Being a parent is weird. Everything is going along great. You love your kid and she is growing up, doing amazing things. Then unexpected parenting nostalgia hits. It snuck up on me after a doctor’s appointment that confirmed the ear infection I knew my daughter had two days before at the same doctor’s office, but whatever. The fateful question came as the physicians assistant was writing up the prescription for the magical antibiotic that would allow her and me to sleep through the night. “Do you want liquid or pills?”
I was surprised. My 8 year old could take pills? I mean, we had practiced swallowing M&Ms whole, preparing for this day, but it was really time for pills?
My daughter was ecstatic. She hates the “disgusting pink medicine” and chose pills. I, of course, played the part of the supportive mom. “Oh, wow, you are so big now. I’m so proud of you.” Inside my heart was breaking. The medication of her childhood passed through my mind. I remembered the tiny syringes of dye free cherry flavored Tylenol for late night teething. I recalled how the syringes grew along with her and provided antibiotics, or bubble gum flavored Motrin. The doses increased and we needed the big measuring spoons or cups. Moving to chewable Tylenol, well that wasn’t a big deal but pills? This was it. The final step. Once she took a pill she was effectively a grown up in the medicine taking realm. She’d reached the pinnacle. Sure, she might some day swallow down a handful of vitamins, but plenty of grownups take one pill at a time – like her dad. With no fear or hesitation my daughter swallowed the giant amoxicillin pill and I checked one item off my list of parenting to dos. For the rest of her life she’ll be able to take medicine without my help.
I’ve gotta admit, I cried a bit that night and then did a scavenging hunt through all the nooks and corners of medicine cabinets and closets and bins of random crap. I found all the medication tools from infant until now. I marveled at how far we’d come in 8 years. I remembered the horror of infant wails and never knowing what was wrong and the guilt when I gave her Tylenol. I remembered the endless ear infections. I marveled at how long ago all that was and how quickly time had passed. Finally, with pride, I put all the tools back in the bin of random crap, wiped my eyes, blew my nose, and thought, “Nice work mom. When your kid has a wicked hangover in college she’s not going to need you.” And that’s good.