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Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Always a parent

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Hollie Grimaldi Flores

I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, one of my greatest grievances (of which I have a few) around the lack and misinformation bestowed upon me by my parents (either outright or by summation) was the foolish notion that parenting ends when the offspring come of age.

Turning 18 or graduating from high school, in my upbringing, was equated with the end of dependency and support – or at least that is how I remember it. My high school graduation present from my parents was luggage. Though it was a thoughtful gift I used that very night, the message behind it was clear. Time to move on, little bird.

In no way did the example my parents set prepare me for the never-ending job parenting has turned out to be for me. I may be holding on too tightly … who’s to say? Regardless, the outcome does not change. I am always going to be invested in my children and will always be there to offer my support.

That is, often, easier said than done. The delicate balance between sharing wisdom and badgering can be a fine line. I sit back and listen. I watch. I encourage. I offer suggestions. Sometimes the advice is taken with gratitude. Often, it is ignored or placated.

And that is okay. I raised them to be free thinkers and independent spirits. Certainly, they need to make their own mistakes, create their own memories, and forge their own paths. I am good with that. I know the love we have for one another is incomparable. The mother/child bond is deep and everlasting.

Recently I experienced both the joy and the pain that comes with parenting, or, as author Elizabeth Stone wrote, “to have your heart go walking around outside your body,” in just over 24 hours. It began with a knock on my front door where a bouquet of flowers had been left. My daughter had them delivered simply as a thank you for being her mom. How incredibly sweet and considerate, I thought, and what a pleasure to have raised this kind of person. Joy.

The following morning my telephone rang and seeing her number pop up I answered only to hear sobbing on the other end of the line. I quickly began running through the gamut of possibilities (a breakup, a death, an injury, etc.) as I asked, “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” She was finally able to tell me she had been in a car accident and was okay but badly shaken. Pain.

On my list of worst phone calls to receive, this is in the top five. I was immediately relieved that she was able to call me, and I did my best to calm her.

She sent a photo showing me the extensive damage to the Toyota Corolla that has been in the family since 2006. It was obviously totaled. She lives in Sacramento and was driving to work when an older gentleman either failed to stop at a stop sign or thought she had one also, and proceeded to drive directly in front of her, causing a major collision. She had already exchanged insurance and other information with the other driver whom she described as a kind older man who was visibly shaken as well, and then called me.

I offered to drive down to help. She lives a mere hour away and frankly, I wanted to see her for myself. She was clearly running on shock and adrenaline, and I knew both would wear off soon enough. At first, she declined the offer. Her boyfriend was there to help, but soon she felt overwhelmed and admitted that having a little Mom support to walk her through the process would be most welcome. The vehicle needed to be towed, but to where? Should she go to the hospital? Did she call her insurance company or the party at fault?

I can’t honestly say I knew the answer to all the queries, but I knew some tender loving care was in order. I quickly put other obligations aside and told her I was on my way.

Living in our little borough, I often take for granted how easy some things are here. For instance, we (as a community) get upset when traffic backs up to more than a half dozen cars. When an accident occurs, we expect the police to respond and file a report. When we need a tow, we expect a short wait.

That was illuminated once I picked up my daughter, (who had Ubered back to her apartment) after the police reported there was no need for them to respond. We worked our way through city traffic back to the scene of the accident where her boyfriend sat waiting for the tow truck. It was 111 degrees. It took a full four hours before a beleaguered, but kind man pulled up in his truck. We said a sad goodbye to the little Toyota that had carried us on countless adventures and moved on to the next order of business.

One of the positive aspects of city living is a plethora of medical facilities and we were able to have her accessed in an hour. She is bruised and has some muscle strain and is still awaiting x-ray results, but, ultimately, she is going to be okay.

By nightfall, I left them to settle in and made my way back home

Today, a very sore young woman is getting back to living her life. The reality, inconvenience, and trauma are hitting full force. I am putting together a list of helpful suggestions to assist her as she navigates this largely unknown territory, because I am her mom, and that is what I do.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at http://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com

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