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Parental epiphanies

I forget that I’m a parent more often than you’d think. Not because I’m neglecting Rowan, but because it’s such a natural part of my identity now. Changing diapers has become second nature, and playing peekaboo is part of my daily routine. Nonetheless, there are still some moments that can’t help but remind me that...

I forget that I’m a parent more often than you’d think. Not because I’m neglecting Rowan, but because it’s such a natural part of my identity now. Changing diapers has become second nature, and playing peekaboo is part of my daily routine.
Nonetheless, there are still some moments that can’t help but remind me that I’ve recently acquired this important new descriptor. Like when I look down and realize I’ve been walking around with sweet potato crusted on my belt for who knows how long. Or when I have to explain to friends who don’t have kids that my entire schedule now revolves around Rowan’s nap times.
But the biggest reminder so far happened the other week when I learned our favorite pediatrician was no longer with the practice. The receptionist let me know in order to reschedule Rowan’s 1-year appointment. I was in such shock that I blindly agreed to a new appointment time without realizing it wouldn’t work with his nap schedule.
It felt like a member of our extended family died. I relayed to a friend how silly I felt over my reaction, pointing out that she’s not dead, she’s just not there anymore. To which Laura helpfully pointed out, “Well she might as well be dead since you’ll never see her again.” Touché.
It’s fitting then that I’m going through the five stages of grief. The first day was filled with denial; I hoped when I called to reschedule and fix my mistake that the receptionist would say, “She’s back! Your original time slot with her is still on!”
Then when reality set in, I became angry. How could she do this to her patients? She didn’t even give us a chance to say goodbye!
Bargaining came along swiftly, giving me hope that maybe she moved to a different practice and I could track her down. So far, no such luck, which has led me to the depression stage.
I’m hopeful that acceptance will set in once we have Rowan’s 1-year appointment. That I’ll find all of the things I loved about our departed pediatrician—kindness, patience, sensitivity and understanding—are also true about her successor.
I’m aware of how ridiculous it seems to be upset over such a small thing. I wouldn’t be this distraught if my primary physician left, or any other doctor for that matter. But this loss feels stronger than others—perhaps, because she saw me through and cheered me on for (most of) Rowan’s first year, which is also coming to a close.
The next year will involve many changes, and I guess our pediatrician will be just one of them.

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