My youngest daughter left for college seven weeks ago. Though I have not seen her, I have kept in constant contact with her via Skype, text and phone calls. During many of these “contact” sessions, I could tell she was less than thrilled to hear from me probably because I was cutting into her “chillin’” time (apparently chillin’ is what college kids say to their moms when asked what they are up to!).
Sensing I might be making the Skype/text/calls to her a little too often, I promised I would try to restrain myself, even going so far as to say I would wait for her to contact me. Within a matter of hours, however, I had broken my promise much to my daughter’s dismay.
I was beginning to feel devastated a little hurt that she wasn’t as excited to hear from me as I was to talk/text/Skype with her. For days, I whined and moaned to anyone who would listen (usually just the dog) about how my kid didn’t need me anymore, how she would probably never come home to visit, how she would most likely just forget I even existed. Yes, it was all very dramatic and neurotic, and it was all about me, until late one Sunday evening when something wonderful, kind of great, big happened…my daughter was bitten by a spider!
Now, one may not think their child being bitten by a spider is big news, but it was for me, because shortly after it happened I got a frantic text (I knew it was frantic by all the exclamation marks) from my child telling me the thing she fears the most had bitten her finger. She went on to tell me it hurt really, really badly and her entire finger was swelling like a balloon. That news was followed by a text that read “What do I do!!!!!,” causing my heart to sink and sing at the same time.
As I texted her back asking for a photograph of the swollen finger, I thought, she still needs me, and I shamefully admit I smiled a little and sort of wanted to jump up and down. Of course, I did not jump up and down, because this wasn’t about me; this was about my injured child too far away for me to get to quickly. I put on my “mom/doctor/researcher” hat and researched spiders that live in South Georgia. Turns out it is home to both the Brown Recluse and Black Widow and both species’ bites cause a great deal of pain and swelling and can be deadly! At this point, I have now moved to panic mode and no longer find the situation anything to smile about. With the help of my trusted friend Google I located the Mayo Clinic’s website page on what to do if you’re bitten by a spider.
I called my daughter with instructions to wash the area with soap and water and apply ice for the pain and swelling. I also cautioned her that if she were to develop severe stomach pains or a fever she should head straight for the closest emergency room for immediate treatment (the campus clinic was closed)! Then I sat and waited and I texted and waited until I finally thought to call my daughter to ask exactly where she was when she got the bite.
Her response was not at all what I expected. She very nonchalantly answered “I was in the bushes.” Now, if you’re the mom of a teenage girl you can imagine the scenarios playing out in my mind as I shouted into the phone “OMG, what are you doing in the bushes in the middle of the night?!”
“I was on a mission,” she stated rather proudly. The mission she referred to was part of an on-campus game those crazy college kids were playing called Humans versus Zombies; which I learned about from my daughter and on facebook. These missions took place during all hours of the night and my daughter loved every single minute of it right up until the spider got her!
Fortunately, her spider bite was non-lethal and though her finger was swollen and painful for a few days, she made a complete recovery. As for me, I got the reassurance I needed to know that even though my little girl is independent these days, when it comes to spiders, she still needs her dramatic, neurotic mess of a mom.
Oh, and guess what? This past weekend she showed up at my door for a surprise visit. After spending the weekend with her and getting in lots of hugs and kisses, I feel pretty darn confident I can make it until I see her again at Thanksgiving.
Sometimes all it takes is an itsy-bitsy spider to help a crazed mom feel loved.
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