Mothers' Days

Posted by: , May 6, 2009 in 6:02 pm

I am the last of my close friends to begin making babies.  Er, in my case…a baby.  Most of my childhood/college friends married in their early twenties and had babies soon after.  Michael and I met in our early twenties, we married in our mid-twenties and when I had Benjamin, I was 32.  Compared to most of my friends, I feel like an old mom.  I’m pushing forty.  Pushing harder now than when I first had my new baby boy.  Speaking of that new baby boy, where is he?  What happened to those chubby wrists?  And, the drool?  Oh, I miss my diaper bag.   

Benjamin had a well-child visit with his pediatrician last week.  He is rarely ill, so we don’t get to see his doctor very often.  The once-a-year well-child visit is it!  Believe it or not, it’s kind of a shame.  Dr. H is very cool.  She’s young.  She’s hip.  And, she gets me.  She isn’t the least bit judgmental.  Or preachy.  She treats Benjamin like he’s an equal–that is, an “adult equal,” not a “medical professional equal.”  A visit to Ben’s pediatrician is like sitting down for coffee with an old friend (okay, okay…this time coffee with an old friend included three immunizations for Ben and some hysterical crying…but you get my point, right?).

So last Wednesday, at the height of Swine Flu Mania, Benjamin and I ventured to his doctor’s office so we could sit for ten minutes while my spine cramped up from trying to avoid touching any of the furniture and contracting H1N1.  While we waited another woman and her son arrived.  Unlike my son, who I was soon going to discover is now 40″ tall, the other mom’s son was 6′ tall.  He was draped in parochial school garb and wore just a hint of teen angst.  When his mom spoke to him he shrugged.  .  He was polite, but far from accommodating.  His mother could not rent so much as an inch of room in that adolescent mind.

I’ll admit right now: last week I was premenstrual.  My hormones were in flux.  So you can probably guess where this post is going, can’t you?

I sat with my four-year-old on my lap, bouncing him up and down like I would when he was one, and two and three-years-old.  I know he is now four-years-old.  It’s not like I could forget.  He tells me everyday.  But, I like to hold him.  I like to bounce him on my lap.  So there we four were:  Dueling Life Stages.  On one side of the waiting room sat a sixteen-year-old boy with his forty-something-year-old mother and on the other side:  Us.  I gazed at that lean, muscular boy dressed in his crisp shirt and tie, his slacks and dress shoes.  I watched his mother fidget with her purse, her phone and her day planner.  In those first few seconds, while they were settling in, everything she said to him seemed like an intrusion.  I looked at my own son, sitting contently on my lap and thought, My God, When do I become a thorn in his side?  When will I be that unwelcome occupant of space in my son’s brain?

As I lapsed into a premenstrual depression, I noticed something.  The boy had begun to talk.  In fact, he began a dissertation about something that happened at school that day.  His tone was emotionally charged and just as he came to the climax of his story, his mother cut him off.  “I’m going to go see if there is a bathroom I can use before they take you back–,” she interrupted, standing up and walking away from him while he stared at her, cut off mid-sentence.  His eyes darted across the room and met mine and then they dropped.  With such a weight of defeat I swore I could almost hear that blue-eyed gaze thud against the carpet.  Something inside of me wanted to stand up and shout, “Ma’am!  Come back here…listen to your son.  He has a story to tell.  It may not be interesting to you, but it means something to him.  It’s important to him.”    By the time she re-appeared he was called in to the office.  Whether or not he ever got to tell his mother his story, I don’t know.

Just as soon as that mother and son duo disappeared, another one arrived.  Same scenario.  Teenage son, forty-something mother.  He was texting.  She was flipping through a magazine.  I sat there with Benjamin on my lap, wishing there was some potion that would slow down time.  I don’t ever want to be that tired, forty-something mom accompanying her teenage son to the pediatrician’s office–a place where boys who look like men, but because of their chronological age, are still required to visit.  I can’t imagine a day when Benjamin will display those mixed emotions–desiring my attention while barely conceding his own.

After our visit to the pediatrician I vowed to make every moment count.  I think we’ve all made that promise to ourselves at one time or another, haven’t we?  We wake up every morning thinking we are going to be the best–the best mom, the best dad.  We are going to pay attention to every word our kid says–every one.  Whether he repeats that story about his Playmobil firefighter and the pirate ship with the sea turtle and the thingy with the dude and the hurricane.  Heard it a million times?  Well…here’s to a million and one.

This year, when I receive those holiday cards from all of my friends–the Snapfish photo collage–I am going to marvel at the maturing faces of those ten, eleven and twelve-year-old kids.  I am going to think back to that sixteen-year-old boy who was starved for his mom’s attention in the pediatrician’s waiting room.  And hopefully, in my Christmas stocking I will find a potion that slows down time.  I need just a little bit more of it.

Michael and Benjamin are out on a secret shopping trip right now.  Maybe I’ll get that secret potion a few months early?  Let’s hope.  Happy Mother’s Day to all you tired, frazzled, hormonal mamas out there!  Now, go give your kiddo a hug!


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