Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wisdom



It is rather ironic that our children will most likely get their wisdom teeth removed just before they leave home to go to college or work, the very time that we hope they have some inkling of wisdom and common sense.

Yesterday at the doctor’s I was called back after Evan’s wisdom teeth were removed. He was reclining on a bed, covered by a blanket. My heart skipped a beat as I went back to sit beside him.

I am the mother of boys, and maybe it is different with girls, but I can safely say that the goal of most 18 year-old boys is to be fiercely independent. They spend a great deal of time and effort demonstrating just why it is that they no longer need their mother’s care and/or guidance.

So to see my boy, who has perfected this demonstration of independence, in a vulnerable and dependent position pretty much undid me for a few seconds.

Recovering quickly, I went into Mother Mode as I held the ice pack against his cheek. The office staff told me to get pain medication into him as soon as I could.

I got him home, into bed and then immediately got in my car to go and get his drugs. I drove and I was driven. I was on a mission. I couldn’t take away the pain he was in, but I could get some pills that would. I was ready to argue with any pharmacy technician who would delay those pills. I didn’t need to. They were ready.

I went home, changed out his gauze and got the pills into him. We spent the afternoon watching TV together.

Little by little, he began to gain his independence back. He could walk without me steadying him. He could change out his own gauze. He could get his own drinks. He let me know I didn’t have to hang out with him if I had other things to do. By nightfall, I could see the cool, independent kid reemerging.


Because I have always had a more flexible schedule than HOB, and perhaps it is because it has been more of a traditional role for women, I have been the one to go through most of the medical procedure with our boys. Because both boys were active little creatures who visited the emergency room often, I got quite a bit of experience.

I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Yes, it’s tough to see them down and out. Sometimes I’ve had to find a power I didn’t know I had, but it’s been a privilege to help them regain their strength, get them back on track.

It’s all a part of being a parent—being there when your children need you

It’s also part of being a parent to know when they don’t--and back off accordingly.


I hope I remember these lessons as Evan sets off for college later this month.


Maybe that's the real irony: just around the age most of our children get their wisdom teeth removed, we, as parents, need to exercise the good judgement required to back off, to let them live their lives, fight their own battles, and make their own mistakes.

That takes real strength.

That takes real wisdom.



53 comments:

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Excellent post, Betty. Hope Evan feels much better today. Thanks for sharing your heart. Happy Wednesday! ☺

Laura Eno said...

I have a very independent son as well, but the few times he's called me instinctively when he's troubled has been an honor.

Out on the prairie said...

It is hard to let go and accept them as independent. That Dad thing comes back to me with my adult children amd I always laugh. My oldest nursed me a few years back until I sent her home.

Madi and Mom said...

Ahhhh BB what a beautiful post.
You are about to step into new territory...Mom to 'adult' children. It is different and challenging and hard...but
Evan and Sonny Boy know where to find you and HOB if they need you..they know where to come to get the independent motors recharged. Big hug
C

Susan in the Boonies said...

My friend and I used to marvel that right about the time they need wisdom the most, we extract what little they have right out of their mouths.

Seeing our kids (or our husband) sick can galvenize the weakest of women into the fiercest of Mama Bears. Been there, for sure!

Catherine said...

Although you never want to see your children sick, I remember the precious days of staying home with my son when he was little and not feeling well. Popsicles to help sooth a fever, movies to comfort the soul, and a cozy blanket, curled up on the couch together.

It's hard on us moms when they don't need us as much any more. :(

Hope your son is doing well Betty!
xo Catherine

Hinda Toufga said...

Great post, I have been away and missed reading your blog :)

Laura said...

Great post, Betty!
My son is 22, works hard every day, and owns his own home...but when he was sick this past winter who did he call? :-)
Well okay, he called because he was hungry and not feeling well enough to fix himself something and wanted me to bring him food, but it felt good to be needed!

Nicolasa @ {My}Perspective said...

What a great, sweetly written post. I know that despite his need for independence he really appreciated you helping him out! It's times like that when we want our mommy the most!

