The other day, my daughter needed me to take her and a friend to the movies.
It wasn’t just that she wanted me to take her, although that was true, too.
And it wasn’t just that she needed a ride and someone to pay for popcorn, although that was also true.
But more than either of those, she needed me to help her feed that friendship, because these two sweet teenagers don’t go to the same school anymore, so their relationship has to be intentionally and deliberately nurtured.
And then, a couple nights ago, that same daughter came into the kitchen and gave me a hug. After a few seconds, I felt her shift and thought she wanted to be done. But when I went to release her, she pulled me closer. “I was just adjusting,” she told me.
When our children are little, we sometimes worry they won’t need us anymore when they grow up. We’re warned that we “only have 18 years and then they’re off,” and we start to get the idea that we no longer have any role in our children’s lives once we put 18 candles on a birthday cake.
But the truth is that our children still always need us, just in different and often deeper ways.
No, they might not need us to change their diapers or hold their hands crossing the street.
But they still need us.
They need us to encourage them.
They need us to guide them.
They need us to listen to them.
They need us to cheer them on.
They need us to believe in them.
They need us to support them.
My daughter needed me to help her feed that friendship. She needed that long hug in our kitchen.
My college daughter needed me to give her the security of home while she was finding the courage to leave it. And she still needs me to text her messages of consolation when she’s having a bad day or of celebration when she’s having a good one.
My young mom friend who just experienced an devastating loss needed her mom to come and be with her and give her the kind of comfort only a mom can give.
I needed my mom to calm me down the other morning when I had a technical malfunction at the women’s the Bible study I facilitate and was about to LOSE IT. (Rule #1 in how to be a good women’s Bible study leader: do not freak out and use bad words when you can’t get the video to load.)
Mamas, your children will need you no matter how old they get to be, because this kind of need is not based on age, but on love and relationship.
And the beauty is that these are not things we grow out of. They are things that grow.
Written by: Elizabeth Spencer of Guility Chocoholic Mama Head over and check out her Facebook page.