Chapter 1. Where Have all our Children Gone?
The complex terrain of parents and adult children.
Melanie struggles over money with her three children.
Theresa almost lost her son and his fiancée when she misspoke on a footrace.
Sheila, whose seven grown children live nearby, reveals her secrets of success.
Lizzie refrained from giving advice and saved her daughter’s marriage.
Chapter 2. Hiding in Plain Sight
Grown children tell what they feel about their parents.
Diane’s mother understood what grown children want from their parents.
Erin reconnected with her father, despite his bad behavior when she was young.
Delores learned how to be a good grandmother from her grown daughter.
Gary’s dad made a small gesture that changed their relationship for the better.
Chapter 3. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
There is no ideal family, and everybody has a different way of being close.
The Cantors get along very differently with their three children.
Parents of 20-somethings struggle with the “Gotta Go generation.”
Douglas, a gay man, fought his family for acceptance and is very close to them.
Angela adores her family and keeps things peaceful by living a continent away.
Chapter 4. Whose Life is it, Anyway?
Important words about advice: Do Not Give It.
Norma’s very good advice turned her grown son against her.
Celine’s parents tried to take control of her life and sent her far from them.
Doris, the fixer-upper-mom doesn’t understand why her son keeps his distance.
Shredded Tongue Syndrome and other signs of good judgment.
Tragedy can be the great teacher.
Chapter 5. In-Laws, Step-Parents, and other Aliens
Dealing with complex family structures.
Peggy remembers her wonderful mother-in-law.
Marian’s good manners got her through her son’s divorce.
Connie dislikes her ex-daughter-in-law but doesn’t let on.
Carol loves her new husband’s family, warts and all.
Esther’s grown stepchildren hated her, long before they got to know her.
Eleanor navigated her husbands, their wives and the stepchildren with ease.
Chapter 6. It’s a Girl!
The opportunities — and dangers — of being a grandparent.
Patricia learns that her daughters-in-law hold the keys to the grandchildren.
Sara’s mother-in-law unwittingly breaks up the family.
Carolyn learned lessons from the Greatest Generation.
A granddaughter makes three generations fall in love all over again.
Laura is raising her grandson — and it’s not easy.
Chapter 7. The Root of All Evil
Money, of course.
Evelyn resents her daughter’s requests.
Elizabeth’s mom helps them out, but they pay a price.
Adam spends his father’s money happily—he has his reasons.
Diane’s father takes back his gift.
Lizzie has a wise solution for her daughter’s needs.
When nothing can repay a mother’s struggles.
Chapter 8. Home for the Holidays
Surviving the holidays—or not.
When Christmas feels like Ground Hog Day.
Four generations at the Christmas table.
Some times a vacation away from home can be a delight.
Changing traditions to keep things alive for all generations.
Chapter 9. The Song of Love
Three families who have figured it out.
Tragedy helped Tina see her parents as ordinary people.
Matthew and his nine siblings were united by their father’s voice in prayer.
Judith took her ego out of parenting, to good effect.
Epilogue: A Hole in My Heart
The author’s story of loss and return.