day 212: pushed over

Tonight Geo and I were talking about parenting adult children.  With a 21 year-old that is extremely independent in every way, except financially (been job hunting since returning from Africa 3 months ago), we are rewriting our handbook and starting all over again in so many of the things we thought we would do 20 years ago.  See, that's the thing about parenting handbooks-- they are up for editing on a regular basis.

me:  Hon, when did you become completely independent from your parents?

him:  Man, not until I was married, I guess.

We met in college, and though we were legally adults, we were still dependents.  I had student loans for tuition, but my parents always put funds into my checking account to help me eat and have electricity.  They were good to me without giving me too much.  Geo always had a scholarship (even all through grad school, during what I call the So Cal experience), but worked part-time for spending money and food, with his parents paying his rent.  We were supported, in every definition.

 That's #1 in the blue shirt. 

Now that my son is fully engulfed in college life, and is trying to get on his own, I find myself more sympathetic than impatient. As long as we see progress toward goals, and as long as I get a big bear hug every now and then, we will be his scaffolding.  Hey, what can I say?  I am a total pushover.

ps   recorded scarborough fair for musical monday with my friend, liz, tonight.  


Dona | March 19, 2010 at 1:01 AM

Scaffolding. That is a great way to think of it. Some projects require more scaffolding than others and the need for it changes during different stages of a project. Nice.

LisAway | March 19, 2010 at 2:57 AM

I love reading about your different stages of parenting. It makes being a parent seem even more exciting and makes me a little less sad to see my kids growing up so fast (but sometimes it makes me even more sad, like the rubber ducky post. :)

All children need scaffolding, and your kids will always be YOUR children. Plus, scaffolding is temporary and transportable.

LisAway | March 19, 2010 at 2:58 AM

(not to say that you are temporary!! I just mean that it's there when it's needed but can be moved around. It's flexible. I think/hope you know what I mean).

Connie | March 19, 2010 at 7:42 AM

I'm STILL dependent on my parents! Not for money but for advice, emotional support, and friendship. Parenting books need to be up-dated semi-annually! Be patient with #1 - he's so cute!

UTMomof4 | March 19, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Great post. I still depend on my mom too for advice and a listening ear. When anything happens in my life, sad or happy, big or small, she is the second one I tell (after Jason, of course).

Sabine Berlin | March 19, 2010 at 12:15 PM

I think that is what families are for. We have been dependent on both our parents even at times in our marriage and now as our parents are getting older there are times they are dependent on us. I think it is great to give enough without giving too much. Way to go!

wendy | March 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

I am totally the same way. As long as I see my children appying themselves, putting forth effort....and the beat hug
I find myself digging out the check book

it's what moms and dad's do
and teach independence along the way.
It'll come.
I tell my kids they will get their turn to TAKE CARE OF ME SOMEDAY, and they better do a good job of it (tee,hee)

Lara Neves | March 19, 2010 at 8:09 PM

I will be forever grateful for the way my parents helped me through my adult life, and help me still!

The scaffolding visual is so good.

Minna | March 24, 2010 at 8:17 AM

scaffolding is a hot term in education right now at least on our coast. building a framework to help children learn - supporting them until they have the knowledge firmly built in their own minds.

parenting is definitely about scaffolding. and the scaffolds change and adjust as time goes by. sometimes i expect the older the child is the less they will need but sometimes it is just the opposite.

you were lucky to have parents who supported you and your decisions and your children are lucky to have you and gid to do the same. it's what we do when we bring these people in to the world.