My favorite Allen-Michael story happened when he was two-and-a-half-years-old and had just earned a "big boy bed". Shortly after his induction into big boy-hood, Allen-Michael asked if he could have a candle on his nightstand. I said, "We can try it, if you promise not to touch it."
So I left a small, lit candle beside his bed that night instead of turning on his night light. Looking back I'd have said this was a really stupid move on my part because of the fire danger, and the fact that Allen-Michael could have hurt himself. But because of who Allen-Michael had shown himself to be up until that point, I took the chance.
For the first several nights I would kiss him goodnight, remind him of keeping his hands away from the candle, then leave the room. A few minutes later I would creep back down the hall and check to be sure he was "being good". I did this several times during the initial nights I allowed him to have the candle on his night stand.
Do you know what I would see every time I looked in on him? I would see Allen-Michael quietly staring at the light. He would just watch the flame until his eyes got so heavy and he fell asleep. I can still remember the way the light cast a glow over his face...
Last summer, when we knew Allen-Michael's semester in Rome was an impending reality, I decided it would be a smart idea on our part to get Tom's passport updated and to get one for myself. As much as I would like to say it was because we thought we'd go abroad to visit him, that wasn't the case. We got the passports just in case there was a problem. In case Allen-Michael needed one of us, we could go as quickly as possible.
The passports were (in my mind) insurance that he would be totally fine while he was studying abroad from September through January.
Which, for the most part, has indeed been the case.
Except for the times when he's called us to let us know he wasn't feeling well. And to tell us of the symptoms he's been suffering with, on and off, for days at a time. And to tell us he needed to go to the doctor (on more than one occasion).
Do you know Dallas, Texas is FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED MILES from Rome, Italy?????????? And that I am deathly afraid to fly across water (thanks to that stupid movie with Tom Hanks, Cast Away).
Man, it's hard when your kiddo (who is taller than you, outweighs you, and has an awesome head on his shoulders) calls to say he's been hurting. I don't care if your child is one, or eleven, or twenty-one-years old...you just want him to come home and to do whatever you can to make him feel better.
The picture of Allen-Michael at the beginning of this post was taken by a friend of his as they toured a Roman Catholic cathedral in September. I happen to believe my son has a "stronger than most" connection with God. I've seen it working, both in and through his life, especially over the past few years.
Because of this I am making the conscious choice to have complete faith in his intuition.
Which is not easy. My mom-gut has been telling me for a week now he should get on the next possible flight to the States. Allen-Michael says he is feeling better now...and all that keeps going through my mind is: Could this a brief reprieve so he can get home? Think about how difficult it would it be for him to travel while he is feeling so ill? That's IF he can travel at all!
It's one of those situations where I realize how little control I have. And how important it is to be able to rely on faith when I don't know what might happen next.
It's a good thing for you Allen-Michael that your mom has a lot of faith in your ability to handle not only yourself, but at trusting your own instincts...if I didn't, I'd be on the next plane headed to Rome!