More than 18 years ago a very wise news photographer told me something that I now realize is the absolute truth. His name is Ken Brown, Sr. We call him Senior. He has two grown sons. We were heading out to a news assignment in the live truck when I announced to him that I was pregnant with my daughter Grace. He remarked, “Man, what did you go and do that for? You know the s- – – never ends.” Those words ring true to me every day and I think I often repeat them to my friends with young children and those with children on the way.
A few weeks ago I woke up to my phone blowing up with texts and calls. The first came from Grace, who is in college in California. She said, “I am in so much pain. I did not sleep all night. My teeth, my mouth hurt so bad.” I told her she needed to make a dental appointment. She hung up and called her father. (Yes he lives in the same house.) He got right on it, I must say, and made her an appointment. She needed a root canal. Her text read, “Basically my mouth is done for. RIP to me.” Drama!
The process required three separate appointments. Over the next two weeks, we dealt with this issue from afar with calls about the procedure, the pain she was in and her sleepless nights. There were tears on the phone and sad texts and that didn’t feel good for any us. And there was not much we could do but listen and be in touch with the doctor’s office to make sure everything was okay. Fortunately, I have some friends living out there who I was able to contact and ask them to check on her. They took her soup.
The same morning Grace called with her tooth issue, my oldest daughter Paige texted and called from St. Louis where she is in law school. I took this call in the car on the way to work. She too had a medical issue that she was concerned about—of course she jumped to all of the worst possible conclusions that I won’t go into here. There were tears, too. I talked her off the ledge.
There will be more talking both of them off of ledges. I have to tell you when I answer the phone when either of them calls I brace myself, afraid I might hear cries of agony over one thing or another. (Please don’t let it be mean girls or man troubles. That’s the worst to talk off the ledge.) When there are no cries and I get a happy-sounding, “Hi mom,” and a run-on sentence that I can hardly understand because they talk too fast, I am relieved that in that moment there is NO HIGH DRAMA. Then I remember what Senior said, and I know it’s just temporary.