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A Thank You Letter To My Pediatricians

Today I accompanied my son to the pediatrician for his annual checkup. My son drove us there, filled out the required paperwork, and presented his own health insurance card. This child of mine is almost 20 years old. I simply came along to keep him company.

As I sat alone in the waiting room surrounded by so many moms and dads with their young children, my son was seeing his pediatrician in a room down the hall without me. It dawned on me this was most likely the last time I would be here with my him. At 20 years old, my son has outgrown this brightly colored office filled with toys and picture books and Highlights magazines.

In that moment I realized how grateful I am to these doctors who have helped care for my children. Who’ve seen my kids (and me) at some of our bleakest moments. Who’ve watched them grow and have shared my pride in all they have accomplished over these many years.

So I wanted to say thank you to my children’s pediatricians.

Thank you for suggesting, all those years ago, that I feed my preemie son a few ounces of milk before you weighed him.

You understood that this terrified new mom, with her tiny and frail baby, desperately needed a win. And those extra couple of ounces on the scale qualified as a significant win during those difficult days.

Thank you for knowing when to assure me that my children’s symptoms were nothing to worry about, and for calmly letting me know when it was indeed time to worry.

You knew when to refer us to specialists, coordinated our children’s care and helped us navigate some unexpected and very frightening hospital stays.

Thank you for letting me be my children’s voice.

The fact that you trusted my instincts empowered me as a mother. It gave me the confidence I needed during those earliest years, when I often doubted myself and my parenting. You answered so many of my questions over the years. And in this way I learned to be a more informed advocate for my children.

Thank you for knowing when it was time to let my kids speak for themselves.

You bolstered their growing autonomy, helped give them a sense of control over their lives and increased their awareness of their own well-being.

Thank you for reminding my kids to use their seatbelts, wear their helmets, take their vitamins, apply sunscreen, and so much more.

I said these same things to my kids so many times over the years I lost count. But hearing it from you made them take it more seriously.

Thank you for that day, not long ago, when you gently asked me to leave the room so you could speak to my teenager alone.

I could see in your eyes it was as hard for you to ask that of me as it was for me to leave. But you understood how important it was to create an independent relationship with this young adult, a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.

Thank you for helping these children of mine transition into adulthood.

You’ve seen to it that they understand the importance of self-care and living a healthy lifestyle and you taught them to take an active role in their own health. In truth, you educated and cared for your patients and their parents alike, and we are truly grateful for having had you in our lives.

Cheryl Gottlieb Boxer

Cheryl Gottlieb Boxer resides in New Jersey, where she micromanages a husband, her teenage children, and a confounding cockapoo. Her writing has appeared in The Mighty, Grown and Flown, Her View From Home, Kveller, Parent Co., Motherly, Sammiches and Psych Meds, and CollegiateParent. You can follow Cheryl at www.facebook.com/nosickdaysformom and on her blog atwww.cherylgottliebboxer.com.