Thanks to technology, I can know instantly when my grown children are having a panic attack. No ESP or Mom’s intuition required.
Ping! The Facebook messenger notifies me. Pop! A text message announces itself. My computer makes another noise at work as a panicky email appears, ghost like and then fades.
My grown kids can reach out and touch me in so many ways. :)
Will lives 70 miles away in the state capitol. In the last three months, Ralph or I have received panicky communication regarding the following:
Anguished decision making regarding whether to make a job change. After four interviews, a job offer came with higher pay and more responsibility. Will accepted the job offer. The a few hours later, I received a phone call on the way home from work. He had crashed his car. It was less than a year old. “If only I hadn’t decided to drive to Verizon to reward myself with a new phone. I was too tired, too wound up to concentrate properly.”
“Will,” I said. “Accidents happen. Are you hurt? Is anyone else hurt?” “I don’t know. They are checking out a senior citizen. Here comes a police officer. I need to hang up.”
A few minutes later, he called back. “I can’t find my registration. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.” “Will, people have that situation all the time. The police officer will know what to do.” The officer was able to look it up on his computer in his car.
Ralph went into rescue mode and drove to Will’s house, cleaned his house, cooked his meals.
The following Monday Will gave his two week notice to his current company. The next day, they came back with a better offer. Will was a mess, in a panic, losing sleep. He suffered high anxiety over a wonderful, dreadful choice. His dad stayed all week long, feeding him and cleaning house while he made his choice and he drove a rented car while his car was repaired. He stayed with his current company at twice the pay.
A few weeks later, his stove stopped working, after several attempts to keep it hobbling along. Ralph was on the phone with him several times convincing him to buy a good quality stove. Then, the day before Will had to leave for a business trip, the stove was delivered but couldn’t be hooked up due to the lack of qualifications of the delivery team to hook it up to gas. Ralph was staying at Will’s house for two weeks to take care of his three cats. So Ralph had no stove, but also was able to deal with the delivery people. They delivered the stove again, but the gas line was not up to code. Finally, after Will arrived home, the stove was hooked up.
Meanwhile, Patty was panicking during her first few weeks at Grad School. Her iritis finally went away a week after she arrived. During her first week, on the way to a required faculty party in her department, she fell while trying to catch the bus, getting some sore muscles and scratched up hands and face. She sent me an email while she sat in her office thinking about whether she would go to the party.
“Do you have to go? You could go home and tell them that you didn’t feel well.”
“I have to go. I’m an adult and I have to go, even though I was crying.”
“Well, if you have to go, give yourself a little rest.”
She walked over to the hotel, and went to the wine and cheese party. I prayed for her. What else could I do? I received a call at 10:00 p.m. “It went better than I thought. I was the only one who didn’t drink, but it was okay. I talked to my adviser; she was nicer than I thought, but a little loopy. They had food, but some of the grad students were disappointed there wasn’t pizza. We were all hungry.”
“Did you walk home?”
“No, another girl and I said we didn’t have a car, and one of the older grad students had pity on us and gave both of us a ride home.”
Patty was terrified of leading a discussion section. Her position was changed to grading only, which has worked out well for her.
She had awful, horrible cramps and finally went to the doctor, who put her on the pill. And said, given our family history of endometriosis, it was likely she had the classic symptoms. And that part of her problem was living away from home for the first time.
Last week she came down with influenza, and later this week, her iritis came back. She was frustrated that she couldn’t get through to her eye doctor. “I don’t have time for an appointment…but I have to go. I might go blind if I let this go. Maybe I’ll have to go to the ER.
“No. Don’t go to the ER. You don’t need to go to the ER. You can wait for an appointment.” At my desk at work, I looked up her doctor and called the office. I got right through. “My daughter likely has iritis and needs to see the doctor.” I made an appointment for Monday. And emailed her the time of the appointment. I sent her the correct phone number. (I look up medical providers for my job in order to obtain medical records for Medicare Set-Aside Proposals.) She called and changed the appointment and insisted the receptionist call the doctor and see if it was okay for her to start the treatment. She can take of herself, after all.
Most of Will’s panicky calls for help come to his father by phone. Most of Patty’s cries for help come via email, text, or Facebook messages.
What’s a parent to do as our kids start out on their own? Pray, give advice, and pray some more.