Certain things in life are just serendipitous. Like when you find a $50 bill in a wallet you haven’t used in three years. Or when someone discovers a cure for one disease when they’re really trying to cure a different one. Or when John Cusack writes his phone number on a $5 bill and Kate Beckinsale finds it years later, so they know they’re meant to be together. Or, when both of your daughters are home sick from college, at the exact same time, and you’re the one they need to make it better.
Now I know that, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, the true meaning of the word serendipity is the fact of finding interesting or valuable things by chance. So obviously I’m asking you to use a looser definition of the word for the purposes of what I’m talking about here. Because what I’m focusing on isn’t the fact that my kids were super-sick last weekend, because that’s the sucky part of the story. Instead, I want to talk about the hidden beauty I found in taking care of my now-adult daughters, and how unexpected it was to have them both simultaneously dependent on me again after all these years.
I mean, I guess the chances of both my girls getting sick over the same weekend while they were living in different places isn’t too much of a stretch. But the coincidentalness of both of them needing to be home and under the same roof, was just such a random phenomenon as far as I was concerned that it felt a little like voodoo magic. And while I felt awful for them because of how sick they were, there were some pretty special moments woven into those three days.
See, this was a weekend when #momlife took over and pushed aside literally everything else on the calendar. And strangely enough, I was super ok with it. And I think that’s because it’s been so long since I’ve been needed that way by my kids that it felt really, really good to have to take care of them again.
As soon as I got that first call from my oldest asking if she’d had her flu shot this season, I had a gut feeling what was coming next. And sure enough, the next thing out of her mouth was how close to death she felt. So I did a true-life Bo Duke, slid over the hood of my car and through the driver’s side window and buzzed into the city to scoop her up and bring her home.
And no sooner did I get her home, turn down her bed, and pop open the Motrin bottle, that her sister came into my room to say it felt like she was swallowing a throat-full of glass.
So that was it; that was the end of the weekend before it really even started. But I didn’t care. Because both of my girls were home. And they both needed their mom. They both needed ME. And that thought felt really, really warm inside my heart. Because I’ve never wanted to stop taking care of them. The cycle of life just made it so that I had to. And even though I know that that’s what’s supposed to happen, it doesn’t mean I have to love the idea. Because I kinda don’t.
For that one weekend, though, I was back in the game. I was taking temperatures and running to the pharmacy and putting my cheek on their forehead every hour to “check for a fever” (even though we all knew I was just trying to sneak some kisses on the DL).
I spent a solid 48 hours roller skating between bedrooms, delivering trays and pushing fluids like a poolside bartender on Spring Break.
We binge-watched SVU and snuggled the cat and cozied up on my bed and rode the wave of strep and flu deep into the night. We dozed together and tried to remember when the last time was that they needed me to take care of them like that. And none of us could remember that far back.
And I’m ashamed to say how much I loved it. (Although not really, if you want the honest truth.) Because I’m going to live for those momming moments every single chance I get.
So, at the end of the day, despite feeling terrible that both of my grown kids were simultaneously sick and out of commission, I was grateful for the chance to have them back under my roof to take care of them and nurse them back to health. Because as any of us with grown kids knows, these moments are rare and beautiful, so we’ve gotta savor them while we can.
Just no kissing on the lips, cause no one’s gonna take care of us when we go down.
Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at lisasugarman.com. Or, find them on LittleThings.com, Hot Moms Club, BeingAMom.life, GrownandFlown.com, More Content Now, and Care.com. She is also the author of “LIFE: It Is What It Is and Untying Parent Anxiety: 18 Myths That Have You in Knots - And How to Get Free” available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at select bookstores.