Wondering and worrying a bit....!

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Wondering and worrying a bit....!
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 7:49pm

I'm not one to worry much about my children - maybe I'm odd that way as a mother.  Well, I've had my moments especially during their teen years, but I've gotten quite good at not imagining bad things so as to feed worry.  Things don't usually turn out so badly in the end.  However my dd recently has not been around much - and I'm quite sure some of it's to do with late work hours and being tired and not having the umph to get up and come here for the family Sunday dinner - not a prescribed activity, but an invitation to whomever can and wants to make it.  She doesn't have a car, (well,she doesn't drive so of course no car!) but not to say that if she wanted to she could snag a ride with her brother (who does have a car) or might just take the public transit.  But that's not the point.  She has expressed feeling "sh***y" lately, tired and basically depressed (by the sounds of it, though she has not quite used the depressed word).  This is all over the phone as we've hardly seen her in weeks on end.  She divulged a bit about how it's been impossible to find a two bedroom apartment with a friend she wanted to share with.  And then there was worries about whether she might become one of the laid-offs as her bar/restaurant will be culling the servers down to smaller numbers for the fall and winter.  She is not immune, as she said.

But I sensed that there were other issues bothering her that she was not wishing to talk about with her parents.  Perhaps it is relationship troubles with her 'newish' boyfriend?  I have not even asked her about him lately.  I was allowing her to be the first one to mention him.  The fact that she hasn't has me wondering if he is the source of her sadness.  It's like I don't say anything...and she doesn't...it's seems to be an agreed topic we are steering clear of! 

I spoke on the phone with her on Sunday.  She admitted to feeling a bit better...(phew!).  I mentioned something about how we as parents are naturally concerned about her but she seemed to say if not outright, but in an implied way that she won't be sharing with us what all this upset is about.  She did say she has a lot of people (friends) she can talk with - i.e. she will share with them what she doesn't want to share with us.  O-kay....  I think she was trying to reassure us too in a weird way. 

It's not like she's been the dd who comes to share everything with her parents anyway.  For whatever reason, it may be just easier to share with friends than with parents.  And that is okay, but it's not easy to know your child is hurting and you don't know why, or you can't even console or give a modicum of advice to because they won't allow you to!  So we check in with her with tweets and phone calls and we await for whatever.  She did say that there is a possible one bedroom apartment that may be available in a small apartment complex two of her friends are living in and which Christine would love to rent.  I hope that this is a real possibility and it comes true for her as I am sure this would be a boost for her. 

Anyway this isn't written to elicite  or ask for sympathy...just an expression of what's going on lately with one of my children.  All of 24 years old now...not a baby!  I hope things will somehow improve for her (whatever is going on!) - perhaps she will let us in on this in time, or she will solve it or it will solve itself.  


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 9:04pm

What a worry, Shirley. But I don't see how you can make Christine confide in you-you've opened the door by telling her that you & Ray are concerned for her. And when she is ready-she will tell you what it is. It may be much later-but she won't say anything until she is ready.

I believe that kids come in 2 forms-those who are willing to open up to their parents & those who would never do so-at least not until much later. I can't see how you can change her from one to the other.

Good Luck with this.


Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 8:48am
Maybe just send a care package so it's on her time, no pressure to talk about anything, but showing you care? (just my unsolicited $.02)
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 2:06pm

It seems like both of you spend a lot of time NOT saying anything.  You "sense", but don't ask anything.  She "implies" but doesn't say anything.  Perhaps if you took a more proactive stance, activly expressing your SPECIFIC MOTHERLY concern, telling her you could help more if you knew the specifics, offer to drive her to look at places to live, visit the dr, go to the grocery, whatever she needs-- she'd open up more. 
And face to face discussions are always more productive than phone conversations or tweets and texts.  Why don't you take her out for lunch and shopping, or out to dinner and a movie?  It would give your relationship a boost, and the natural conversation it promotes might relax her enough to let her open up.


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 2:24pm

I'm glad you shared this here.  I personally find it so hard to not cross the boundaries with my 20yo.  Thinking back on what my parents did or didn't do isn't much help - they were alternately too hands-off and too nosy, but mostly I kept them at arm's length because they were so authoritarian and yet detached when we were growing up. 

