A mother’s life consists of one inescapable thing — waiting, endless and mostly thankless waiting. It starts when your doctor says those magic words, “Congratulations! You are going to be a mother.” You then begin a glorious wait for the first signs of life and to hear the doctor say that everything is fine. Then wait again until your child is born, the suspense is over and you know whether it is a girl or boy. The doctor said, “He’s a healthy, handsome boy.”
Then the waiting starts again. You wait until they allow you to hold him and feed him, filling your eyes and heart. That’s when this little tiny wisp of a boy creeps into your heart, never to leave it until you leave this earth. The day comes when you take him home and start caring for him yourself. You wait again until he first notices things and his eyes follow you about. You wait anxiously until you see that he is normal in every respect — always with a prayer in your heart that he should always be well.
Then one morning you wake and he is sick. You die a little and wait for the doctor to say, “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine in a day or two.”
And so the waiting goes on and one day he has two little teeth. You are thrilled and then you wait until he takes his first steps, scared to death that he’ll fall and hurt himself. You wait until he is trained and taught to do things for himself When he ut- ters his first words you swear he is a genius.
He reaches six — school age. The first day you wait outside the school, crying a little, thinking now he is all grown up, but he really isn’t — not just yet. At this point you get accused of being a possessive mother because you ask endless questions. Does he like his teacher? Does he like his little friends? You wait all through grammar school, sharing all his joys and woes, trying so hard to understand the things that are important to him. Then comes high school, and you wait again hoping he will make good grades and that he will have nice friends and be an all-around good boy. Silently you hope that he will want to go to college. Then that day comes when he goes away to college. Oh God, are you proud. Now he really is a handsome boy — almost a man. You think: that’s my baby?
You go through many anxious moments with him all through his college years, waiting for the results of the previous year. At last he is finished.
Graduation and all is well. My son is ready to face the outside world, and all I could do is hope and wish the best for him. No matter what age he is, if he is near you, you must know that he has returned. So you wait to hear his key in the door knowing that he is home and safe. While you wait your mind flashes back to the first time he went out alone and you were in near hysteria until he came home and you heard him say, “Mom, I’m home!” and it was all of ten o’clock!
This article originally appeared in Roadrunner Extra!, the resident newsletter of Beatitudes Campus.