Today I “accompanied” my son to the pediatrician for his annual check up. I did not “take” him to the pediatrician because my son drove us there, he filled out the required paperwork, he presented his own health insurance card. This child of mine is almost 20 years old. I simply came along to keep him company.
And as I sat alone in the waiting room surrounded by so many young moms and dads with their young children, while my son was seeing his pediatrician in a room down the hall without me, it dawned on me this was most likely the last time I’d be here with my him. At almost 20 years old my son has surely outgrown this brightly colored office filled with toys and picture books and Highlights magazines.
In that moment I realized how grateful I am to these doctors, these men and women who have helped care for my children, who’ve seen my kids (and me) at some of our bleakest moments, who’ve watched them grow and have shared my pride in all they’ve accomplished over these many years.
So I wanted to say thank you to my children’s pediatricians.
Thank you for suggesting, all those years ago, that I feed my preemie son a few ounces of milk before you weighed him. You understood that this terrified new mom, with her tiny and frail baby, desperately needed a win. And those extra couple of ounces on the scale qualified as a significant win during those difficult days.
Thank you for knowing when to assure me that my children’s symptoms were nothing to worry about, and for calmly letting me know when it was indeed time to worry. You knew when to refer us to specialists, coordinated our children’s care and helped us navigate some unexpected and very frightening hospital stays.
Thank you for letting me be my children’s voice. The fact that you trusted my instincts empowered me as a mother and gave me the confidence I needed during those earliest years, when I so often doubted myself and my parenting.
Thank you for knowing when it was time to let my kids speak for themselves. You bolstered their growing autonomy, helped give them a sense of control over their lives and increased their awareness of their own well being.
Thank you for reminding my kids to use their seatbelts, wear their helmets, take their vitamins, apply sunscreen, and so much more. I said these same things to my kids so many times I lost count over the years. But hearing it from you made them take it so much more seriously.
Thank you for that day not long ago when you gently asked me to leave the room so you could speak to my teenager alone. I could see in your eyes it was as hard for you to ask that of me as it was for me to leave. But you understood how important it was to create an independent relationship with this young adult, a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
Thank you for helping these children of mine transition into adulthood. You’ve seen to it that they understand the importance of self-care and living a healthy lifestyle. You taught them to take an active role in their own health. And in truth, you educated your patients and their parents alike.