DH & I have been much more involved with our kids, but at this age, DS doesn't want our help unless he's asked for it.  It's hard for me in particular because there have been times when I've had to be super-involved - DS is transgender, so I had a different role when he was growing up as a girl than I do now that he is a young man, and in the last year I had a very intimate role in his female-to-male transition - but now that the big stuff is behind us, he doesn't want anything from me in that regard, including conversation.  (He will, however, accept shopping and fashion help from DH!)

When our family was on vacation last week together, I would see him occasionally looking at texts and smiling, and I thought, how ridiculously happy I still am when I see him smiling over something, even though it has nothing to do with me.  I'm sure I will always be happier when he is happy than when he isn't.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 8:17pm

I think the trouble with the board is that individual differences can be easily lost. What works for Sabr with her dd's wouldn't necessarily work with anyone else-just as what works for me doesn't work for anyone else. I have listened to Shirley worry about Christine a lot-I know she's tried to open communication lines so much-tried to make dates to go shopping or to have lunch, only to be met with resistance. Dates made are broken-& there isn't much that can be done about it except to worry more & try again-though after awhile, you can seem to be a pushy mom or a nag. As I said-I've had it both ways over the years, sometimes they confide, sometimes they do not. Sometimes they share early on & sometimes they prefer to do it their own way & only share with the crisis is passed.

I know everyone means well-we are all friends, I think. But I also think that we have to give our opinions without passing judgement. What works for us is not going to work for everyone else. And I think that for the board to work, sometimes the best thing isn't advice-but empathy.

Just IMHO...Nora

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 10:35pm

We were going to go to lunch, but she bowed out the other day.  She hasn't come home for a long time but we understand that working downtown and staying at friends' places is more convenient (though I imagine still not a wonderful situation compared to having your own place).  We live quite a distance away from her work - she wants to work downtown (so don't even think she would choose to work closer to our place).  Don't assume I've not helped her out before, Sabr.  I've done plenty to support and help her and I won't list all the ways here.  But I won't be going to look for apartments with her.  I never got the impression she wanted me along for that.  She's got a lot of friends who live downtown and seem to know the lay of the land and I think she is in contact with them - in this last case, she may get a referral from two of her friends in the apartment building where she'd like to rent too.  But apparently finding an affordable place to rent in Calgary (especially close to downtown) is really difficult - not many to be had, that is to say. There are some things I am quite certain she doesn't want to involve me in just as a matter of her being an adult and wanting to do things she feels capable of doing on her own.  

Right now getting together with her is on her terms and of course I can only meet her on her days off, when she'll even tell me when those days are.  She works a lot of late hours and I never know when to phone her except possibly late afternoons.  She will sleep in on some days quite late because of her later work hours.  Or sometimes she actually works an earlier shift, but I never know her schedule. 

Anyway it's true that I have been cautious to not want to pry if she isn't wanting to share whatever it is she's going through. She does know of my concern, that I'm not uncaring and that I have expressed that I'm there for her if she wants to confide in me or her father or would like our help. And I do look forward to our getting together for lunch some time hopefully soon.  I do agree that face-to-face is so much better than even talking on the phone. 



Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 10:45pm
Shirley, you are so right that it is hard to watch your child hurting at anytime but it is especially difficult when they won't communicate. As Nora said, kids have their own approach to dealing with their parents & there is little we can do but let them know the door is always open.

My eldest 2 have been known to overshare at times but that's ok. To this day there are things that happened in my youngest DS's life that I have no idea what caused them. I dealt with the mess afterwards but still don't know what went on. I learned 2 wks ago that he was quitting his job effective Sept 1st & going to school full time. It was his brother who told me. My DS doesn't like to talk on the phone, he doesn't email but will text depending on his mood & some of our best conversations are by text. We used to go out to eat together but his fiance always joins us & she is far more talkative than he is.

You are there for all your kids. They know the door is open & Christine took advantage of this last year when she came home for a bit. You are doing all you can.

Hugs to you, Dee
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2010
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 12:13pm

I believe all parents have been in your shoes with older children.  They want to be independent but are still our children and we feel responsible for their happiness.  I hate it when I "sence" something it not right and my DD does not say anything.  I have found eventually she opens up but not always.  AND she has friends she confides in, same as your DD.  My DD says they understand better as they are in the same position in life, I have to agree.  While at 50+ I THINK I know more about life than my children, when in fact, since they are 29 and 31yo, they know a lot as well. (I did when I was that age:smileyhappy:)

Over the years I have used letters to express my feeling to my DD.  With a letter she cannot argue my point, she just has to take it in. 

Good Luck.