Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Be Careful of What You Don't Ask For
It is so easy to say the wrong thing to a grown child. Being a parent is often like walking on crusty egg shells. You hope the calcium carbonate of the shell will hold because there is no telling what is brooding within. Totally innocuous comments are misinterpreted and thought to be heat-seeking accusations.
My job, as I see it, is to cheer them on and offer ready support if things fall apart. Not to hover, not to impose.
I never asked my children for grandchildren. Never even hinted at such a thing. Not so my father-in-law. He is very old and worries that his bloodline will end. If my son does not supply a male heir (females need not apply) the family "heirlooms" are to be shipped to a distant cousin on the west coast. The cousin is eight years old and possibly lacking in the necessary gravitas.
The "heirlooms" aren't worth the freight, but it's Grandpa's dismissal of the female line I resent.
Earlier this year my son and his wife produced a delightful little girl. I didn't ask for a granddaughter but my life is much richer for her being in it. I see her every week.
Such abounding joy doesn't go unnoticed by the Fates. My son's family will soon be moving abroad with the foreign service. It could be anywhere. There are 280 embassies and consulates, many of them in countries I've not heard of. After two years, they will be transferred to another country, and on and on. We will visit of course, possibly via yak or sampan, but it's not the same as hopping on the beltway.