I wonder if other parents have had a similar feeling to the one I had when my daughter and son-in-law took me out for dinner and paid the bill for the first time.
Since my daughter, Lisa, married Josh, I’d always insisted on paying the bill. For one thing, I wanted to do it because I love them and, besides, young couples typically don’t have the disposable income their parents have. It’s also a traditional thing to do for most parents. Parents raise their children, providing for their needs and imparting values. I know other fathers who’ve told me that their adult daughters, for instance, are still “their little girls.” I still feel that way. When they’re grown, we’re proud of their achievements and independence, but it’s still strange to let go of the role of provider.
Somewhere along the way, roles reverse in life in some ways. I have memories of the first time I bought my parents a meal at a nice restaurant. It wasn’t a birthday celebration or any other special occasion. It was just that I wanted to do it and was able to pay. This was also the case when Josh and Lisa bought my dinner.
In my case, I immediately thought of insisting I pay but I realized that this would be the wrong reaction. My wonderful daughter and son-in-law wanted to do it for me because they love me and they were able. I realized I needed to understand that roles were changing and a big “Thank you,” was the proper response. Someday my grandson, Noah, will do the same for his mom and dad.
Then again, though, I reserve the future right to invite Lisa, Josh and Noah and pick up the tab.