The Teenager just called me in tears, complaining of not being able to breathe and having a sharp pain in her back. I calmed her down and asked her to take a hot shower, to allow the steam to open her lungs and the water to relax her. Then, she is supposed to call me back to let me know if it helps.
It was good advice, and, the steps I would have her follow if she were home.
But, she's not home.
She's six hours away and she doesn't feel good and I'm not there to help her.
Instead, I am here, consulting Dr. Google to determine if I should be more concerned (Note to parents of recent college-bound teens: DO NOT CONSULT THE INTERNET FOR MEDICAL ADVICE ABOUT YOUR BABY. IT WILL MAKE YOU NEEDLESSLY PARANOID ABOUT HER SYMPTOMS. TRUST ME. STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD).
This is the part of parenting that no one tells you about; the part where you second-guess your support of your child's pursuit of higher education and the part where you forget how very hard you worked to raise a mature, responsible, and capable young adult. This is the part where you seriously consider jumping in the car to rescue that young adult from...adulthood.
This is the part where you remind yourself that you did instill all of those qualities in your child, and that your baby is mature and responsible and capable and that she will get through this with just a little good advice administered in a loving tone over the phone.
This is also the part where you realize that you damn well better get used to providing this type of support and guidance because, yeah...adulthood.
I have loved all of the stages of my children's lives, but, I've got to tell you; I am kind of hating this part.