Our eldest is petrified of shots. As a child we had a system for these situations; it failed miserably most of the time.
The nurse would bring out the shot, and our daughter would say something to the effect of, “I will let you know when I am ready.” The nurse would agree and we would wait a few moments for the patient to compose herself. Once composed, the nurse would then begin to come at her with the requisite immunization. Suddenly, as if possessed our dear, sweet daughter would grab her arm away, lunge backward out of the line of fire and shout, “I’m not ready! I’m not ready!”
I remember one especially bad time at age thirteen when this same child had to have a shot in her buttock and she screamed and carried on so loudly I had to hold her down as the poor doctor tried to get the shot into her. The walls being thin, I knew that everyone in the entire office - let alone the building – had heard her carrying on. I could not have been more right. As we exited the exam room we found ourselves staring down at a shaken five-year old that obviously was next in line to see the doctor. All I could think was that my daughter had scarred this poor child for life with her bellowing.
All this came to me the other day on my morning walk as I thought about how this child has now grown into a beautiful young woman: about to turn eighteen, about to leave the nest for college. And now it is me that feels these combative words fill my throat as I think about her leaving me. It is me that wants to shout, “I’m not ready! I’m not ready!”
Over and over again since I knew this exit, this untying of the apron strings, was imminent I have tried to avoid thinking about it, dwelling for once instead in the moment – or perhaps it was just flat-out denial. On the odd occasion that emotion has overcome me, I have quickly composed myself. If I don’t face it, it won’t happen right?
Wrong. The clock is ticking – according to her Facebook page we have less than thirty days! And suddenly I see the pain – of separation, or not knowing where she is at 2:00 am, of not being able to wrap my arms around her and comfort her after a bad day - looming large and all I want to do is grab her back out of its way and scream, “I’m not ready! I’m not ready!”
But I know I can’t. As a friend so aptly pointed out, “this is why we raise them, to send them off into their own lives.”
So I will bear my heart and take this hit, but just between you and me, “I’m still NOT READY!”