You Never Stop Being A Parent

This doctor must be good. Parking near his office is $2.75 every fifteen minutes!

Before you become a parent people try and convince you poop and vomit are major problems. Pulllleeeze! No childborn bodily fluid scares me. It wasn’t until Stef began talking, reasoning and questioning that I got to deal with real problems.

As she got older, began to communicate better and realized her parents might not be as dumb as the ones on Disney Channel sitcoms the type of problems we dealt with changed.

Stef has passed her 21st birthday&#185. She is ostensibly responsible for her own well being. Unfortunately parenting has no off switch!

She’s living in SoCal. It’s especially tough to be a parent by remote control.

Late last week she started feeling under-the-weather. By Friday she was concerned enough to go to the local “Urgent Care” clinic. It’s located downstairs from the pot dispensary. Really.

She hadn’t improved through the weekend so I reached out to my friend Howard and asked him to arrange for Stef to see his physician.

I was the proverbial friend in need and Howard is my friend, indeed! By 10:00 AM PDT he had arranged an 11:00 AM appointment. That’s impressive. It’s tough to say thank you strongly enough to show my true appreciation.

This doctor must be good. Parking near his office is $2.75 every fifteen minutes!

Hopefully her new 72 year old physician (in true Beverly Hills fashion wearing True Religion corduroy pants and with “soft hands”) will get to the bottom of her problem. He took some tests and asked her to return in a few days. His confidence alone is good for her well being.

What children don’t always get is how parents feel your pain right along with you!

I’m not sure how Stef slept over the weekend, but I can assure you she couldn’t have had worse nights than Helaine and Geoff. Stef was uncomfortable. Us too. We all tossed and turned.

What a feeling of powerlessness when your child is 2,600 miles away!

I remember when Stef was an infant with a stuffed nose. She didn’t know how to use a tissue–how to blow her nose. I would have done anything to make her feel better. That same feeling was back with Helaine and me this weekend.

I trust she’ll be feeling better soon, but this is a cautionary tale. Your child might grow up and move out, but you never stop being a parent. Never.

&#185 – From the time she was 18 until now (and probably as long as she can get away with it) Stef has claimed she’s 21. Livin’ the dream… literally.

12 thoughts on “You Never Stop Being A Parent”

  1. You hit the nail on the head. My 25 year old who has had Type 1 diabetes since age 5 (we met you several times at New Haven JDRF events), recently moved to Florida to attend graduate school. After he lived in NYC for 7 years – 4 years of college and 3 years working on Broadway – you would think we would have gotten over it. Not so. It’s written in the parent’s guide somewhere – they will always be your baby. And now that he’s more than a 90 minutes train ride from home, it’s a whole new kind of worry.

  2. Geoff, I have three daughters….42, 38 and 35, respectively, and a 21 year old grandson (oldest of 5 grandkids) and I have to say that what you are experiencing is the tip of the iceberg! But I am sure that you and Helaine will totally work through this and be all the stronger for it. But between you and me….we never stop worrying!

  3. I feel your pain. We have 2 daughters in their 20’s. One in Pa which is easy to get to and one in Texas thus a plane ride away. It is really hard to deal with illness from a distance or even one of them having a “bad day”. As my mom always told me, once a parent, always a parent. I tell the girls this and they just yea, yea, yea me. Someday they may know what we feel like as parents. Worrying doesn’t end when they move away. I hope Stef feels better soon, hang in there Geoff.

  4. My oldest son is 20 and away at college, not as far away as yours, but still away. He is the oldest of four, and if he called me with concerns of illness, my gut reaction would be to bring him chicken soup… I’d do anything to get away from the other three for awhile… All the best wishes for a speedy recovery… for both you and Helaine… and of course your daughter!

  5. OMG Geoff, I can’t believe this is your topic tonight! My only child, who is 30, is moving out next week for a great new job, but it is in Columbus OHIO! Its time for her to fly the coop, she stayed several years longer to help me care for her grandmother who died last year, but I am an unbelievable continum of emotions, glad to see her move to something so good, sad to see her leave, and I will miss her terribly – she is like a best friend. I hadn’t thought of her getting sick! At least her primary care doc comes from Columbus and can hopefully recommend someone. These are hard times for us parents on only children when they leave the nest.

  6. OMG Geoff, I can’t believe this is your topic tonight! My only child, who is 30, is moving out next week for a great new job, but it is in Columbus OHIO! Its time for her to fly the coop, she stayed several years longer to help me care for my mother/her grandmother who died last year, but I am an unbelievable continum of emotions, glad to see her move to something so good, sad to see her leave, and I will miss her terribly – she is like a best friend. Now I will have to worry about her if she gets sick 650 miles away! Help!

  7. You are no place near the end of worrying! Our three daughters range in age from 35 – 40. I remember one day getting plane reservations 6 hours before the flight was leaving NYC for Denver to be with our daughter who was going in to the hospital for an emergency operation. There have been several such stories when the “kids, post college age” have been living all over the country. Now in addition we worry just as much about the little grandkids. I never knew it went on forever. Good luck to Steph and keep up informed.

  8. GEOFF I WAS THE SECOND FAMILY TO LIVE ON CHATTERTON WAY,UNTIL MY DAUGHTER DROVE,I MET HER AT CORNER FOR SCHOOL BUS TO ARRIVE,SHE IS NOW 51 AND I LIVE IN FLORIDA,,IF SHE DOES NOT CALL ME EXACTLY AT 9 AM,I AM CALLING HER,IT IS WOMB TO TOMB,

  9. I’m significantly older than 21 :), yet every time I leave on a work-related trip I have to send Mom my itinerary so she knows where I am at all times. We never stop being kids, either. ­čÖé

  10. I printed this out and stuck it on my fridge; I just had twin girls 6 months ago and reading this tonight (well, early morning feeding) I’m thankful for the input of what being a parent is and I especially like one of the comments from Carolyn Baledes who says worrying about your kids is “womb to tomb” wow! Hope your daughter feels better soon.

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