The pleasures of a grown child

I'm offline for the next few days, so will respond to this week's comments on the weekend. 

What better opportunity to share thoughts I've had recently concerning a child, 25-year-old Etienne?

Comments about how handsome he is will be graciously deferred to his father's gene pool; Etienne has, through and through, that side's features.

He's known to friends and colleagues as "ET", to his father by his full name, (never the English equivalent, Stephen) and to me as his baby nickname, Ed, provided for my American parents, for whom the pronunciation was daunting. (They tried, rhyming it with "Haitian". It is closer to Aye-TYENN.)

Etienne lives in Montréal with his sweetheart, Tash. We didn't move to be in the same city–young people are mobile–but it's the cherry on the sundae.

Besides those big blue eyes, he has a lively intelligence, presently aimed toward becoming an urban planner, and quirky, ready sense of humour. When I spend time with him, I often think of a colleague of decades ago, Halina who spoke to me of her thirty-something son. "He still surprises me", she told me, "and I enjoy him as much now as when he was a baby."

Everyone tells you about parenthood's first and second chapters: childhood and adolescence, those full, fraught volumes. They speak less of the delights of adult children, which Etienne contributes at every meeting.

Some of you have grown children, some are involved aunts or mentors. Even if this child can now drive you somewhere, you are still the generation ahead. You no longer have the pleasure of wrapping him, pink and wriggly, in a towel after lifting him from the bath, but you have the joy of hearing him discuss an article's logic or cook you a meal that contains echoes of what you gave him at your table.

This is a sweet and unanticipated joy.


Caryl said…
A beautiful young man who sounds alive in the world--
and how wonderful for you to have him nearby to experience the joy of a 'grown child'. I love being
the parent of adult--well, almost--daughters.
LPC said…
Lovely tribute to a young man who is clearly a wonderful person. I couldn't agree with you more about parenting adult children. It is a whole new world, and one worth exploring.
Susan B said…
What a wonderful post to read first thing this morning! It must be a joy indeed to have him nearby.
Lady T said…
Beautiful post!!
There's a significant level of comfort knowing even though we're no longer little, we'll always be our mother's babies.

And thank you, as he's become my favorite person.
The cherry on the top or the icing on the cake, living in the same city as your adult son offers many opportunities.
I must compliment you and The Duke on his good looks and what a fine looking couple he and Tash make...
one might project a little into the future and imagine how attractive the grand children might be!
If that happens the circle of life will find you holding another pink and wiggly babe in your arms.
(I highly recommend it)

Mean Mama said…
Yes, it is truly one of life's blessings to be able to enjoy your adult children! Enjoy this opportunity for however long it lasts.

And hopefully you will get to experience the TRUE cherry on top: grandchildren. That is pure bliss!
Patricia said…
As we are coming to the end of the adolescent years with our two sons, I can see an inkling of what lies ahead. Thank you for this lovely post - I very much look forward this time in our lives.
materfamilias said…
Wonderful post! How lovely to share a city with your adult son -- who looks out from his photograph with such lively engagement and obvious intelligence. Although mine are not so far away (about 2 hours, easy travel), I do miss having them in the same city. Enjoy!
Lorrie said…
Love this post. Adult children can bring such joy. Sometimes, I look at mine and think "where did you come from, wonderful person."

A lovely tribute to your son.
Anonymous said…
I've been experiencing this delight recently, too, since our 25-year-old daughter returned to our city to begin a promising new job.

Years ago, when this graceful, self-sufficient creature was still an (occasionally) infuriating teenager, I stood in line at the farmers' market behind a man and woman who were clearly former neighbors. As they traded news of their happy and accomplished adult children, their pride, pleasure, and sheer relief at having made it through the minefield of adolescence, gave me hope for the future. Now that future is here, and it is lovely.

Etienne has a wonderfully good-natured face. He must be fun to have around!

KSL said…
No - he looks exactly like you! You don't see that?
Very handsome and inviting face. We enjoy our adult children, their spouses and friends so much, it amazes me. I'm staring at your "prove you're not a robot" thing right now, and afraid I'm not going to pass on this first try.
Duchesse said…
Caryl: Daughters! How I would love to have had even one.

LPC: Thank you, and your own post about your children was on my mind when I wrote.

Une Femme: It is great, and we all miss his brother, six hours away.

Lady T: Ahh, you are his, too.

hostess: That's my hope too and you, like so many of my friends are so lucky.

Mean Mama: Without wanting to apply any pressure- the parties involved will read this- that would be a great joy.

Patricia: His good qualities have ascended; they were always there but sometimes obscured by teen angst. Adolescence is another planet!

materfamilias: Delighted to have met one of them! Realize we 'meet' your other two daughters in the blog more often than your son, so was happy to read about the wedding.

Lorrie Orr: Well, from you, of course... and it is so gratifying to see the hard work of all those years mature into a wonderful person.

C.: Oh, for joy! Even occasional meetings or drop-bys are a pleasure. Happy for you.

Kathy Leeds: Those robot checks are infuriating, I often have to to try 3 times. He does have my quick temper and biorhythm.

diverchic said…
I remember you walking through the farmer's market on Saturday morning with two bright little kids in a stroller. They were looking at everything and so excited by life. I am delighted to see Etienne's picture and hear how he warms you. He'll bring you that daughter you want.

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