The empty nest gets a call. It’s our baby bird crying on the other end of the line, directly from freshman year, post pledge, second semester mid-term burnout.
Nothing was right in her life from her most recent class, to her budget, to not being able to find a job, to her lack of time and her lack of spring break plans. The list went on. The worst thing was that she had a cold.
My child is 1,000 miles away and she’s sad and sick! And somehow I feel like all of her woes are directly my fault and I should fix them. (That’s just how I’m wired. Or is it just a mom thing?)
My mind was racing as this child who rarely cries, sobbed into the phone. I wondered how quickly I could get a flight to Texas. Could I get cookies baked before I left?
Was there some way I could carry homemade chicken soup on the plane?
Oh, the crazy thoughts I had, but I tried to keep my composure while trying to talk her through this low spot.
I recommended sleep, healthy food with lots of water, and a long walk…all in my most calm voice. (I hope.)
DARN, then I had to leave the conversation. What a horrible time to have to get off the phone. Can’t these people see I have a crisis on my hands? The Worst Mom of the Year award is surely mine.
It took me a good 24 hours to realize I was not thinking rationally. It’s a cold for Pete’s* sake. It will pass.
I calmed myself down, and then someone posted on the university parent listserv that their child has the flu. Okay. Alli had a flu shot. I was determined not to panic.
Well, at least not until the Dean of Students sent out the weekly newsletter including an article about how several students had the flu.
And it could possibly be a strain not covered by the vaccine.
I actually checked the Southwest site for flights. (Don’t tell Larry. Oh, hi Sweetie….) and then I checked out a link to a grocer near campus to see if I could get chicken soup delivered to her dorm room door step. Oh yes, it is possible…for a price.
Maybe it was time for me to take a walk and get some sleep and drink lots of water. Or lots of something. I think I grew an ulcer this week worrying about my child. It was all I could do to not call her every 10 minutes to check on her.
So, this really is a lifetime deal. I thought that I would not freak out like this after Alli was old enough to take care of herself. I’m learning as I go here. We really must find that Parenting Handbook.
We Skyped with Alli on Sunday and she is feeling better about everything. She has had a job interview, has talked to her professor, has spring break plans and her cold is going away. She is in good spirits again.
Lordy. I felt the world lift from my shoulders.
You can laugh with or at me. Go ahead. It’s okay.
Seriously, why do I let myself get in such a dither? (Don’t you love that word? Dither. Dither. Dither.)
This child of mine is strong. She is brave. She is determined. She is willing to take chances. She can handle this bump in the road (obviously better than I can.)
Sophie’s parents do not know what is ahead for her. Spring break plans and classes are not on their radar right now. I’m sure they would have traded all of this for a bad cold and budget issues, a momma guilt trip and a chicken soup dilemma.
This event has rocked the world of many people. It’s so unusual to have someone so young go through something like this.
Her young friends are scared. We older friends are in disbelief. But everyone has come together to hold this child up in a positive light. You do not hear of doom and sadness. Instead, there is a great sharing of stories and photos and memories. As I read the words of others who know Sophie, I see a common thread.
It’s all about love.
The general consensus is that this is part of Sophie’s journey. Close friends and family, young and old, strangers from around the globe are tuned into this stretch of Sophie’s path. We hold hands and travel together with every bit of hope we have. (Please join us. Sophie and her family need all of the positive thoughts you can send for her. Thank you.)
When you love someone, no matter how small or how large a challenge may be for them, try to remember that it’s a part of their story, and help them to perceive this.
My wish for all of our children is hope when things seem dire, strength when they feel broken, and the keen realization that they are deeply loved and never alone.
We wait as life unfolds. Find joy in the journey. Be a participant.
P.S. Hey Punky- Thank you for coming into my life without that elusive Parenting Handbook. I’ve learned most of my life’s greatest lessons through you and with you during our day-to-day lives. I’m here for you, always. ♥
*Who exactly is Pete?