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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. 

Comments

Swistle

It's like "The Sit and Fret of Parenting a Young Adult."

Cheryl

My 18 yr. old son cut himself badly at work too. I heard about it when his boss called home to see how he was doing. I called my son and found he had just left emergency room, with several stitches in his hand. After stopping in at work to let them know what was going on, he finally, finally made it home. Where I was pacing, and sweating and drinking too much coffee. It was really hard to not get upset and ask why he did not call me to come to hospital with him, and to understand why he went in to work first with an update. I think that was the day I truly realized he was all grown up, and I had to just step back and let him lead the way now. That happened several years ago, and I can sit back now and see that we really did do a great job, and he is a son to be truly proud of! But boy oh boy, that was a hard stage for poor old Mom to get through.

KG


Every post of yours has that one line that reaches out and touches me. This time it was:
Who knew it required such energy not to do anything?
I have several circumstances currently requiring me to put forth great energy to do absolutely nothing. Hardest thing I'm asked to do. It's nearly impossible to do nothing, and nice to know I'm not alone on those efforts!

Mary

Almost two years ago my 20 year old son crashed his long board (skateboard), on the way home from class, during exam week at college. It was agonizing. Had to rely on his friends to keep me posted. Phone call was, "Mom, I'm okay. Crashed my board. Chipped my tooth." Actual injury included split lip (stitches), tooth only a nub (root canal and new tooth) and abrasions to face, hand and, leg. He navigated it so well, but Momma had a hard time being 4 hours away. Unfortunately for him, they could not do the tooth repair in his town but we got him in up here. I got to love on him the day after. It's so hard, watching them grow up, but so satisfying to know we did a good job. Sending virtual hugs, Kira...

conniemartin

Kira, you are a parent to be emulated (I hope that's the correct word!?) Life for all would be much calmer even if you didn't feel that way. XOXO

Pamela

You know, it never ends. Just this week, my 31 year old son called from the ER with a cut wrist from a drywall knife. The need to go and protect is so strong it aches -

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