Here's something that's been rattling around in my head for a while. I was talking to a mother of five with a wide age spread. She told me how she had to take an evenings-and-weekends job when their older children were in high school, and she thought it would be OK since they were older. It went very badly. She concluded her sad story by saying, "It turned out they needed me around at least as much then as they had when they were little. In some ways, they needed me more."
I really appreciated her being willing to tell me this.