My 18-year-old son has done some major league adulting the past couple of weeks, tackling challenges that can leave even the most seasoned grown-up looking around in panic for a more adulty adult.
First, he cast his first ever vote by absentee ballot. I always vote, and have always kept my life boring enough that I was sure to be in town on election day, able to go to the polling place. Absentee voting was new to me, but between the two of us we figure out how to get him a ballot. I only helped him with the easy first step.
After he received the ballot, he earned his stars on the chart for grown-up responsibility by researching every candidate and issue before marking his selections. I didn’t realize he would have to get it notarized before returning it. But he figured out how to do this all on his own. This is the kind of thing that can shut down people much older than he is. It makes my heart sing to know that voting is important enough to my offspring that he made the effort to go find a notary by himself. I wonder how many people stop at that point in the process.
His second major bit of adulting involved an injury. He wrecked his bicycle and hurt his wrist. He messaged me a few minutes after the incident, and I urged him to go to the Student Health Center immediately. Once again, I helped him as I could through the first steps, even describing to him what I saw on Google street view to help him find the building. Once he was in the doors, though, he was on his own for the first time handling a medical emergency. I prepared myself to jump in my car and drive 95 miles right away if they wanted to send him on to the hospital. However, they sent him away with an ace bandage and the opinion that it was unlikely he had a fracture.Stymied in my frantic desire to save the day in a motherly way, I hopped on-line and ordered a box of instant cold packs delivered to his dorm overnight.
A few days later, my kid had a follow-up with the health center and they decided he should go get X-rays. They put an actual brace on in the meantime. This was last Friday. He messaged me saying he needed to get it done over the weekend. Again, I pulled on my SuperMom cape only to be told to pack it away. I made plans A, B, C and D for getting together with him and going for the scans at a place covered under our insurance. Then I talked to him on the phone and he was all like “I can do it at the hospital near campus. They have a deal with the school. It’s a flat $35 fee.” Oh.
Did he at least want me to drive down and go over there with him, for moral and logistical support? He didn’t see any reason for it. Oh. He did it. Got himself to the hospital, handled the paperwork and got X-rays done, all on his own. In case you’re curious about what the scan showed, I am, too. He goes back to Student Health tomorrow to find out the results.
I wish I were able to help him more, but can’t say I’m displeased at his level of competence. Whatever happens with grades and school, he’s obviously developing the skills to cope with adult life. But I’m still ready to jump in the car if he needs me.