Soon after I started working at Blackbaud, I found myself surfing the web during lunch time to distract myself from the mind-numbing phone calls I had just taken for the last 3+ hours. I consistently found myself on the Cincinnati Enquirer's web site, reading up on the local news from my former home town. Being the football fan I am, I stumbled across the blog of one of Cincinnati's sports columnists. I've posted about him before, but today he posted about how his son is moving out because he's beginning his graduate school career in New York City.
He actually quoted the Kenny Chesney song "There Goes my Life", which I think is fitting for that type of situation. We raise them to leave. We start by teaching them... and they end up teaching us. We tell them to be good, be kind to others, and do unto others as you would want others to do unto you. Oh yeah, and eat your vegetables. I know that in a blink of an eye, I'll be hugging my little baby girl before she embarks on whatever life has in store for her. Or, perhaps, whatever she has in store for life.
This past weekend Alli got sick - she had a raspy cough and she began wheezing every time she took a breath. We took her to the MUSC after hours facility in North Charleston, and they believed she had contracted Croup. It's a breathing difficulty accompanied by a "barking" cough... so it seemed to match the doctor's diagnosis. They gave her an oral steroid to help relieve some of the inflammation in her airway, but informed us that we would have to be admitted to the ER downtown (Mommy B's work) in order to get the breathing treatment they recommended for Alli. OK, no big deal - I know where my wife works, right? Wrong.
Because it was a respiratory illness, Alli had to be taken by ambulance to the ER. In the event something happened to her on the way, the paramedics could give her the appropriate treatment. Being that we had just taken Alli to the beach earlier that day, Johnny Thinwallet over here just saw dollar signs flashing in his eyes the moment the doctor mentioned an ambulance ride. Even with insurance, I couldn't fathom how much this trip was going to cost. But in the end, I knew we had to do what was best for Alli.
So in came a stretcher and two paramedics, and out went Mommy B and Alli, riding on her lap. They told me to follow them to the ER, but if they flipped on the lights and took off, not to try and keep up. I said to myself, "The hell I won't! You guys take off, and The White Flash in the Honda Pilot is right behind you. I know where I'm going, I'll beat you there if I have to." Nothing of that nature occurred, but that was a drive I hope to NEVER experience ever again. Even though it wasn't a true emergency - I couldn't help but think about my wife and baby girl in the ambulance in front of me... just hoping with everything I had in me that things would turn out all right.
Luckily they did, and Alli showed enough improvement after her breathing treatment that they discharged us after a couple of hours. Alli is still getting better, slowly but surely. She still coughs a little, but nothing like the "barking" we heard before. Things should be clearing up all the way by this weekend.
After reading the columnist's post this morning, I couldn't help but think back on the whole experience. He recalled the big moments in his son's life that he had a direct involvement in - teaching him how to throw a baseball and ride a bike and taking his picture before Prom. It made me realize that these "big" moments are fast approaching for Alli, and that I have to make the most of them. Of course there will be bumps along the road to adulthood (like this past weekend's trip to the ER), but they just make the journey that much more memorable.
We raise them to leave. Equal parts pain and duty and pride, and a sadness that breaks you in two. While Alli still has a few years until she leaves Mommy B and I as every child eventually does - I want to make sure that when she looks back on the moments that shaped her life, she smiles with the same happiness I'll have knowing I helped create them.