Flartus said...

Maybe they should give the teeth to the parents, to give back to their kids when they have kids of their own...

ewww! :D

(My brother and I were lucky enough not to have any wisdom teeth...wonder what that says about our family??)

Mamma has spoken said...

Beautiful post and a great reminder that was needed today.
Thanks.

Eva Gallant said...

I loved this post...my boys are now 37 and 39....but sometimes I still want to cuddle them and take away the hurt. The younger one went through divorce last year..it was painful for both of us, because I was so wishing I could take away the hurt! He's fine now, though, thank goodness. The older one just cracked a couple of ribs 'tubing' on the lake..I wanted to take that hurt away, too. The mother feeling never goes entirely away.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty .. can feel the pain for Evan .. we all return to our mothers at times .. and even my mother on her stroked bedside .. said she should be looking after me - but can't .. the tables have turned - but I can remember having my wisdom teeth out - fortunately in hospital.

Sounds as though ice-cream is off the table now .. back to the beer, and the toast .. that scrubs the mouth out nicely!!!

Cheers for now - he'll be back when he needs a comforting hug .. Hilary

Old Kitty said...

Awwwwww you're a wise wonderful mother!!

Take care
x

Brian said...

I wondered where wisdom had gone to, but now I see it's with you!

Pearl said...

Ahh. You touched a nerve here. As the mother of a son, I know exactly of what you speak. To comfort them, hold them, spend quiet time with them is a too-infrequent gift...

Pearl

Siv Maria said...

Nice :)It is hard to let go sometimes and sometimes we never get the chance.

Marg said...

So glad that son of yours needed you for a short time anyway. It is exciting when that happens. I don't have any of my own kids but I raised a bunch of them in teaching them to ride horses from age 6 years on. And they come to me still for advice with animals. So I kind of know how you feel. Great post. Take care.

Donna said...

You're a Good Mom and I know he appreciates All you do for him Betty!
It's so hard to let go...
hughugs

EmptyNester said...

I never really thought about the boy vs girl issue as far as parenting was concerned---didn't have to- we had all girls! LOL But I think that both genders seek that independence you speak of. I made a deliberate effort to teach my girls how to be fiercely independent. To stand on their own two feet. To depend on themselves and not a man. That a man is something to want in their lives as a companion...because they wanted him not because of need. Does that make sense?

Regardless, I very much enjoyed this post as I do all of yours!

GreatGranny said...

I have 3 sons and can relate to this. Sometimes it's difficult to back off when they're in need. They always know Mother is always here when needed.

Ana said...

Great post. It's quite a ways before my little girls are off to college, but I can already see the independence emerging in my almost 3 year old. She is very independent, but when she's sick she doesn't stray even a couple feet from my side. It's nice to hear that even as they grow up they still needs mom every once in a while =)

Retired English Teacher said...

You said so much in this post about the various aspects of parenting. In many ways, it was heartbreaking for me to read. We will do, hope to do, must do, whatever it takes, whenever we need to, when it comes to being there when our children need us.

But you are so right about the irony of the time of life when our children have wisdom teeth removed. We have to let them live their own lives and make their own mistakes. This may be the hardest part of parenting, and it does require great wisdom.

Pat Tillett said...

Great post Betty...
When it comes down to it, I guess our job is to prepare them for the world. It's sometimes tough going, sometimes rewarding, but always bitterweet.

Ashley Ashbee said...

You seem like an amazing mom. I've heard that as a parent is so hard to see your child not like his or herself, even if it's something simple and harmless and you have every reason to think he'll be better soon.

Hmm, I think I see some Anais Nin in you. ;)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I went through the wisdom teeth thing with my three boys. They had acted tough and did great. I'm sure my daughter will do the same. I think my toughest time with my children was not seeing them off to college but when they did something by themselves they usually need me for like the first time my oldest bought his girlfriend a Christmas present without my input.

ShirleyC said...

Amen and so true! I still love the fact than when my son is upset or needs to talk, he calls me, and my daughter calls her dad.

