After the reading, Wednesday November 17 in The cross, of the article “Supporting your adult children” on the delicate exercise of parents of young adults, I sat quiet on my sofa, submerged by a wave of images, sketches, which simultaneously sprang from my reading, as cheerful as love unleashed, nostalgic as that which lingers but is already no more.
I was wondering, for example, what we called “young adults”. In my house, everything from the next generation is young adult, and if I live long enough (twenty-five, thirty?) To attend the retirement party of one of my children, or why not both, that will not change anything. Listening to them say their farewell words to their colleagues, I will always have on my face that slightly silly smile of the pastry chef who has put her meringues in the oven and who regularly, during their long and delicate cooking, checks through the glass that all this looks good.
I also saw myself walking as often alone with the father of these young adults (it sounds cold said like that but, in truth, it’s another way of saying “my young husband ”), telling him with animation and a touch of concern the last anecdote entrusted by one or the other of our children. And him to serve me his favorite answer: “So let them do it their way …” I am indignant. We can talk, right? And then I frown.
And here I am in need of decades when I myself was a young adult. It lasted fifty years. I know because it was my age when my mother died. She guaranteed me this marvelous status, which allows me at leisure to send indiscreet parents for a walk or to come and snuggle up momentarily under their wing without their having asked for it. My mom couldn’t find anything more rewarding than getting me out of the woods. Or better yet, because it was a double blow, to get one of my children out of the woods. Squatting in front of the lowest shelf of her library to free up her heavy dictionary of ancient Greek, that famous Bailly who only served her for that, she helped her granddaughter stuck in a Greek version, and got up with difficulty but like renewed. Competent, useful, and it was necessary because, as she repeated over and over again, “With the life you lead …” Implied “How do your children survive? ” And we, the parents, retarded young adults, shrug our shoulders. Grateful, but not too much. Annoyed, but not too much either.
When my mother died, I quickly realized that I was no longer a young adult to anyone. The next day, going out to take some initial steps, I saw that it was gray and cold and I said to myself: “If she sees me, she wants me to come up and get a scarf.” ” What I have done.
The cell phone did not help clarify the situation. I have set mine so that it can silence all callers except my children. Americans call it “helicopter parents”, buzzing aloft above their children, ready to land for an emergency and take off in stride. It is surely very badly but, whatever they do, the parents are always wrong and some, of which I am one, do not know how to love without worrying. So they buzz and form with their grown-up children this paradoxical crew, in which each accepts the help of the other both as a gift that he receives and as a gift that he gives. The law itself emphasizes that the maintenance obligation of parents towards their children does not cease when they come of age. Do not those who, in the application of this law, show an excess of zeal, deserve some indulgence?