Tuesday Update

Donna’s visiting her sisters in Michigan and I’m sort of on my own for a couple of weeks. Sort of because our prodigal daughter is back, once again unemployed and homeless, squatting in our guest bedroom with her cats. Last time she stayed three years. Where have we failed? Current mood: despair.

A bit of good news, though: two months ago we loaned our son and daughter-in-law some money so they could make the down on a new house outside Las Vegas. The sale of their old home went through yesterday and today they paid us back, with interest (which we did not ask for).

You hear people talk about how the economy leaves them living less large than their parents, and how they fear their own children will have to live smaller yet. We haven’t seen that in our lives, and we’re thankful for it. Donna and I got a little help from my parents during the first years of our marriage, but mostly we were on our own. We, on the other hand, were able to pay for both our kids to go to college, buy them cars when they needed them, and even help with serious shit like that new house. Our son’s been a great provider for his family and they live at least as well as we do, arguably better (they’ve been able to send both their kids to out-of-state colleges, something our kids could never have hoped for). Our daughter has/had the potential to do just as well, but her troubles come from within and have nothing to do with the economy. At least we can offer her a roof when she’s down and out. One day we’ll die, and there’ll be something in the estate for both our children … maybe not much, but something.

So there’s a sense of accomplishment to offset the despair. Few parents get just one or the other, am I right?

3 thoughts on “Tuesday Update

  • My daughter got herself to a much better place than I ever hoped for myself, at least in my most rational hopes, but even at that we’ve been able to help them out in an occasional bind. And since it was from their inheritance, repayment isn’t critical It’s a good feeling.

  • I feel fortunate to have managed to stay employed in my chosen career for the last 25+ years, with one 2-month stint of unemployment after the airline was working for went out of business. But my parents did support me in my career goals, bought me a car on a couple of occasions when I needed one, etc. I did mostly pay for about half of my college on my own after I got out of the military using the GI Bill, but they did pay for my tuition to go to dispatch school, which was much appreciated on my part.

  • Peer and media influence are most responsible for childhood direction past age about age eight, I’m convinced. We are not much to blame for bad outcomes nor should we be overly credited when they turn out just fine. But we do both all the time from misplaced guilt and pride. Though the marriage failed and I’m better off seldom talking to the old spouse, my 30-something kids turned out to be functioning and mostly happy autonomous members of society with (usually) jobs and loving partners. And they don’t hate their parents despite the many mistakes and errors we both made. I think the most important thing is demonstrating character. You can tell your kids whatever you like but they know you better than you know yourself and your actions matter 100x what you proclaim. Of course the down side of raising your offspring to be independent cusses is they never write!
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