Where is the Grownup?

Some days.....

Some days…..

Some days I feel like this.  Today has been one of them.

I am sitting at the Med Stop with my middle one. She has been running fever since Friday night. I guess this is Round 2 of what the littles had two weeks ago. Waiting on the results from the strep swab now.
It is moments like this one tonight, when I saw that her temp had gone into a very worrisome range, that I look around, wondering where the grownup is.  The One Who Makes the Decision.  So often I feel like I am just filling in until he or she shows up.  I wish they would hurry it up.

I know there were several times with my firstborn that I felt that way, ill-equipped to handle the situation. The one that sticks out the most is the time we were stationed in Japan and Aub came home from school with a high fever. She threw up her medication for the fever, and I was very worried. And very pregnant with this one I am with tonight.  So we went to the ER at the base hospital. A very overzealous first time ER doc came in and wanted to do a spinal tap. (I’m sorry, WHAT did you say?!  You want to do what, and the risks are what?!!)  I was scared senseless. I was far from Mama, it was the middle of the night where she was, and I didn’t have a way to call her from the hospital anyway. I felt helpless and lost. After a call to a local friend who was a nurse, I felt a little better. But it was Dr. Elnicky who came in when the shift changed and apologized for the previous doctor’s recommendation. “Overzealous” was her term. She brought Aub’s fever down and sent us home.  (I loved Dr. E.  She had such a quiet competence. When I went in with severe cramping about midway through my pregnancy with this girl, she was the one who calmly said, after many tests, “I think you have a case of bad” lowered to a whisper, “gas.” Oh my.)  Thank you Dr. E for being the adult at those times when I was very afraid.

When Daddy was diagnosed three and half years ago and things became dire, Mama was right there. And even when we were all frightened or sad, she was the grownup who loved us through it.

So last August when Mama went in for the first HospitalStay, it was very frightening. I drove my grownup to the ER as she shivered violently under several blankets. When we got there a half hour later, thanks to a detour, she could not walk on her own into the ER. I tried to hold it together as I went inside and asked for a wheelchair. A sweet nurse came out and helped me move Mama to the chair. They moved her through pretty quickly, thank goodness. When they checked her temperature and found it was 105.3, they rushed her back to a room and left me to give her information to the intake nurse. This was when the terrible fear kicked in. 105.3? That was a radio station. Not someone’s temperature. Not my Mama’s.

I anxiously gave the nurse Mama’s allergies and insurance and medical history. Finally they let me back. Mama was so pale and weak. And not able to be the grownup at all in that moment. It was a paradigm shift. One that never really returned to an even keel.
I called my Aunt to give her an update. I whispered from the corner of the tiny room on the wall phone in the room. Cell phone reception was next to nothing in there. I told her all I knew and then tearfully said, “I feel like I’m just waiting on the grownup to show up and take over.”
She chuckled softly, and then said sweetly and clearly, “Oh Tara, I hate to tell you this, but you ARE the grownup.”
Oh. No.

We were talking yesterday morning and I teased her, saying that she was lucky I spoke to her at all after she broke that little bit of bad news to me.

It’s nights like this one, when worry creeps in and my ineptitude becomes painfully obvious, that I find myself still looking. Really I’m just filling in until She gets here. You know, the grownup.  I am sure she’s quite lovely, but I do wish she’d hurry up. It gets tiresome playing grownup. Especially when one of mine gets sick or there is drama and heartbreak behind their tears. Incompetent doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

Tonight I am thankful for my family and friends who walk with me as I try my grownup feet out. For their patience and guidance I give thanks. I also appreciate those who fill in as the grownup from time to time. Like Miss D who, two weeks ago, when telling me what to do, pointed her finger at me and said, “Now I ain’t your Mama and I can’t take her place, but I reckon I can look after you and keep you straight since she can’t right now.” And my Aunt. Who answers my calls and listens, when she must have a hundred things to do instead. And Mama’s sweet neighbor. Who is always there to help with things.  And so many others. Bless ’em.

Because of the reprieves they give me, I am able to get through the times when it’s the hardest to be the grownup. Like tonight. We are home now, and the strep test was negative. The doctor said this just has to take its course. Kind of like life. We have to watch it and respond accordingly.

So I get it, I’m the grownup. *yawn* And as the grownup, I do believe it’s time to call it a night.  Being a grownup is exhausting sometimes.  So I’m off to Neverland and a good night’s sleep.  I hope.  Someone has to be rested to be the grownup again tomorrow…..

pic of peter pan quote

2 thoughts on “Where is the Grownup?

  1. Ah, Tara, I remember that first birthday after my mama died (my 35th) and thinking, “oh dear – who will make my cake?” and realizing that it would be ME. I was not prepared to be the grownup then either, Then, 8 years later when my daddy died, I had a glimpse into what it feels like to be an orphan – and I did not like it one little bit. Prayers with you now and every day as you continue to define the “new normal” for you and your family. It’s a process.

    • Oh, Nancy, thank you for reading and for sharing your story. That breaks my heart about your birthday cake. If you need me to, I can make a pretty mean pound cake. Not the same, I know. My aunt and I have talked about that same glimpse. Thank you for your prayers and your understanding. A new normal…..thank you for the grace in knowing it is a process. And for reminding me. (Will you please do that often?) Much love!

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