Very Scary Day or The Down Side to Kids Leaving Home

I‘m not having a very good Friday. No, it’s not the weather. I actually love rainy days, and we really need it. Today is just one of those days that I worry about my kids being far away. If you’re not there yet, imagine how it felt the first time you left your infant with a babysitter. Or left your child on the first day of kindergarten? Or the first day of middle school? It’s a helpless feeling, right?

The child who lives closest to me is a junior at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Not THAT far, but still not a quick drive. She called yesterday and sounded terrible. In fact, when she heard my voice, she started crying. I wish you could give hugs over the phone. She called me earlier in the week to say she had a cold. Not unusual. Kids get together and pass the germs around at the beginning of the year. Of course, I’m thinking West Nile or something, so I told her to be sure to go to the campus clinic if she felt worse. Well, she felt worse. It turns out that she has bronchitis and got a prescription for three kinds of medications and a strict lecture about not going to class or work for the rest of the week and the weekend. That’s the most difficult thing for my daughter, which is probably why she ended up where she is — by pushing herself. It’s really hard to be far away when my instinct is to go make sure she’s in bed, make her some soup and make sure she’s taking her medicine. The best I could do was support what the nurse told her, send her love and tell her to stay in bed.

This morning I got a text from my daughter in Austin. She said that a guy claiming to be a terrorist was going to blow up several of the buildings on the UT campus, so they were evacuating the entire place. That’s a lot of students! And it’s raining. Fortunately, she is not on campus today, but has been there several days in the past couple of weeks recruiting student volunteers for the non-profit she works for. But, it’s a scary thing to hear — it’s just a reminder about how little control we really have.

I like to cling to the illusion that my children are never in danger, that their driving is perfect and that nothing bad ever happens. Days like this shatter that illusion.

If you’ve got a kid at home, or your adult children live nearby, give them a hug.

Categories: Editor’s Blog