Our Story Begins:
Sometimes Doing Nothing is Good Enough
This was just a bad week. There’s really no other way to say it, no flowery adjectives I can use to describe it for you.
Some of the highlights: the power went out in our home while I was at work and the kids at school. This, of course, means it was hours of no power which meant the food, unbeknownst to us, was spoiled. We figured this out when my son tried to drink milk and it was sour (this was followed, of course, by a series of horrible gutteral chokings and spitting noises).
Next . . . I spent more time at my day job doing work that was not the project I’m responsible for producing. That’s always fun. This, of course, is followed by a conversation with a representative from a state agency that then caused me to use a few choice profane adjectives and shout – I kid you not – to the point where I lost my voice. I even scared a manager who said they’d wait until I had a few minutes to calm down.
Same day . . . my daughter, Hannah, texts and informs me that she’d been pushed on the bus, dropped her 3-month-old smart phone and the screen was now cracked. She, apparently, had taken it out of the shatter-proof case because she didn’t like the way it looked. It’s back in that case, by the way, with the lovely spiderweb pattern on the screen through the plastic.
The major problem I faced, though, was my oldest daughter, Abbi, who is in another state in college. After all this she called me at my desk.
“I think I have the flu,” was her line. It was obvious she hadn’t gotten a flu shot yet.
“Did you go to the college wellness center?”
“No. I’m going in the morning,” she replied.
I pushed her hard to go in the morning and then call me, immediately, after. When she finally called me she was tearful and homesick. She had bronchitis and was having a hard time breathing. Having grown up with asthma and dealt with pleurisy, pneumonia, bronchitis and daily medication for breathing problems I asked if they’d given her medication, including an inhaler, so she can breathe. She hadn’t and teared up again because she had major homework, a play rehearsal and tons of work all day and wasn’t going to be able to stop very early.
It’s here I actually pulled up the travel sites and started looking for flights to visit her over the weekend. Its’ crazy, I know that. I’ve been a big proponent of letting my kids learn and do what they should, but I admit I was scared and worried about my little girl. It was obvious, too, that she wanted help and wanted to know what to do.
But reality hit me pretty quickly. As much as I want to race in and pick her up and carry her home I can’t do that. She can’t expect me to do it, either.
“Go back to the doctor and get an inhaler and ask them what you should do and call me back.” After she argued with me I explained to her what bronchitis is and why the inhaler would help. About an hour after getting it, she called me and told me how much it helped.
We all want to do our best to protect our kids and shield them from everything. But I stopped myself because, without a doubt, Abbi needed to know how to fend for herself and what she needed to do to get better. I can’t always be there . . . but I’m always in reach. This way, she can be proud of the fact she dealt with this herself.
And I came to realize that sometimes doing nothing is good enough.
What about you? Do you want to do it all for your kids? Would you have hopped on a plane, expense and time aside?
Dave Manoucheri is a writer, journalist and musician based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their life after the loss of his wife, Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.