Mom, Dad: You're on my list!

No one ever told us it would be like this. Maybe it's a conspiracy set in motion by the drug companies, or maybe the generation before us just forgot to mention it, but either way, they didn't warn us enough. I'm talking about the staggering fear that goes hand-in-hand with parenting.

Yesterday, as I sat in a hospital room with my very sweet and very sick, twelve year old daughter, I watched medical professionals poke her, scan her and try to figure out what was ailing her. Meanwhile, I cursed at myself for not carrying a stash of Xanax in my purse. Her heart was racing, her breathing was labored and she couldn't answer simple questions. She was really sick. And while she received much needed care, my heart was sinking, I held my breath and I couldn't imagine how parents of terminally ill children got through stuff like this. I was sick.

The door to our room had a big red warning on it. Anyone who entered donned masks and protective gloves. I felt like we carried the plague. It was eerie.

As it turns out, my big girl was experiencing some serious symptoms of Influenza A. She responded quickly to fluids and proper meds, and her cognitive function increased as her temperature decreased. The scans came back clear and they fixed her up real good.

But I was not so lucky. My anxiety lasted all night. Long after we were discharged, anti-virals in hand, I still suffered: nausea, tachycardia, clamminess, tremors and emotional instability. I was a wreck!

Mom and Dad, why didn't you warn me? You never told me that once a parent, my heart would no longer reside safely in the confines of my chest. That it would divide into three parts and roam the earth, frequently exposed to all varieties of accidents and illnesses. That it would break when my middle wasn't invited to a birthday party. That it would sink when my baby got lost in the grocery store. That it would shatter when my big girl was hospitalized.

Maybe you left the scary parts out because you lived in simpler, safer times. Maybe the anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals paid you off. But despite the current state of my frayed nerves, I'd like to believe that you just wanted me to know the limitless joy that accompanies the fear, and that the rewards of parenting far outweigh the risks. One day, when I get your grandchildren to a safe, all-grown-up age, I will thank you. But for now, I'm a little ticked off.


Holly and Jenn

No comments:

Post a Comment