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Episode of Call the Midwife: A poor woman expects her successful son to come visit her. After standing his mother up for the day, he shows up half-heartedly, and shows that he is embarrassed in front of his fiancé (whom he has reluctantly brought along) over his lower class parents.

The resonant point for me is this: there is a conflict between (1) enjoying the success of your children for their own sake, or for the good they bring, and (2) wanting to be honored and included by them in their new independent life. When I was young I said that I would exist for the benefit of others, especially my kids, but it’s easier said than done. The key is to remain in the game of serving and loving. Not insisting to be needed in a place you have outgrown, but keeping fixed on a new mission in front of you.

If you are not needed, rejoice! Now breathe. Now relax and look forward. What is that over there? Invest and love and serve in that new opportunity. Enter into some other person’s difficulty where you will be changed even more. Hang on for the ride. Then spend an evening or two to reminisce, but don’t hunker down and lose your outreaching focus.