My daughter was in for Thanksgiving.

It was wonderful.

However, for the first time, it felt like my daughter was a visitor and not an inhabitant of the household. It felt weird. I don’t know quite how to explain it. Even her phone said that “Home” was 352 miles away…

I felt like all household duties got put on hold- it was as if my daughter was a guest who I needed to entertain. I didn’t do laundry on Thursday (of course, Thanksgiving sort of got in the way). I didn’t do other scheduled household chores. I even forgot to take my vitamins…It was as if real life got put on hold and suspended for a few days. I felt myself catering to her- which of course could just be a Mom wanting to baby her child a little, because the Mom knows that these days will be fleeting…Maybe the Mom just wants to kiss the top of her daughter’s head like she used to, and bring her tea and shortbread cookies and just have a chat.

She came and went as she pleased though. Which I didn’t have a problem with. She’s a twenty year old young woman with a city full of friends, and twenty year old women are supposed to be out and about.

But then I got a text shortly after midnight on Saturday…

Can you take care of me when I get home?

Followed quickly by this text…

I’m not drunk. I think I have pink eye.

My first thought was not how did she get pink eye. My first thought was that my baby needed me.

So I got out of my bed and put a fresh pillow case on her bed. I got things to make compresses. When she walked in the door I handed her pajamas and waited for her to change. Then I helped her wash her eye. I gave her a pain reliever. And I kissed the top of her head as I pulled the covers up.

And Sunday I got to baby her a little bit. I ran out to get pink eye drops. I carefully washed my hands about a billion times as I cleaned her little red eye. I put the drops in her eye for her. And I felt horrible that in a few hours I would be putting her on a train to go back home and I wouldn’t be able to help her. I really accepted that she doesn’t live here anymore- and that she would have to take care of herself without me. And that hurt a lot just a little.

But then I realized that she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She would go back to DC and carefully wash her eye and put the drops in and change her pillowcases and wear glasses so that she wouldn’t touch her eye and then she would wash the glasses. She is capable. I raised a capable child. Like a parent is supposed to.

Watching your child mature is bittersweet. We know that the desired outcome is self sufficiency, yet we all want to feel that our kids need us. For just a little bit this weekend, I got to take care of my daughter and it felt nice to be needed- to get a text that she needed help and wasn’t afraid to ask for it. But it also felt nice that I knew she would be able to take care of herself.

And it was really nice to get a big hug. And for my daughter to say “Thank you. You are the best Mom in the world.”

And I watched her walk down the hall to the elevator and I felt OK. I will always be her Mommy, and she will always be my baby, no matter how old we are. And I look forward to the next stage of our lives.

70 thoughts on “Anything Can Happen Friday: The Visit

  1. I have a relative with a rather headstrong son who had been cutting at his apron strings throughout childhood and especially the teenage years. Come young adulthood and he needed to have bail set for a domestic dispute…

    It set me to thinking, as your post did, about the odd position of adult children. As an adult-child, I’m bothered by the mothering. My in-laws are better at stepping back. Still, I’m transitioning into having adult children and see how much they still need. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wait until the positions are reversed, the tables are turned, etc.. I always told my kids I had them so they could take care of me in my old age! IDK if I jinxed myself with that or not but now they both want me to move closer to them because I think they really do want to take care of me!

      IDK if you have followed my new or old blog or not but the new one is titled Starting Over. I have recently finally started putting some effort into blogging, using LA and Chel and several others as role models and examples. Anyway, if you want to find out more about how we all got into this position, check out the new one where I will posting more about me and them over the next week or two.

      Here’s the link

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I am now publishing on both blogs. Thanks in large part to LA who inspired me with daily posts but also intimidated me a bit until I realized they can be written in advance and scheduled!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It is definitely bittersweet. I think that mothering urge always remains. I once read it described this way, that they are like our hearts walking on the outside of our bodies. Yet it can be tricky to balance appropriate mothering with overbearing mothering. I think it’s different for everyone. You figure it out as they get age, what they still need from us and what we need to refrain from. I do have to say, their adult years have been my favorite so far!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Great post!

    My kids are close to your daughter’s age—so I relate to your feelings.

    My 23 year old daughter has been living at home since graduating from college–it has been a blessing for me–but I know she is looking for her own place–and that it is how it should be–but I will miss her.

    My 19 year old who is away at college goes through cycles of needing me/doing his own thing. He can be a bit frustrating(In small ways) at times–but he is more likely to give me hugs and tell me I am a great mom–so there is that.

