Well, she’s 21. My beautiful, strong, wise daughter Audrey. And stuck at home for at least another week, and quite possibly for the rest of the semester due to the coronavirus. She waited to go away to a university. Did her two years at the local community college, and it was a good decision. To say that she’s a tiny bit sad by this hiccup would be to understate the depths of her disappointment.
That said, she’s had to deal with more than a little disappointment in her 21 years. She is, in fact, pretty good at the whole disappointment gig as she got a crash course in 2013 when, at 14, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on a cold March Friday. In the hospital, hooked up to an insulin drip, she didn’t cry. In the back of an ambulance as her dad and I waved goodbye before hopping into our van to meet her in St. Louis, she didn’t cry. In the e-room at Children’s Hospital, when I finally made my way back to her, she didn’t cry.
It took her months to cry.
It took me a while too. People wondered why I wasn’t crying or railing at the unfairness of it all. I got lots of advice from well-meaning folks, “Go ahead, feel your feelings. You’ve got to deal with this.” But I couldn’t. I was lucky to have one friend who told me, “You guys are in crisis. You can’t break down now. It’s okay to be on auto-pilot as you get everything figured out. You’ll deal with it when you do.” Indeed.
Sometimes it takes a while.
So today, March 15, is the anniversary of that day when our worlds were turned upside down. And I say “our” but the truth is that Audrey is the one who deals with diabetes (and a worried mother) every day. Yes, I admit to being a teeny tiny pain in her ass during her first few months away from home–texting, emailing, hell, I’ve even resorted to snap chatting when I don’t hear from her.
I’ve never been much good at letting go, so this isn’t a surprise to anyone.
And when I can’t get ahold of one of my kids (equal opportunity for all of them). Well, let’s just say the apple (me) doesn’t fall far from the tree (my own parents). Case in point: many years ago, my sister who was an accomplished teacher with an advanced degree and a good job, had a bad cold. After a long day at work, she snuggled up in her bed after taking some cold medicine. My parents tried to call her. She didn’t answer. They tried to call her again. Again, she didn’t answer. When she kept not answering the phone (these were the dark ages when phones were hooked up to the wall with cords and not everyone had one in their bedroom), my parents called my sister’s co-teacher and asked her to make the trip cross town to check on her. Needless to say my sister was a little peeved. (but loved, right!)
So I might be worse. I blame it on cell phones.
Seriously, the point of this somewhat meandering blog post is that every year I remember the day Audrey was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. But this year instead of reposting the story (as I have done here, and here, and here in case you’re interested) I want to say that from here on out, I’m going to trust that she’s got this. And even if the coronavirus and the president’s poor and inadequate response to the crisis has given me a few more days with her this semester, I’m not gonna forget that my job continues to be letting go.