I had a rough, rough night last night. My youngest son was rushed to the ER on order of his Chief (he is a fire fighter) and I rushed out to meet them there. He couldn’t breathe. It scared me. We were there for about 4 hours. We learned so much. And he was given breathing treatments, medication, and x-rays. It was a severe asthma attack. We were prepared for bronchitis (because both my mom and I have had it recently) and even pneumonia, but not asthma! We were told that you never outgrow asthma. If you have had it as a child, you will always have it. Once you have had an asthmatic episode, you will always have sensitive airways. I had no idea. (He had asthma as a child, but has had no episodes in more than 10 years. Our previous pediatrician told us he had outgrown it). The staff were shocked he did not have an inhaler at home for emergencies! We never knew we needed one. The respiratory therapist was amazing. The staff was so kind. If we had not been there under those circumstances, I would have enjoyed it! Ha-Ha-Ha.
This was the first time I experienced being a parent in this situation, and yet, I was just an observer. My son is legally an adult, even though he still lives at home. And for the first time in his life, and in my life as his mom all these years, no one spoke directly to me. I was on the sidelines. And it was the weirdest feeling in the world. And this is my last child. I was proud of how he conducted himself, and how he was able to negotiate his healthcare on his own. But it was hard, not to jump in and take over. Due to HIPAA laws and the fact that he is over 18, they technically could not directly address me. And that was weird, too. His fellow fire fighter was able to provide more information for the triage nurse than I was. And that was so weird, too. I came to realize he has a life outside of me and our small family. I saw my son as a man last night. Proud and devastated at the same time.
And I realized, with overwhelming clarity, that raising my last child was over. He can still learn along the way. He can still grow up to be a wonderful young man. He can still be taught life skills. But my job of helping to develop him as a person, well, is pretty much done. He is who he is. He was even approved for his own health insurance last night. They did not even ask me a single question. They only spoke to him. He was the only person to sign anything. While we drove to get his prescription, we discussed the fact that he now was truly his own person, with his own insurance, separate from his dad and me. When we got there, the pharmacist only spoke to my son, not to me. He set up his own account, with his own phone number, and his sole reference to his parents? His address. I was profoundly moved. I mean, you have these little people around you for so long. And some days, as a mom to young kids, the only time I had privacy was when I was going to the bathroom. (Even then, I was given notes slid under the door. I think they knew I was hiding. Ha-Ha-Ha). And you think you have so many years stretching ahead of you. You think it is endless, amidst the piles of laundry and runny noses. And last night, I realized that journey with our youngest child, was over. It was a pivotal moment for me.
And so we move on to the next phase, I guess. All adults. No shenanigans going on with toys and noise and dirt and chaos. We are a household of adults. Such a weird thing to wrap your head around. I mean, you wake up each day and deal with each day as it comes. And this morning, I realized everything had changed. My last baby is a grown up. Wow.