The Gift of Taking Care of Our Big Kids

A few days ago, I got to take care of my big kid.

My college girl was home for the weekend for a family event, and on Saturday morning, I heard her moving around at an hour much too early for anyone her age who had a choice in the matter.

She showed up at the bottom of the stairs, looking miserable. (No, not that kind of miserable. Half a weird semester’s worth of stress and two big-time shots at a well-check the day before miserable.)

“Will you come sleep with me in the guest room? I don’t feel good.”

After 0.00 seconds of consideration, I rounded up a bottle of water, an electric blanket, some extra pillows, and a precautionary bucket and told her if she woke up later and I wasn’t there, she should text me and I’d be back within minutes, if it took that long.

Then, I tucked my grown-up baby into bed, climbed in beside her, and listened to her breathing while she fell back to sleep.

When our children are small, we get to take care of them all the time….so much so that we think some days if one more person has to be taken care of in one more way in one more hour, we’re going to lose our one last shred of sanity.

But in all our best taking-care-of, we’re trying to pour enough equipping love into our children that they can eventually take care of themselves. When they can and when they do, we are glad for them. We know it is for our older kids’ best good to reach that point.

We’re not working ourselves out of a job, because good moms are moms forever. But as our children grow, we are trying to transition ourselves to part-time, on-call status.

Sometimes, though, we find ourselves wishing we hadn’t done our jobs quite so well. There are so many parts of that high calling we loved, and taking care of our under-the-weather or overwrought children is one of them.

Of course we don’t want our kids to feel worse so we can feel better. But in the moments when our capable grown children ask us to take care of them again or allow us to take care of them again, we do it gladly and find, in the doing, it’s not only our children’s hearts that are cared for.

When my daughter, feeling much improved, was getting ready to go back to school, she told me, “Thank you for taking care of me, mama.”

I didn’t want to say it was my pleasure, as if her discomfort had comforted me.

But moms of bigs will understand.

It kind of did.


Elizabeth Spencer
Elizabeth Spencer
Elizabeth Spencer is a great sinner redeemed by a great Savior. She's been married for 22 years to an exceedingly patient husband and has two teenage daughters who make her look really good as a mother. She blogs about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and vents about hormones and sleep deprivation over on Facebook.

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