5 Things I learned about parenting when my son got sick

I understand that each and every parenting experience is necessarily different, personal, private and unique in its own special way, there are themes that I see keep popping up in the parenting experience. A friend of mine is going through a similar challenge, though with very different roots. Her son was hit by a car while riding his scooter to work, resulting in some broken bones and weeks off work.

My own son is struggling with Lymphoma, similar result in the end as he will in all likelihood make a complete recovery but needs a few weeks off work as an invalid. Both young men spent a little time in hospital and are recuperating at home and then some medium to long term recovery plans. The two young men do not know each other which makes the comparison even more interesting from a spectators point of view. The parenting issues are still the same.

Lesson 1. There is a time to step forward, and a time┬áto step back. I am not completely convinced I have learned the lesson well, but it is a constant challenge with adult children, and parents of my generation. We parents want to demonstrate our love in all the ways that our parents failed to do with us. We hug our children, we tell them that we love them, we are happy to have them around. However, we can’t protect them all the time, things will happen to them outside of our control and we have to learn to let them invite us in to assist.

Lesson 2. Though you never stop being a parent, your children can actually make decisions without you. I know, crazy isn’t it? My adult son, can actually look at the available information and make an adult decision without my input. When did that happen?

Lesson 3. Sometimes they want their partner, not their parent around. This one is a complete shocker. How can a young attractive girlfriend possibly give the sort of comfort that a father could? Hang on a minute, I think I see what’s happening here.

Lesson 4. It’s OK to cry about your children in public. Every person on the planet cuts you a bit of slack when it’s about your kids.

Lesson 5. There is a balancing act around discussing your children with others. Lets face it, listening about someone else’s children is boring. But then, if someone’s children get sick or injured that rule changes in an instant. Letting people know what is going on is actually really important in the scheme of things.

Parenting is such a wonderful art form. Constantly changing, perpetually imperfect. It has given me so many grey hairs and wrinkles as well as laugh lines and beautiful life changing experiences. My boys are amazing. They help me grow up. Watching them suffer is one of the toughest, perhaps the toughest part of being a parent.