Yesterday we (husband, myself, sons ages 22 and nearly 19, daughter age 15, and Grandma, age 80) returned from a five day family vacation to Chicago (2 travel days, 3 city days). Everyone is glad they went, even with moments of drama and adjustment to who everyone is right now. We learned a lot about each other and some of us learned things about ourselves (both good and not so good).
I was given opportunity to work on adjusting to my children being "adults" in most every sense of the word, especially my sons. My husband and I are learning how to parent children who aren't kids any more. Adult parent and adult child is a whole new ballgame. Communication skills have to be developed to a new level. New boundaries exist and running into them is sometimes like touching an electric fence that you didn't know was there.
In case you think this is my way of subtly saying the vacation was awful - it isn't. The trip had its share of challenges - we have some strong personalities in our family - but no one was sorry they went, everyone rates it as a success, and we're better for the experience.
I'm watching my children become more than just siblings, they're becoming friends. Friends with the bond of family that I pray will keep them together for the rest of their lives no matter where their paths may lead them.
I find myself in real conversations with them individually and together - we talk about how things are between us now, what the future might look like, and how we truly feel about things. Open dialogue is something my husband and I have always encouraged, and we are thankful that it is still there. I'm not naive enough to think they tell me (or even their father) everything - but what they do tell me, they tell me honestly, and that's enough. I don't have to know everything, as long as they know they can tell me anything.
Tonight as I write this, I am listening to the storm outside. There's thunder, a few flashes of lightening, a flood alert, and rain pouring down in buckets. I have no fear, I feel safe and content. My family is whole and closer than ever. It has been a good summer.
Labels: adult children, becoming friends, Chicago, family, family vacation, siblings