This parenting thing never ends. And, that is a good thing.
Our middle child is in SF and we have come out to visit. She has a boyfriend who I will call Todd. I call him that because it is his name and that makes it pretty easy to remember. Any way this Todd fellow is a pretty good guy who happens to be a pretty fragile sort. He had some terrible soccer injury and it wasn’t fully healed and he was playing dodgeball and shredded his knee. Torn ACL, and flipped his meniscus. So, while we are out here on vacation he had his knee rebuilt. We had plans, you know. We were gonna go to the Wharf and the Golden Gate Park and you know the stuff you do in SF. And then this surgery and help take care of a kid that we hardly know and who, by reasonable assumption, is FAR TOO DAMN FAMILIAR with my daughter.
Here is the funny thing. We would rather take care of the kid, and my daughter, than any trip to Alcatraz or whale watching or another drive across the Golden Gate in an open air bus. There is little or nothing that can replace the feeling we have as parents to be useful to our kids, if even by proxy. Taking care of Todd, (his real name), is in a way taking care of my daughter. It feels natural to step in and help. It feels wonderful to be of use.
I think we are even making a bit of a bother of ourselves because we are trying to be so damn helpful we are, of course, in the way. Nonetheless, Todd, (his real name), doesn’t have family out here that is able to be of much help. His parents aren’t even in the country at the moment and he needs to be bothered by affection a little. When you are hurt and maybe a little scared, being annoyed by cloying parents is a far better problem to have than being left to feel lost and alone. This kid and his girlfriend are highly educated successful professionals but, I saw the look in his eyes the night before surgery and I know what I saw. I also know that I am 54 years old and there are times when I want my Mom and Dad.
I hope in the years to come whether Todd, (his real name), becomes a more permanent part of our family or not he remembers this time as a moment when he had parents around to help out. I hope it doesn’t matter to him so much that it wasn’t his own parents. I hope he knows that he was loved for those days because he needed to be and that our being able to love him made our vacation better than it could have been in any other way.