When Your Child Becomes the Adult in His Life

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Maybe it was last weekend or the one before that that I read this essay in The New York Times, but it’s been dancing around my head ever since. It’s by author and lecturer Susan Engal, and it’s all about the heartbreaking reality of parenting grown children, who are trying to make their own way in the sometimes rude and cold world.

“They fall in love, break their hearts, apply for jobs, leave or lose the jobs, choose new homes, can’t pay the rent for those new homes and question their choice of profession. They forge their way, all just outside of your helping reach. Then, when bad things happen, they need you like crazy, but you discover that the kind of help you’ve spent 25 years learning how to give is no longer helpful.” – Susan Engal in her NYT‘s essay “When They’re Grown, the Real Pain Begins.”

I started thinking about it, the days when my kid will have to be the adult in his life. Then I tried to think about anything else. It was too much. I didn’t have to wait long before my mind was pulled back into the now. I heard the call, the refrain … the one that comes 10, 20 times (probably more) each day: Hey, Mommm!  My kid needed me. He needed my help with something simple and plain. And I was delighted.




  • 1
    Kristin says:

    Just re-read this. Seems more poignant considered what has happened since this post went up. I haven’t posted anything since Friday because I can’t bring myself to be 1) controversial 2) an echo of what has already been said 3) a half-hearted philosopher 4) someone who is moving on. I’m counting on you to lead the way with your usual insight and care.

    • 1.1
      Ms. Mary Mack says:

      I’ve been at a loss — for words, for everything — since that Friday. And for all the reasons you listed above and more, I’ve been relatively silent online (blog, social media). This entire nation is heartsick over this horrible, horrible thing that happened.

      Thanks for your comment, Kristin. As always, kind, thoughtful and a great help.