The Rooster had surgery this morning.
She had ear tubes ... installed? (What verb goes with that?)
Anyway, the children's hospital gave her a big combo cocktail of Tylenol with Codeine and Versed before they wheeled her down to the operating room.
They said this would make her "drunk" but I did not anticipate how that would make me feel.
Rooster is only 19 months old and yet she flopped in my arms like... well, think of a time when you had to care for a friend who was the most drunk you have ever seen anyone -- a time when you cared for someone so drunk you were scared. Rooster was like that.
Don't get me wrong, she was feeling no pain.
It was her vulnerability that got me.
I have been that drunk before.
I drank a lot in my high school and college years and, though I hate the term, would have to describe myself as having been a "partier."
I drank, I smoked, and I otherwise dabbled with the party favors.
Occasionally, I would take things too far and black out and these were the nights that good friends were relied upon to care for me, as annoying as I'm sure I was, with the knowledge that I would do the same for them another night as needed.
Never, until this morning, did I understand how my behavior must have affected my parents.
The three things I regret doing the most I did when I was too drunk to realize I was doing them. In truth, I don't even remember doing any of them.
Two of the three I am not likely to discuss.
The third one... well.
I spent my senior year of college at Leeds University in England.
My parents and younger brother came over for three weeks after the school year ended and we traveled as a family in England, Switzerland and Italy.
By the time we got to Italy my brother and I were feeling a little restrained. I was 21 and he was 18. Both of us were "partiers" and we were traveling in Europe with our parents.
Traveling. In Europe. With our parents.
Venice sparked a romantic mood for my parents so they went out alone leaving my brother and I to entertain ourselves.
We got drunk, we met some Italians and we got drunker.
I started speaking in a unique and utterly make believe language merging English, Spanish and mathematical equations.
[Most of my college friends grew to loathe the math language as it was a harbinger of incoming Jessica doom.]
According to my brother, I was flirting with the Italians in my ever-so-alluring math language and generally spiraling out of control.
My brother, also wasted, tried in vain to get me to go back to the hotel and finally left or lost me, I'm not sure. (He and I have an agreement never to discuss this night.)
Sometime around dawn I realized that I was watching television in a Venetian flat.
Everyone around me was completely naked, though I was dressed.
The film from my camera was pulled out of it's spool and filled my purse with its curly, plastic loops.
I was disoriented.
I did not know the name of a single naked person in the room and I had no idea how to get out of the apartment or back to my family's hotel.
Finding a door out of the apartment took what seemed like ages and, while it was a triumph of its own kind, it left me lost in Venice.
Venice is perhaps the worst place on the planet to be lost.
Every narrow canal, every bridge and every building is deceivingly similar so that you have the feeling you are turning in circles even if you are making progress.
When I eventually made it back to our hotel, I fell sobbing into my mother's arms.
I was unable to speak. I just cried and cried.
I have no idea what happened to me that night. To this day I really don't know.
I can imagine the worst, but I have never had any evidence one way or another.
My mother didn't lecture me.
I remember her simply holding and rocking me.
I vividly remember the look on her face.
It wasn't shock or rage or even disappointment. It was deep concern.
I understood her face this morning. Really understood it for the first time.
How do you protect someone from their own fearlessness and attraction to danger?
My mother has always known me well enough not to try to tell me what to do or how to do it, but she and I are very different from one another.
Like me, The Rooster is a stubborn, strong willed, bull headed girl. There will be no telling her what to do.
I know first hand that she will have to learn life's lessons the hard way -- by falling on her face.
I saw the future this morning as her head lolled from side to side while she slumped in my arms with a half grin plastered on her face.
It is going to be agony for me to watch The Rooster loose control.
I will have to bite my tongue, sit on my hands and remind myself over and over again that this is the way she and I learn and grow.
Monday, March 26, 2007
The Rooster had surgery this morning.