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  • Writer's pictureKaren

In Case of Emergency

I am that automatic parent.

He sat next to me filling out medical forms and that's when I noticed it.

My oldest and I walked into the oral surgeon's office. He signed in, receiving the paperwork for a new patient. "I'll fill these out." He said to me and proceeded to the seats, clipboard in hand. Yes, you should, I agreed.

These little tests of maturity, filling out medical forms, understanding office procedures, and insurance issues - all part of becoming an adult.

The waiting room held three other clients. A mother and daughter sat opposite my son and me; it was quiet except for the dim volume of the early morning news on the television.

I watched with a sideways glance as he filled out the medical history. Good, good ... that's when I saw it.

In case of emergency contact ____ and he wrote MOM.

It was an automatic response. I am that automatic parent.

Despite my husband's education in medicine, I have seen my boys bypass him in the kitchen and walk directly up to me with a question.


I think I have chest pain - mom.

What is this rash? - mom.

Does this look infected? - mom

Really? I raise my arms in protest. I point at their father - dad is right there!


The endless questions of lost items are directed at me.

Where's my (insert any clothing, school, or personal item here -- you know, because I used your basketball shoes last.) - mom.

Like playing hide and seek, I have watched the boys circle the house, searching in each room, yelling my name - to ask a question.

I am that automatic parent.

They have called, NOT TEXTED, CALLED me on the phone to ask where a food item is (fridge or pantry - if not there - we don't have it, or you already ate it.)

I am that automatic parent.

Oh, trust me, I blame myself. I have been overly available and complicit. I have been there to fix, find, solve, and diagnose. (with my just-enough medical knowledge to freak out or think the worst)

I have always been the - in case of emergency - contact person.

And you know what - I'm ok with that.

When there's an issue at college - I want to know. When there's something they need to discuss - I hope they come to me (and my husband ) first. It's that last link between child and adult.

I'll keep the in case of emergency status as long as I can.

The other people in the waiting room smiled at my son and me. He had realized what he had written. Like sitting in church during the sermon and you get the giggles, we couldn't stifle our laughter.

"You can't just say, MOM. You have to put my real name and my phone number. If the nurse comes out and says, "Mom", everyone would stand up. "

He laughed. "You're right." (yes, I have that written down somewhere with the time and date.)

"But I love that you still consider me your in case of emergency contact," I said.

"Who else would I have put?"

He replied, automatically.

Love and Luck,


Disclaimer: My husband does a ton in our family. He read this post and thought it was appropriate and accurate. :) And for the record, he is my in case of emergency person.


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