Okay, it’s not that far. But Will is in his own apartment 70 miles away and he is sick. When Ralph told me last night that Will had a sore throat, of course the first thing I thought was, What if he has strep? What if he needs to go to the doctor; he doesn’t have a doctor there. The “What If’s” plague me.
But I wait. I don’t call him up and tell him to go the doctor. He is sleeping. The next morning when he talks to Ralph on the phone, he tells Ralph that his nose is running and he has a sore throat. (Okay, I tell myself – it’s probably not strep).
When I talked to him tonight, he said that he forgot to bring any medicine and had to suffer the day without it. That’s a rough day, I tell him. And we talk about how he can help himself the next day. I urge him to drink some hot tea, but he resists. He has never liked hot drinks. I ask him if he is drinking enough fluids. The same kind of conversations that I had with my mother when I was his age and living 70 miles away some 30 years ago. I am too far away to bring him chicken soup, but I encourage him to eat some.
I suppose that most of what I have done for my son the last few weeks could be categorized as mothering. When I talk to my 76-year-old mother, she engages in mothering from afar as well (over 1,000 miles away- from Florida).