Mother Waits Early Morning At McDonald’s Parking Lot If She Needed Something.

Story by Elizabeth Spencer

Earlier this morning, I was sitting in the dark in a McDonald’s parking lot, waiting in case my big kid needed me.

She was getting an early start at her job (which she can do “thanks” to Covid schooling), but she’d woken up not feeling great physically in that way that wasn’t Covid and might just be being a girl, but it was too early and she was too rushed to tell.

So I took her to work instead of her driving herself, dropped her off, and then relocated down the road—for her but not with her.

This is what parenting our big kids looks like sometimes. Dark cars in parking lots and cell phones at full volume and our hearts on hold, waiting for what we can do, if it turns out to be anything.

When our kids are small and are learning to walk or ride a bike or swim, we stay close, hands outstretched to catch them if they stumble or fall or sink.

So when learning to walk or ride a bike or swim turns to learning to be employees or drive or make their own way in the world, we shouldn’t be surprised that some things stay the same: our arms (or cell phones, maybe) are still outstretched, waiting to see if our teens or college kids or young adults need to be caught.

When they don’t (just then, anyway), we step back but stay ready. Because we are not always with them, but we are always for them.

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