GUEST BLOG POST: A Son Ponders… a member of Grown and Flown

We were worried. Our son suddenly seemed miserable during his second semester of junior year in college.  Texting him that I wanted to take him out to dinner, I made the three hour trip to campus to try to get to the bottom of it. Coasting up to his front door, I slouched in the driver’s seat so as not to announce my arrival to the rest of the dorm. I texted, he hopped in the car and off we went to one of the nicer restaurants near campus.

My son tends to keep his feelings to himself and I live in fear he will become a secret agent the minute he graduates. My only relief is that my friends promise me that all boys keep information irritatingly private. It took two glasses of red wine to loosen him up (he’s twenty-one) as I led into my line of questioning. Fearful that I might lose the moment, I was tempted to order a third glass when he began to share his innermost fears.

“Will Dad live to see his grandchildren?”

My husband and I are older parents. In fact, he is thirteen years older than me, a career woman who gave birth when I was pushing thirty-nine. His words came tumbling out in a torrent of concerns that either one of us might die sooner rather than later.

“Face it, Mom. Parents of college kids are a lot younger than you and Dad. I’m scared.  He’s still working too hard, he’s stressed and when he’s on vacation he’s always on the phone.  It’s not healthy.”

“Do I look as though I’m on my deathbed?” I asked, as uncomfortable humor was often my knee jerk reaction.

Now finishing our wine  (a glass I dearly needed given the subject matter,) we discussed the pros and, now painfully obvious, cons of having a child so late in life. I assured him that his father and I are both healthy, that age is a state of mind and that he could rest assured we would do everything in our power to maintain good health for many years to come. I promised to eliminate Haagen daz ice cream from my diet, a great personal sacrifice, but one worth making to give my son peace of mind.

As it turns out, while my husband and I had been up half the night before worrying about him, he spent all weekend worrying about us. His ruminating about our demise had sent him into a major funk. As an only child, whose cousins are in their forties with children of their own, his immediate family is limited to us – a sixty-year old mother, a seventy-three year old father and a long since dead dog whose spirit lingers.

While neither of us feels particularly old, I suppose we are getting a little long in the tooth in our son’s eyes. It’s something I hadn’t considered all those years ago when I finally decided to get pregnant. It never occurred to me that my child would one day feel the pressure of having older parents and what that entailed.

That night I reported the conversation to my husband whose silence spoke volumes. It turns out this very subject had been on his mind as well. He, too, made a vow to stay healthy, to exercise more and to pry himself from his iPhone. No business deal is worth your child living with the fear that you are not long for this world. Now convinced that we would pay closer attention to our health and his legitimate fear of us not being around to see his children, we hope our son can work on finishing his college career with a flourish, all thoughts of impending doom put to rest.


 Written by a member of  – Parenting From the Empty Nest.