Help! Is There a Doctor In The House?

“Help! I need Dr. Mom”!

That was a common phrase I used twenty-five years ago, when my children were young. 

When Dr. Mom Was Needed Most

My mom’s first career was nursing.  She was a public health nurse for ten years and a nursing instructor at a community college ten more.  She had moved on to a different career by the time my children were born, but I still depended on her medical knowledge.  Anytime my son or daughter had a cold, fever or some other malady, I would call my mom for advice. She helped me navigate my early years of motherhood.

One incident in particular has become part of our family lore.  

One summer evening, my husband and I were enjoying a nice, quiet dinner.  Our five year-old son and three year-old daughter were playing outside on the patio.  We were happy for a few minutes to ourselves to catch up with each other.  All of the sudden, we heard raised voices, a door slamming, glass shattering and a wail. What in the world?

My husband and I ran into the family room. There was broken glass all over the floor and our son’s arms dripped with blood. Evidently, in the midst of an argument, our son chased our daughter back into the house. She slammed the French doors just as he was entering and his arms went through two of the panes of glass. I grabbed my daughter and sat her on the couch with a stern warning not to move. My husband and I were in shock running to get towels and trying to figure out what to do. Do we call 911? Do we drive to the hospital? When I think back on it, I’m sure we looked ridiculous running around while our son stood in the middle of the room with his bloody arms. At some point I called my mother, who fortunately lived down the street.  She rushed over and immediately brought calm and order to the situation. She took care of our daughter while we took our son to the emergency room. I was so thankful for “Dr. Mom” that day.

Now, almost thirty years later, I really can call her “Dr. Mom”.

Serving The Community

My mom started serving on the Board of Trustees of Florida Southern College in our hometown of Lakeland, Florida in 2008. While both of my parents are now retired, I would identify them as philanthropists. After my grandmother died, FSC built a school of nursing and the building was named in her and my grandfather’s honor. Earlier this year, the college expended the school of nursing, adding a new building and offering new degrees. It’s named after my mom; the Ann Blanton Edwards School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Having a school named after you is pretty cool but Florida Southern College went above and beyond. The college bestowed upon both of my parents Honorary Degrees; Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Now, they are the Drs. Edwards.  They even have lab coats with their new titles embroidered on them.

I was so pleased for my dad.  His college career was interrupted after one year when he decided to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard.  After four years of service, he re-enrolled in college, attending Florida Southern College and the University of Florida.  But then he got married, and a little over a year later I was born.  The demands of being a husband and new father overshadowed his studies and he decided to go to work.  Now, he can say he’s got his degree, and a doctorate no less! 

A Well-Deserved Honor

Needless to say, I am so proud of my mom and dad.  I’m proud of the example of generosity they have shown my entire life.  It’s an honor to officially call them doctor — Dr. Mom and Dr. Dad.

Last weekend, FSC honored them with a tea to present their degrees. It was a lovely afternoon with friends and family. I was especially excited that my son, his wife and my daughter were able to come home for the event. My brother and nephew came too. My mom and dad’s closest friends were all there to help them celebrate and it was a treat to see my mom’s friend who she taught with all those years ago. Congratulations to the Doctors Edwards.

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