Unless you've been living under a rock -- or you just chose to be swept up instead by Brad 'N Angie Engagement Fever -- you know that HBO's new show "Girls" premiered last night. Created, written and directed by 25-year-old-breakout phenom Lena Dunham, I probably don't need to tell you that the story centers around four young women navigating life in New York City and is nothing at all like "Sex and the City."
In the pilot episode's first scene, Dunham's character, Hannah, is given "One Final Push" by her visiting parents. As in, they're cutting her off-- no longer financially supporting their daughter, who's been out of college for two years and working at an unpaid internship. Hannah reacts with resentment, anger and a sense of entitlement so strong that her logic almost makes sense: "I am so close to the life that I want; the life you want for me."
So what is the life that parents want for their kids?
Right now, my daughter is six months old. At this point, the life I want for her is one where she can sit up on her own and doesn't make a face when she eats peas. My goals are pretty short-term. But one day, she will go to college. And maybe move away. Possibly even to New York City, or worse yet, somewhere I really don't understand -- like Colorado. Will I expect her to be on her own, at least financially speaking? I hope so. But if she's not, I can't say with certainty that I wouldn't be there with my checkbook. Although, there probably won't still be such thing as a checkbook by then. I'll be there with Future-Currency Pods or whatever.
After I graduated from college (and, incidentally, worked at an unpaid internship), I got my first apartment in Chicago with two other girls. It was across the street from a cemetery, and my share of the rent was $400 a month. We had a dining room with an actual dining room table in it and I felt like I'd made it. One time, a friend came to visit. She was living in New York City -- and her parents were paying her bills. "You pay for this all yourself?" Yes, I did. And it made me so proud. I want my daughter to feel that same sense of adult accomplishment.
So as a parent, I am looking forward to watching the girls of "Girls" go forth and build their independent lives in the big city. But after watching the exploits of Episode 1, I am very thankful my baby is still drinking bottles -- and not opium tea.
Do you think it's okay for parents to financially support their adult children, especially in today's tough economy?
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