Grown-ups and their moms

Albany, NY – It's easy to think that when children grow up, motherhood becomes painless. Au contraire. As Jane Isay found when she started researching a book on relationships between parents and their adult children, that period of life can be fraught with the most conflict and anxiety. It's a time when family roles become cloudy.

Isay found some ways to navigate adult family relationships, and put them into her book Walking on Eggshells. Whenever I mentioned the title of the book to adult children or empty-nest parents, they all nodded vigorously. So, I thought, I've got to call Isay. She sums up communication between adults and their parents.

For some moms, even the prospect of grown children is daunting. Regina Kalet is getting a few trial runs at empty nest-hood as her teenaged daughter takes baby steps towards independence.

Adult children have their own learning curve when it comes to separation from their parents. Soon after turning 18, Omar Macias joined the Marines against his mother's wishes. He wrote his mother this letter, which shows the love that he still has for her even though they cannot find common ground.

Mother's day is also a time for adult children to remember mothers who have died. These days, technology like answering machines and videos can bring mothers back into our brains with extreme clarity. Every 100 days, Dmae Roberts saves the phone messages of her mom who passed away five years ago as a living memorial and as a way to still get a phone call from her mom. Roberts produced this piece as a way to retell the caretaking and illness of Chu-Yin Roberts through the phone messages.