Friday, January 7, 2011

Those Darn Kids!

Mollie writes:

I'm finding that having adult children comes with its own set of complications. Our oldest turns 29 in a few days, and I've been wracking my brain, trying to come up with a few ideas for presents for him.

Part of my problem is that it used to be so easy. Having a child with a birthday right after Christmas is a good thing for a parent. The after-Christmas sales are to die for, and you figure out what your kid really wanted by Christmas Day afternoon. Once your eyes are opened to what wasn't under the tree, a mom can race right out, and for 80% off, and buy the coveted object. Easy squeezy.

But these darn kids just grow up and everything changes. My oldest is now grown and can pretty much buy for himself the things he wants that are within our price range. So buying him a thingamajig is pretty much off the list, as he already has a thingamajig, and in three colors.

Also, he lives hundreds of miles away, so I just can't run over and figure out that he needs towels, kitchen utensils, etc. This works out well for the adult child, but is a real obstacle for a parent. How do we tell our kids that his linens are faded when we don't know what state they're in? How do we know our kid needs a new vacuum when we rarely see his condo, and when we do, it's spotless, not because he's a perfect housekeeper, but he had the sense to throw out all the empties before we came.

The dilemmas for us empty-nesters!

My husband and I came up with a reasonable solution. In the past, we've invited him to send us links to websites that have something he wants. We then buy it for him and have it sent directly to him. It takes all the stress out of whether or not he needs or wants it, but also handles the problems of shipping, etc. This year, we are sending him a new corkscrew and some gadgets for his computer. But it just doesn't seem like enough.

So we assembled a "Make Your Own Birthday Party" box and filled it with streamers, candles, horns, silly hats and decorations. Hopefully, when he opens it, he'll know that we are partying in spirit if not in person. Add a silly card, and we've got it made.

It's been almost 30 years since we had the little mite. It's hard not having him around for cake and silliness but this may be as close as it gets.


  1. You lost me at "about to turn 29." We have kids in their mid-to-late 20s, Mollie. That makes us . . . let me do the math, here . . .



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