    Parenthood is an interesting journey, one you are never quite prepared for.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh yes, I understand this completely. We now refer to her college town as “home.” But it wasn’t easy when it initially started.

    My daughter, too, believed she had pink eye this weekend! What a strange coincidence.

    They will always need us, just in different ways.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Those moments when you realize they sort of “don’t belong” fully anymore do hit hard the first few times. I think it feels just as weird to them as well though, even though they may not admit it. You never stop being a parent though. There does need to be a better way to refer to them once they are on their own though. Saying my kid conjures images of someone who needs looking after, while always saying adult child is cumbersome.

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  6. I related so well to this post as this has happened to me multiple times since the kids went off to college. And yes, it is bittersweet and we miss them and we love being needed and yet also appreciate that they can take care of themselves, but ask for our help. Beautiful post LA

    Liked by 1 person

  7. you nailed it. It is a mix. I have been on both sides of the equation. I remember being in my late 40’s in an ambulance heading for the hospital..and this feeling of “I need my mom” well up inside of me… They are now our peers and yet, still our kids. It is a fun blend. I talked to my youngest daughter both a peer who I needed to vent to and as my little “pinky” (that was our family pet nick name for her growing up) It was SO good to visit with her….Good post LA. Appreciate you pulling back the curtain just a little into your life. Really appreciate it. DM

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Oh yes, been there. Does your daughter plan on moving back home when college is through? That is a different kind of transition too. We have that situation now. It is so expensive to live here that there was no way she could have afforded to live on her own, even with getting a good job within months of graduating. Now our issue is with getting the chores done. You’d think that with college education and having lived in an apartment with other students while going to college they would understand the need for everybody doing their fair share but no, sadly not. Same with our adult son who had to move home after living in an apartment with some friends for a couple years. Chores people. Sorry, it’s driving my husband crazy right now so I’m having to think of a compromise to keep him from going off the deep end.

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  9. I know exactly how you feel. I was thrilled when my 28-year-old son said he needed me to take care of him after his surgery because his girlfriend and six siblings and his sister all had to work. I loved it, but got annoyed after my week with him. He wanted me to extend my stay! My husband and I had a Santa Barbara vacation planned…and my son thought me taking care of him was a priority!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh dear now for the rest of the news. My boys are soon to be 50 and 46 – days away – and then there are brief moments when they seem to act like they are the parent and you have become the child. Just a hint now and then that that is approaching! ChrisG

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Aww, I know this feeling so well! My son is 21- moved out at 18- came home at 20 because of COVID etc- now we live together more as housemates, but every now and again, he sits really close to me on the couch, and we snuggle as we watch the sunset… bittersweet joys ❤ Thank you for sharing your softness ❤

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  12. Bittersweet indeed. My twin daughters are 18, and they’re doing more on their own. They certainly don’t need as much of my help. But it’s very nice to help when they ask. And I’m grateful they want to hang out with me sometimes 🙂

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  13. This post brought me to tears…..only because I could truly “feel” where you are right now…..having been there on my own journey with my daughter…..and know too well how very precious those fleeting moments are. In my experience, those little blessings of time with her, spent helping her with something will become less and less and you will come to truly treasure each and every moment… matter how seemingly insignificant the reason….that you have with her from now on. Bittersweet is an apt description……..we work so hard to teach them independence and then when we finally succeed, the pride of accomplishment and the pain of separation are the two edges of the same “sword”…and the painful cut it makes can be exquisite.

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  14. LA,
    Oh, as I read your post, I so understood what you’re going through! I think our children will always be our children no matter how old they get or how weird it feels when they visit. Also, trying to look after one’s parent hasn’t been easy for me, so I won’t go down that bunny trail here. Your daughter sounds lovely and quite capable and I love that she can still go to you for help and that you are there for each other! What do you think life will be like if and when you have grandchildren? Hugs, Mona

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Isn’t it wonderful to realize that no matter how old they are, they will always be out babies? And the new relationships we forge with our children can be just as good as the old ones, if not better!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sometimes I still want my Mom to take care of me, she does a pretty good job considering she moved permanently to the other side, but I know she sends people I need my way, she’ll float me an article just when I need the information, or she’ll inspire my sister to call and check in. I do love it when my adult children call for a chat or they need something, they’re all so independent, I suppose I fear being unnecessary, but honestly they’ve found significant others to fill that spot. As it should be, but I will always be the first, hugs, C

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