Gotta be at Aunt Jackie’s semi-close to noon.
- Get in the pictures! I know, I get it – the extra ten pounds, the wrinkly brow,- but your kids think you’re beautiful, just as you are. Although, we really need to toss that jean skirt in the garbage, Mom!