Sometimes for the briefest of moments you look at your grown child and you see them as they were, small and vulnerable and needing your protection. I had that experience today while at Children’s Hospital for a checkup with my son. I saw him as he was in 2003 when he was hospitalized with a very serious medical condition. I remember those days in the hospital when we didn’t know if they could fix anything or everything. It was a long time ago, but seems like just yesterday.
Today when I looked at him I saw a smart, kind, thougtful, brave young adult who takes everything in stride. And it’s a good thing – cause he’s been thru more in his 18 years than most. As a parent I know that my days of going to doctor’s appointments with him are almost over. Part of letting go means that I have to trust him to manage his own healthcare. Wow, that’s gonna be hard.
Let’s be honest about one thing. With HIPAA privacy laws, he has to give permission for me to be in the room for a checkup or for the doctors to speak with me about his condition. Thankfully he has, and I expect it’s because he doesn’t really want to pay more attention to it right now. And that’s ok with me.
I wish I could take care of him forever, but I know that it’s part of the process to let him take responsibility. For him it’s just life as he knows it, he doesn’t think twice. For me it’s constant worry.
Worry as a parent - it's not because you don't think your children are responsible or capable. It's inate, and we can't do a thing about it. (And I'm not even gonna mention how worried I was yesterday when my oldest was 2 blocks from riots in London.
This emotional part of preparing for an empty nest – I don’t like it at all. Breathe in. Breathe out. It will be ok.