Hollie Grimaldi Flores: The future of our children
I am off to a slow start this new year. A little illness has made for some quality reading time as well as time in front of the television.
I have been spending time contemplating some of life’s big questions and still do not have any answers.
While I am behind in all things work related and struggling to keep up with my responsibilities, I cannot help but be thankful my children are grown and able to take care of themselves.
I was thinking about how incredibly difficult it was to be ill when little ones relied on me for their very existence, and how moms and dads really don’t get to call in sick to parenting. Those days were, luckily for me, few and far between.
Having spent over five years as a single parent, I fully empathize with those going it alone. Somehow, we got through those times when I was too sick to move but somehow managed to get their meals and keep them out of too much mischief until I was well again and operating at full speed.
The other side of that coin, when they were sick and I had to work, was also incredibly challenging. I was lucky enough to work in a small business and would literally bring the ill child into my office with videos and a sleeping bag and snacks. Depending on the malady, I was sometimes successful in doing my job.
Now that they are all adults, I sometimes long for the days when I could hold them and cuddle away what ailed them.
A soft place to land
At last count, two of the offspring have come back home to roost. One already has plans to move out but the other is just getting his feet back on the ground. Both say they are using the time to “recalibrate.”
Again, I am having to look at my role as a parent and how much helping is appropriate before the help becomes hindrance. I was adamant in my stance when they were all coming of age.
“Once they left,” I said boldly and with resolute determination, “they would only be allowed back for a few months, and they had to have a plan — an exit strategy — before they could come back in.” But then life happened.
They came home a little battered by some of what real-world experience had to offer. Injured hearts. Bruised egos. Nothing a mommy can fix.
Life is full of lessons. My hope for them is by giving them a soft place to land, they will be able to get back up on their feet a bit more quickly and will have learned a little bit more about themselves and what they want before they venture out on their own once again.
I often think back to when I first moved out of my parent’s house. I launched a bit early — while still in my senior year of high school — and never really thought moving back home was an option.
I only recently remembered I once spent a few weeks at my brother’s house while I figured out what to do and there were a couple of months, a few years later, when my sister took me in after I ended a not so great relationship. They provided the base I needed while I brushed myself off, healed some wounds and made my plans for what my next move would be.
The times are changing … fast
Admittedly, it was a simpler time. When I listen to my children discuss their worries, I can’t help but be a bit frightened for them.
They live in a world where leaders of nations are discussing who has the best nuclear button.
The climate, whether you believe it or not, is changing. Bigger and more frequent catastrophic storms are becoming commonplace. The middle class is eroding along with those fire ravaged hillsides.
Overall violence and mass shootings are now something to consider before traveling or attending large events.
The drug issues and specifically the Opioid Epidemic in our country has been declared a national emergency.
The cost of education against the likelihood of finding a job with a wage that will offset it is completely out of scale.
The number of those living at the poverty level is higher than ever. And some would argue, America is no longer the greatest country on the planet.
I am worried for my children as they forge ahead into an uncertain future. They are working through the big questions: “What do I want to do with my life? Will I ever find the right person for me? Do I want to bring children into this world? What can I do to make this world a better place? What can I do to make a difference?”
They are big questions and they are questions I cannot answer for them. I don’t know how to ease the pain and will not dismiss the concern.
But it makes me yearn for the days when a kiss and a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” band-aid was all it took to get them up and running again.
These days the band-aid comes in the form of a safe place to sleep and a warm meal to eat and the unconditional love that comes from this place they call home.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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