It’s now turned into a waiting game. Today is March 1 and to my family that is particularly important because in March our roles are changing. In March everyone adds a new title to their name. Parents become grandparents, grandparents become great-grandparents, a brother becomes an uncle, a sister becomes an aunt, and a daughter becomes a mom.
The wait is a quiet kind of wait. For all of us with the exception of the expectant mom it is a wait that simmers below the surface. We go about out lives and daily commitments as if the normal weeks will just roll one right into the next. But sometime, ANYTIME, a couple of weeks before or after March 14, our family is entering new territory.
I wish I could tell my daughter that this is the worst of the waiting but it is really just the beginning of it. As a parent, the waiting never really ends. I reach back 28 years to when I was first a parent and think about what I waited for back then. I waited for the nightly feedings to end, for my body to feel like my own again, for a fever to break, and for the teeth to finally pop through those pink little gums. I waited for milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking. I waited for the crying to end and the talking to begin, for nap-time, no more diapers and of course that elusive time to myself.
The years rolled on and I waited for school to start and then for it to end. I waited in school hallways and parking lots, dance studios, ball fields, gyms and friends’ driveways. I waited to hear about slumber parties, birthday parties, school dances and first dates and the results of tests, tryouts, auditions and college applications. I waited for the headlights to shine through the living room windows as a car pulled into the drive just after curfew and for one of hundreds of names to be called during a commencement ceremony.
The college years brought the wait for phone calls and then the wait to hear if the voice on the other end was filled with excitement or despair. I counted the days until school breaks and trips home and waited with anticipation for life decisions to be made, majors to be declared and careers to be started.
Parenting is a waiting game. It is exhausting and exhilarating. It is tedious and fascinating. It fills up the hours, days, weeks and years of your life in a way that you never could have imagined before anyone ever called you mom or dad. Now, I wait for the phone to ring and the familiar voice on the other end to say, “Mom, I think I might be in labor.” I think of the amount of waiting this child of mine now has ahead of her and all I can tell her is that it is well worth the wait.