Mother Is Ready To Be For The Kids All Their Life.

Story by Elizabeth Spencer

Yesterday at my high school senior’s awards ceremony, I sat behind another senior mom I’ve known since our kids were in elementary. She was sitting next to her mom.

I knew it was her mom, because over all the years since our kids were small, I’ve seen this mom’s mom at lots of these events. I’ve also seen her—this grandmother, this mom of an adult child—at the grocery store with her grandkids but without her daughter. I know—because my fellow senior mom has told me so—that her mom fills in a lot of gaps and takes care of some things so that her grown child can do her demanding away-from-home job and do it well.

And the other day, I saw a post from a different mom, thanking her own mom for being there for her kids and her family…again, to fill in some gaps.

Given the chance, this is the kind of mom I hope to be for my grown children. I hope to come alongside them sometimes and smooth out some rough edges. I’m not going to be out in front, leading the way as I used to be when I was the mom in charge. But I can sometimes sit or stand next to my children or walk a few steps behind, following their lead.

I’d be privileged to be the third or fourth emergency contact on school or health forms. I’d be glad to hang out at my working kids’ houses to let the furnace repair guy in. I’d be thrilled to pick up one grandchild from one place while my own child is picking up another someplace else. If there’s an extra ticket to some ceremonial moment, it would be my huge honor to be offered it and to take it.

I’m not sure where it says that when our kids hit age 18 or 21 (or 50), they’re not supposed to need us anymore…that in order to be successful, they have to be able to function fully without us, leaving us to just show up for Mother’s Day or the occasional big event.

Needing each other as adults isn’t being dependent; it’s being human. And so if someday, I can do what the older mom I saw in that darkened auditorium has done—the same one I’ve sometimes seen pushing her grandchildren in grocery carts around a fluorescent-lighted grocery store—and come alongside my big kids in the years ahead of us, that’s a place I’ll be only too glad to be.

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