Yesterday I spoke to two friends of mine who are mothers. Their "kids" are eighteen and twenty something. We all seem to be having the same problem... keeping our opinions to ourselves.
One friend, we'll call her Sally, is watching her eighteen year-old son spend most of his summer on the computer playing games. He's going to college in the fall. He worked hard throughout high school and will be going to an excellent college -- but right now he's not feeling well. They are making the rounds of doctors and it appears that his illness may be stress-related, but he's sure it's something serious. She tries talking with him, but they always seem to end up in an argument. He feels judged for spending so much time on the computer and even though she doesn't say much, he complains that the look on her face shows her disapproval.
And then another friend, Deb, has a daughter who's in her twenties (we'll call her Sarah). After graduating from college, Sarah has held a series of jobs and isn't quite sure what she wants to do.
Yesterday Sarah was driving down from San Francisco to L.A. and she stopped to visit a friend in city along the way. She spoke to Deb about how much she liked this city and was thinking of staying there and Deb said, "That's such an expensive city! How can you afford to live there?" Sarah said, "You always do that to me. You always criticize everything I want to do!"
As Deb said to me later on, "I loved being a mom when they were little. It was so easy when they were six."
It is hard being a parent now. It's also hard being a kid.
After I posted this, I was reading the New York Times and saw a very sad story about parents who had lost young children in suicide bombings in Iraq. I think it's important that we remember how fortunate we are in this country and how difficult life is for so many on this planet. One billion people have no access to clean water, no money, very little food, and go to sleep each night worrying about their safety. Maybe we should stop worrying so much about our kids and their futures and put our energy into making this world a better place for everyone. Somehow.