The night before surgery, Adorable Child asked to sleep with me. It didn’t seem like the best idea to me: I was in enormous pain, she had school the next day, and I knew I’d be up crying for much of the night. Not only would she be short of sleep, she’d be further distressed by seeing her mom in such pain.
But she insisted, and so it was.
Sure enough, in the middle of the night my worst fears were realized. Instead of the horrible scenario I’d expected, though, my darling 13-year-old comforted me for hours as we waited for the medication to take hold.
Mostly, she held my hand and talked to me. I learned a lot that night about the person she’ll be one day.
One of the things she asked was, “Mom, what do you miss doing the most? What’s the first thing you’ll want to do when you’re better?”
Through my tears, I told her that I really, truly wanted to walk — hike — into the deep parks and bayous. That I wanted to be able to take my camera and lenses, and capture the beauty this time of year brings.
I told her that I wanted to be able to drive again, and see her competing in her various sports — to cheer and yell and laugh, and share in her triumphs and hold her up in the losses.
I’m mending — yes, I really am, finally — and I see that that terrible night was actually a huge blessing. Soon (perhaps in just a few weeks!), I’ll be out and about again under my own power. I may not be able to hike as long as I could for awhile, or carry as much photography gear when I go, but I’ll be able to enjoy my life again.
And I also know that the thing I’d miss the most was never lost to me; the love of my family, the joy of deep connections, the caring of friends.
Some things I’m missing. Some things never left.
It is at times like these when you realize that, despite the lack of a handbook, you managed to do pretty good as a parent.
Also, hold on to this feeling, and remember it when she goes all Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde on you (which she will, because she is a teenager.)
I too wish you well, and hope to meet you on the photographic trails once more.
Thanks Ed! And (LOL!) — yes, I’ve already discovered the terrific power of this memory in the face of the dreaded Teenage Angst.
What a beautiful post…
Thanks, Tammy, for visiting my blog and finding this post so far back.
It’s funny, but I was thinking of this earlier today. Hard to believe this was less than a year ago!