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February 2015
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April 2015

The dance of parenting a young adult

Today Clay was home from work, so he came with me to the student's Mass at Sophia's school. I love the student's Mass. The kindergarten class sits right up front and when they kneel, they grip the back of the pew in front of them, their noses barely reaching over it, like they're clinging to a bit of wood in a storm-tossed sea. And then they do random things, like today, when Sophia took a break from looking reverential to play rock, paper, scissors with the little boy next to her. She's a shark at that game.

Just a few minutes into Mass, my phone buzzed in my purse. I glanced at it. Tre. I silenced it and put it back in my purse. He was at work, and could wait.

After Mass, I pulled the phone back out and saw I had a message from him. "Hi, Mom. I cut the heck out of my hand. I'm at the emergency room getting stitches." He sounded shaken, and I stopped walking to call him back. 

In the time that had passed since his call, he'd regained his calm, because he sounded positively breezy. He'd been sharpening a knife, and did he ever mention how terrible the knife sharpener was? I asked if he wanted me to come to the ER, and I could almost see him waving me off.

"Nah. I'm fine. I'll let you know when I'm done."

Throughout the day, he called or texted me occasionally to let me know what was going on. They determined that he'd sliced a tendon, and decided to transfer him to another hospital with a hand surgeon. Once he got there, the hand surgeon cut open the stitches he'd gotten, put five stitches in his tendon, and another eight or something in his hand. He had pictures, if I wanted to see them. No, don't come. His friend from work would give him a ride back to his car. He was fine. No, don't come. 

I know. I know, I know, that this is the time for this sort of thing. For him to face the "effect" side of the causes, on his own. It just feels so strange, because a year ago I would have been negligent to leave him to sit alone in a hospital room. And yet, today my job was to wander the rooms of my house, with my phone in hand, waiting to hear what he was doing next, and not interfering. It was distracting, unsettling.

It felt wrong.

He came home by the afternoon, and after a couple of hours, left again to hang out with some friends. His only capitulation to my anxiety was to consent to drive Clay's car, instead of his own (Tre's car is a manual transmission, and I stand by my assertion that you need two hands to shift, because if you do it when you're stationary, you're doing it wrong). 

I'm unreasonably exhausted by the whole thing. Who knew it required such energy not to do anything? It is a disorienting land I find myself in. My primary job is non action. I wish with all my heart for him to know how risky life really is, to respect the dangers around him, and at the same time, I would do anything to save him from learning that.

I wait to hear him drive in the driveway, and turn my light out so he won't know I'm waiting. 


Birthday wishes

This morning I started coughing in the shower, and then I couldn't stop. I coughed and coughed until my field of vision started to close in with shimmery black diamonds. I sat down on the floor of the shower, thinking, "I am going to pass out, and at least from here I won't hit my head on anything."

But no, it passed, and as the dark receded from my view, I thought, "I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER today."

Then I sort of studied those two thoughts, side by side, and came to the conclusion that I have Stockholm Syndrome with my own body.

The truth is that I am feeling a lot better. I've been sick, really sick, for something ridiculous like three weeks now. I actually spent over a week in bed. Isn't that ridiculous? Clay was running around like crazy, getting everything done. He really is Superman. 

Oh, that was a close call. I almost launched into a description of my illness. That was a narrow escape from something deadly boring. Suffice to say it started out with one thing, then morphed into something else, and ended up with bronchitis. Like I said, ridiculous. 

At one point, early on, I ended up in the emergency room, mainly out of panic. I got all the tests they had on special that night, including a spinal tap. Two, actually, because the first one didn't work. Nothing showed anything because nothing ever does because I have yet to meet the doctor that took Kira Studies in medical school, which is just rude if you ask me. But after the second one was successful, the doctor told me he was done, then apologized again for missing the first time. Apologized! He was a peach of a guy, and seemed really sorry to hurt me. I shrugged it off and said it wasn't that bad, because it wasn't, and they gave me dilaudid and that was worth the entire trip. The nurse kept checking on me and I'd wave at him with a beatific smile and say, "Nothing hurts! At all!" and then I would fall asleep again. Poor Clay had to sleep in a plastic ER chair, and they didn't offer him ANYTHING.

I have a point here, what was it? Ah yes. Tomorrow is my birthday! God willing, I will wake up to be 44. 

44. Huh. The way I feel about that is this: unnerved. I know I'm supposed to be embracing my wonderful, wise self, but I feel like I was pretty brave about that when 40 struck. And then 41 came right on its heels, and now - doesn't this seem to be a little out of control? Can we just PAUSE for a minute?

But apparently we can't pause. Maybe I am actually getting wiser, because it occurs to me that's actually a good thing. The only reason I get to wake up and be 44 is that I didn't pass out and drown in my shower this morning. I have successfully rejected all the opportunities the world has offered me to die, and so I get to be older than I ever have been before.

And life, well, it's the only game in town, isn't it? It's so good, and so grueling, and occasionally you even get dilaudid moments when nothing hurts at all, and the hurting that came before was worth it just so you know how sweet that is.

In case it's not clear, I'm not actually advocating drug use. Just say no. You know. Mostly.

But I do advocate celebrating the days we're given. So tomorrow I will celebrate 44 years of not dying. My family will fuss over me and it will be very sweet. Happy my birthday to everyone!