When your child goes to college, there are lessons to learn in the classroom and lessons to learn outside of the classroom. What do you do when your child calls you from college and tells you that something is wrong? This is the child you used to tuck into bed at night, the child you cared for and loved, the child you would give your life for, and yet, now he isn’t a child anymore and he’s living too far away for your to reach him in an instant. I know, it’s part of letting go for us, and part of growing up for them. They need to learn what to do on their own if there is an emergency or a problem. Sometimes they need to learn consequences and/or the fact that life is not always fair. And sometimes they need to learn how to take care of themselves, even if that has been your job for the past eighteen years.
When my son called me the other night and told me he wasn’t feeling well and that there were indications that something was wrong with his health, my head, and my heart, starting spinning. It was at night and on a weekend, so I doubted if the clinic on campus was open, but I knew he should seek medical help as soon as possible. So I knew I had to think clearly and figure out what to tell him to do . . . on his own. I told him to find he RA (Residents’ Assistant) or RD (Residents’ Director) for his dorm and ask them if the campus clinic was open or if there was a 24-hour walk-in clinic in the area and I told him to bring his medical insurance card with him. He texted me a while later to tell me he was in the emergency room of the nearest hospital. I texted him back and asked if anyone was with him, he responded that he was alone.
As difficult as it was to be away from him when he needed me, there were lessons he needed to learn on his own. He learned that emergency rooms on Saturday nights are very busy and it takes a long time for the doctor to see you unless your arm is cut off. He learned how to handle giving his information for his health insurance. He learned how to pay the hospital for their services (with the debit card we keep funded . . . ). He learned that medical help is not always conclusive, as he was released without an answer to his problem because they needed to do a culture test that would take 48 to 72 hours. But in the end, he did learn how to take care of himself . . . and I learned how to let him do that. I think he had the easier lesson to learn.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy