A little over a week ago our eldest son fell roller blading and broke his wrist. He called the house in the wee hours of a Sunday morning asking for me to drive him to the hospital.
The old “mommy adrenaline jet fuel” kicked in and I was out the door in five minutes while my husband murmured something from his pillow about calling him as he fell back into a peaceful sleep.
As I barreled down the road towards my child in need of me, I almost enjoyed the strong sense of purpose I felt. He needed me to help him. He needed his mom. Sigh.
I can only imagine his perspective would have been more like, damn … I have to call mom for help.
After being put in a cast and given some pain meds, I reluctantly returned him to his home. I tossed and turned that night in a state of worry.
I fretted about him all week restraining myself to calling him only twice. He seemed to be doing well. When I spoke to him on Monday to setup going to the surgeon he told me that the cast has pretty much disintegrated and he took it off on the Saturday. Argh!
You know, they are clinically insane (as far as their brain development goes) until they are twenty-five to thirty years old … I believe this is one of those insane moments. They seem to think they are invincible.
Hence, I lost it. Feeling so frustrated and worried that he would cause permanent damage and lose his ability to work (he is an arborist who is just starting out) I put him on the defensive. He decided he didn’t need me to go to the surgeon with him as had been previously arranged.
After I got off the phone, I was just spinning. I tried to busy myself but couldn’t get my mind off it. Finally my wonderful business partner and life coach, Alisa, called and helped me sort this out.
After calming me down, she worked on coaching me to find a better feeling.
What I realized is that my primal instincts are still (and most likely always will be) tied to my kids. When they are hurt or in trouble, my instinct to “jump in front of the truck that is heading for them” is so strong I takes over my ability to rationalize the situation.
My mind immediately goes to everything that could go wrong. I had him disabled and homeless within five minutes of that call! The reality is that he most likely will be fine, the surgeon didn’t seem to concerned (according to our son) and said no surgery was needed, just a cast for eight weeks.
The biggest trigger in all of this for me was the trust factor. I really need to trust him to take care of himself and his life. What set me off was the feeling that that trust was broken—huge trigger for me. The thing is, the inability to trust him with his own life is my stuff, not his.
Cognitively, he is a very capable and mostly a levelheaded young man who still has some maturing to do (oh heavens, let it be soon!).
I wish it were easier to find a middle ground between over-mothering and letting go. I think there is a need for both in order for me to maintain my sanity and a joyful relationship with my son.