Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hard decisions

Today had one of those complicated sets of decisions.  Elli is sick in the sort of way that really could be strep throat but really might just be a cold with a sore throat.  We have a camping trip with a bunch of other folks starting on Friday morning and that camping trip will include canoeing quite a distance into Algonquin Park over the course of four days.  So now we have to face the challenging beast of figuring out if Wendy goes on the trip with her friends and I stay home for the weekend with a sick small person or if we all go and just hope Elli doesn't fall to bits while we are a long way from home.

These sorts of decisions are always trouble for me.  If it is me being sick I can figure it out and just deal with it if I end up guessing wrong - I may fuss a little but it won't be a big deal.  When your child is the one whose health and capabilities you have to evaluate though everything becomes hard and messy.  If I take her and she spends the weekend miserable in the wilderness I will feel terribly guilty.  On the other hand if she and I end up sitting around the house all weekend and she ends up feeling fine I will be super grumpy to have missed out on the lakes and rocks and trees.

I just don't have the data I need.  I am normally really okay with making decisions where I don't know what to do but when the information is sitting right there inside the head of a person I desperately want to extract it.  Accepting that I don't know something is easy, accepting that I just can't quite get the information even though it is *right there*.... argh.  I just need to know how bad the pain is, how it is trending, and how hard it will be to push through it if it comes to that.  In theory the doctor will tell us what is going on prior to leaving but the treatment modality (do nothing, or antibiotics) really doesn't impact my decision much.

This is a thing that is really hard about parenting for me.  I can't treat Elli like an adult and get her to decide because she isn't equipped for that and if she guesses wrong I still have to pick up the pieces.  When dealing with adults I can make them aware of the situation and let them choose, knowing that it is their problem in the end if they screw it up.  That ability to distance myself from problems changes everything.  I very much look forward to the phase of her life where I can be less of a guardian and more of an advisor, when she will choose her own path and cope with her own failures.  Many parents say they have trouble letting go but I suspect I am someone who has trouble grabbing on in the first place.

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