Having talked to various young men and women in their early to mid twenties, in Newburyport and elsewhere, I am beginning to think that the early to mid twenties thing may be as difficult in its own way as the teenage years thing.
I have two wonderful Newburyport neighbors who are somewhere in their late thirties and early forties, closer to, and therefore with better memories of, the age of the twenty age thing than moi.
They tell me that it is a teetering transition time between adulthood and childhood (I naively thought this took place at 18) and it’s best to throw them to the wolves.
My son seems to agree with the throwing to the wolves thing, at least when it comes to the female member of the parenting part. I am all in agreement, with the great hope that the journey to adulthood thing, not only has been set into motion, but is chugging down the adulthood path at some sort of consistent regularity.
However, it is not necessarily easy to have gone intensely down the parenting highway at a good clip for a good couple of decades, get off at a 30 mile an hour thoroughfare, Newburyport or elsewhere, and be able to actually slow down. The brakes get quite a workout. I am, however, more than ready to enjoy the scenery.
Others who are older than my Newburyport neighbors, with children who are in their 30’s and 40’s tell me a different story. They look at me with either a smile or a frown, and tell me, “They never really leave home.”
And at least for me, while my parents were alive, that was indeed true. I might not have actually been present at their actual dwelling or in contact at that actual moment, but there was always a sense of “home,” one that, yes, might have evolved over the years, but still, in whatever shape it took, existed in a very tangible way. And I didn’t comprehend that I had stood on that foundation, with both obliviousness and confidence, until that foundation was no longer there.