A no-name by any other name would, in fact, smell sweeter
First off, I want to thank you guys for your thoughts on the last post, and I specifically want to address Alexicographer's very sensible comment. I hope, fervently and without reserve, that my kids and I share some natural interests, some mutual passions. But if we don't, what then? That's where I feel like I'll need to reach out, go beyond my comfort zone and try my best to embrace and enjoy whatever it is they're embracing and enjoying. I want to stay connected to them as they grow up, stay relevant in their lives; I don't think it's a matter of seeking their respect, exactly, but perhaps there's an element of that as well.
I have been thinking of the example provided by Jeff's family (and wondering why I didn't think to quiz his parents on this topic before they left for the summer). They are an unusually happy and close bunch, with Jeff being the key silk-spinner in the family web. He and his father share an obsessive love of the Giants; he and his mother share a taste in books. He and his brothers bond over dozens of things, and Jeff--ever the elder brother--serves as the central conduit between his brothers and his parents. Those connections even branch out to include me, since our kids form the basis for the strongest mutual interest of all: every member of his family has embraced Josh & Olivia for all they're worth. (Case in point: Even when his brothers were single, they would schedule vacations three or four times a year just to fly out, sit around our house and play with the kids. This has really blown my mind.)
So, no big ideas to share on the subject, just an update to say that I appreciate the comments and that, if every happy family is happy in the same way, I guess I have the template right in front of me.