Barbara Shallue said...

I remember that fierce Mother mode kicking in each time my three had their wisdom teeth out. And I remember knowing they would be okay when they starting pulling on their independence. "...we, as parents, need to exercise the good judgement required to back off, to let them live their lives, fight their own battles, and make their own mistakes." So true and so hard to do, unless you look at the big picture. sigh.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Loved the post Betty, I sincerely hope Evan feels much better.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It will be tough, but you'll both make it. Besides, I can safely say I'll always need my mom, and I hope your boys feel the same way.

Annie said...

Even when your children have children of their own they will still come around needing tender care from time to time, both boys and girls. I know and make myself available when they need me.
They also see then how right you were back in the dark ages!
As my daughter said to me the other evening when her 11 year old was griping about having to sit for a hairstyle, "Was I like this Mom?"
Yup.. she was.

Jules said...

Wow Betty, what wise one you are. Wouldn't it be nice if when we had our wisdom teeth extracted, it sent our mind straight to middle age so we could appreciate our parents more in the moment?! :)

Linda said...

Beautifully written, Betty. Hope Evan is recovering well from the surgery.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to back off when they start doing okay again but you're right, it's all part of parenting too.

Hope your son recovers quickly.

Marlene said...

Oh, my youngest had her wisdom teeth removed less than a year ago now....and it was so hard watching her in pain from it all. She still needed her mommy....and she was 20. :)

Kristina said...

Beautiful. As always! :)

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Cutting the cord is painful. And it never seems to get completely severed, does it? :)

Gigi said...

Knock on wood - mine has yet to have surgery or been hurt enough to go to the emergency room - so I can only imagine how it felt to see your "baby" lying there so helpless.

As independent as they are - they will always need their moms (I hope & pray!!)

SUGAR MOON said...

I know where you're coming from. I had two that got their wisdom teeth out the same day. The boy was up and going that night even as I protested, but the girl lay in our bed for many days while I introduced her to many wonderful classic movies that she still loves today. Have a great day!!!

Lazarus said...

Bossy, you have a lot of these sneaky-wise posts, you should consider writing a book on parenting, I'm sure it would be a big hit. Nice job on this one!

Ann said...

backing off is the hardest part. Glad to hear your son made it through with a little help from his mom :P

Daisy said...

My older son had his wisdom teeth pulled earlier this year. :-) Your son was lucky to have you there to help him through it. It's not a very fun experience.

Lydia K said...

You give good advice! I love reading these posts. They give me nudgings on parenting I really listen to.

Ms. A said...

Always the mother, protector, fixer and nurturer, I was quite taken aback when my middle son informed me, "Mom, you need to let us fall on our own a$$!" I still find it very hard to do.

Baby Sister said...

Such a good mother you are. :) I hope to be as good when I have children. I hope Evan feels better today!!

julie fedderson said...

What a beautiful post! I am also the mother of sons, although they are still little ones at age 4 and 5. They're working on their independence, and my heart does little flips when occasionally they crawl up on my lap and just let me hold them for a minute.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Another great post, Betty.
Boys of all ages always need their moms, whether they admit it or not.
xoRobyn

faye said...

Another insightful post..
and I love the new header.

SquirrelQueen said...

No matter how independent we become as adults we all still like the thought of a hug and a little TLC from Mom.

Brian Miller said...

i am glad you have that wisdom...dont stray too far, he still needs you but let him make some choices and love him any way...

Michelle Fayard said...

What I learned about wisdom teeth is mine needed to be cut out right after I stopped being on my parents’ medical plan but before I had a decent dental plan of my own. :) I’m so glad to see Evan is doing better already.

Shan said...

Love this! Love.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Aw, such a lovely essay. I have been in your place. I wish I could give you a hug.

Such a difficult line to send them out and not interfere. Give them their wings, but watch to see if they need clipping every now and then. Still they need us even though they may not know it.

Wisdom teeth. Kind of odd that we have those removed. Sounds like we need them.