I'm in that stage of parenthood where finally I can withdraw just a little of the over protectiveness that characterized the infant and preschool days of my children's youth. I'm starting to let them walk to the end of the block without being right next to them. I don't hyperventilate when I drop them over a school friend's house for the play date. I don't check over every word and problem of their homework. I've taught them the basics and want to see them apply some of their own common sense and problem solving skills.
I'm loving it. As they get their independence, I get my independence back. But as I watch my parents and in-laws, I wonder, when do parents start latching on again? Or do Indian parents never let go?
This week the whole Dixit clan has been sick. Two of us had the full blown flu, and the others of us (who got our flu shots this year, nag, nag) were sick for a couple of days. Early in our illnesses, I told my parents that Kumar and Wilo were sick. My mom immediately swooped in and came to take care of Wilo, so Kumar could rest. Awesome! This is why we live close to extended family, right? She brought over Rassum (sp?), an Indian sickness soup remedy that I love. She hung out at our house allll day long- I tried not to complain (which was testing my patience after the 10th hour of her help), but it was one day, I could deal with it. That was last weekend.
As the illnesses have taken their course, taking down the other two kids and then finally slowly letting us go, my mom's been calling a couple of times a day to check on everyone's progress. "A little bit better mom. Yes, I'm giving her fluids. No, she's not dehydrated. Yes, he's talked to his doctor. I know, they should have gotten the flu shot. blah blah blah."
Then Kumar's mom got back from Canada and wanted in on the action. So she started calling a few times a day to see if I was properly taking care of her son. Finally, for the last two days, Kumar's dad joined in with the phone calls 3 times in ONE HOUR, trying to find out how Kumar was. When I finally talked to him, he chastised me for not picking up the phone and added that he is praying for us each by name every night.
Now I was really miserably sick for 24-48 hours in the middle of the week.
I'm an introvert (yes, an introvert blogger, which my SIL thinks might be an oxymoron), but when I'm sick, my introvert self just wants to be left alone.
I don't want my temperature taken.
I don't need fluids.
I don't want you to dab my forehead or talk to me in a calm, soothing voice.
All I want to do was sleep.
That's how I recover so quickly ("SUPER INTROVERT SLEEP" - I should coin that phrase and make a pill for that). But when I was deathly ill, could I sleep? No, all those extroverted, smothering parents were making my phone ring every 10 minutes!!!! Argh!!!!
So when's the switch, I wonder. As I'm finally relaxing into parenthood, when does my guard go back up, and I start smothering my kids again? Will it be when they are teenagers, and I wonder what kind of trouble they are going to get into? Or will it be when the last one leaves the house (in 14 years, 9 months and 4 days), when we have an empty nest and nothing to do?
Somehow I hope that I will have more of a life to be hyper-concerned with my children's every cough and sniffle, but I wonder. .... I am my mother's daughter.