Thursday, July 26, 2007

hope the wait is almost over

Continuing that previous train of thought...

There are certainly times that I wish I had waited a bit longer to become a momma. We were definitely not ready to have children, although I have to question most anyone's readiness for children. Is anyone ever really ready? However, we were certainly not well-prepared.

Newlyweds without a penny to our names, we already had enough on our plates, what with trying to control my husband's epilepsy and his inability to work when that failed.

I never even held a baby before the boy was born, much less ever changed a diaper or warmed a bottle. As with most everything else in my life, I was depending on a book to provide me with the knowledge I needed because my pride certainly wouldn't allow me to ever ask for help.

I wish we had been in a position to allow me to stay home with him after he was born. As it was, I worked on Friday, went into the hospital on Monday and he was born on Tuesday. I can't recall exactly when I went back to work, but I had a C-section and remember having been back at work a couple of weeks before having to take a day off to go have the staples removed.

It seemed as though every day I came home from work to discover I had missed out on a "first" — his first real smile, the first time he rolled over, the first time he held his head up. Luckily, I was able to catch his first word and even his first step. I liked to think he had saved those precious moments especially to share with me. I know that sounds silly, but hey, it made a tired momma feel better.

I never quite recovered from the pregnancy, which finally led to a hysterectomy when the boy was six. It was awfully hard to enjoy those early years. Seems as though life at the time was a blur as I was constantly working, snatching quality time with the boy when I could, my uterus clenched in contractions the whole time.

By the time he was five months old, it was clear one job just wouldn't cut it, no matter how many extra hours I worked, it wasn't enough. I was able to pick up another job that paid pretty well and was just down the road from the house, but the schedule was horrendous and left little time for enjoying motherhood.

My "day" began with an alarm clock going off around 9 p.m. Jump up, throw on some black jeans and a white tee-shirt, brush my teeth, pull my hair up in a pony tail and tie on my little black apron. Steal a few minutes to chat with the husband while cuddling the boy. Dash out the door, jump in the car by 9:30 in order to get to the diner in time for my shift to start at 10. Those were the longest nights — waiting tables, manning the grill, washing dishes and cleaning toilets, but the tips were great. My shift ended at 6 a.m., which allowed me to be home by 6:30, just as the boy was waking up. Most mornings he would already be awake when I got there, quietly amusing himself in his crib, waiting to greet me with a grin. I would feed him his breakfast and then either bathe him while I took my bath or, if I had to wash my hair, he'd sit in his carrier in the bathroom floor babbling and giggling along as I sang (rather out of tune I must add) or made up stories. After that it was off to the kitchen to wash the bottles and jars and mix up the formula and cereal and baby food combinations for the day. As soon as that was done, we'd go lay on the bed, my husband reaching over in his sleep to hold us both.

Gotta sleep fast though — the alarm clock would go off again at 9:30 a.m., time to get up, throw on whatever I could find and race up the road to the little gas station where I ran the register and stocked the shelves from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., at which time I got to go home and fall back in the bed until the 9 p.m. wake up call. Six days a week, Monday night until Sunday morning. Sunday mornings would come around and I'd do the weekly shopping and spend all day as momma until it was time to go to sleep late Sunday night. Wake up for a few hours Monday morning and then sleep all I could before that alarm went off. I only lasted a couple of months at that pace until I had to give up the gas station hours, but I missed out on a lot during those months.

Over the years, my hours became more manageable, sticking to 8-hour shifts six days a week, except for the winter months when the seizures worsened and I'd work an extra 5 hours or so every day to try to make up the lost wages. And all the while, the boy was growing, changing and waiting for momma to come home or for her to wake up or for her to feel up to going outside or getting in the floor to play.

By the time the boy was five I'd managed to find a regular 8-5 job. Damn shame he had started school by then and had to be in bed by 8 or 8:30, just a few hours after I got home. By the end of first grade I was working for the paper, excited at the idea of having a more flexible schedule and the ability to take him with me on assignments. Damn shame I was busy taking pictures of other people's children and he was busy being quiet as momma interviewed people. By the time he was in fourth grade I was the editor and he had grown used to being "the newspaper lady's son".

My boy turned 11 in June and will be going into sixth grade, his first year at the middle school. By now he has grown used to spending Tuesday nights at the office as we get the paper to press, to Saturday fish-fries and auctions and dinners. He knows that every other Monday night momma probably won't be home until long after he's gone to bed because she has to cover a commissioners meeting. He knows that she will miss Tuesday night ballgames because of deadlines and that she will most likely not get home any other night before 6 or 7. And so my boy waits. He waits for his momma to come home from work or for her to wake up or for her to feel like going outside or getting in the floor to play.

With any luck, his stepfather will be offered this job next week and by the first of November, just as the winter months begin, the boy's wait will be over and his momma will come home from work, catch up on her sleep and be ready to play.


  1. Thanks for sharing that story. I had wanted to know more about your life in the past but was worried about prying.

  2. Oh, my. That made me sit very still and just read for awhile with my heart in my mouth.

    You have given up so much to provide for your little boy (and many times, just to make ends meet, it sounds.)

    I'm very impressed. Mostly because you have so little rancor or bitterness, you just keep moving. I so wish that our president could see women like you.....