March 25, 2010

Seeing Anew

One of the challenges when all the children leave the nest, is keeping up with them in a deep, intimate and satisfying way without pestering them to death with questions or prying. The best way to understand their lives is to go and visit them and stay in their home. My parents always practiced this, as did my in-laws (although they gave shorter notice, as in "We're in the car and will be there tonight"). But then they'd go with us on our carpools, help sweep/vacuum the floor after dinner (one set liked the broom, the other set liked the vacuum).

And so as I type this, I'm sitting up in bed--an inflatable mattress that gave a serviceable night's sleep--having enjoyed a night in my youngest son's home office. We drove up the length of California yesterday arriving here near dinner time. First a look at his office, then to their new home--a tiny 900 square foot detached condo, and a hello to his wife and a welcome by their dog. We had dinner out, then walked through a bookstore, then back to their home for conversation and a game of Scrabble.

We heard about the uptick in his small business (yay!), the lab work she's doing in her PhD program, saw the dog's tricks, viewed their garden and array of miniature peat pots holding seedlings. We heard about her parents, viewed the wedding photos (they were married this past summer), and discussed how computers work (well, we tried to keep up with this conversation, led by my son).

My husband and son blew up the mattress, made the bed, while my son's wife showed me her Kindle and the different features and options. Then more conversation and then bed, and we fell asleep underneath a quilt I'd made for them for their wedding.

A satisfying--although brief--visit.


  1. You post makes me realize that I need to put myself in my mother-in-law's shoes more often. (My father-in-law's too.) Thanks for doing that... especially since the holidays are coming.

  2. Thanks for this post. I need to go see my son and his wife.

  3. Elizabeth, your visit validates your son and daughter in law as adults making their own way in life. The relationship we share with our children begins to move to a new level of shared adult experiences. By visiting them you send a strong message about love being a two way street. What better way to invest some of your time. Well done you!

  4. Sounds lovely. I am looking forward to getting to visit our daughter and son-in-law as they get settled into married life but what I am really hoping is that they will move back here so we can hang out often!