Most children tend to regress a bit in their behavior when they emerge from an anesthetic after surgery. Your typical 9 year old behaves like a 5 year old. Your 15 y/o like an 8 y/o, or thereabouts. Given the speed with which we need to work in a modern OR setting, I seldom get to observe this for very long anymore. However, one day this past week things were slow enough that I got to watch several of these kids being held by their mothers. I always tell moms ahead of time to expect this temporary regression. That they should expect their 10 year old, who has been trying to act like an 18 y/o for the last year or two, to want to be held like they are a little kid again. Watching closely, I noticed a couple of the moms crying. Of course, I had to ask why and I was told that it just felt good to really be needed. They were able to hold their kids, and be held back, like they were small again. One mom said she wished she could come back and do this every week.
She can’t, and I think that is mostly for the better. I am inclined to take the fatherly, conditional love approach to kids. I expect them to grow up to be independent, to not need me. I hope they come back and that I can continue to offer advice or help in some way, but if my kids are forever dependent, I will think something went wrong. That said, the looks on the faces of those moms was priceless. I have to confess that a little part of me would also like to be able to hold, even if just for a few minutes, that small child I remember so well.