I’ll Wait for You {Tales from a Preemie Mom}


There’s something I think every good mom knows.

That moment, in a busy crowd or in an open field, when your children stop where they are, turns and looks for you. For you. No one else. You.

Sure, their love is plentiful for others but that moment is always just for you. As they grow, the looks may become glances but they never cease. But our fear that it will never stops. As infants, it was the tone of your voice they searched for, then as their vision became clearer, it was your tangible presence. I watch my 8 year old twins with their subtle glances even now.

They need to know where I am.

I was terrified of my youngest child when he was born. This little 1lb, 2.8 oz, 10 inch long mighty River would surely hate me. Born 4 1/2 months too soon, his eyes were fused shut for over a week after he was born; I was glad because it meant I didn’t have to look into them and beg his forgiveness. It didn’t matter that I had nothing to be sorry for, I had done everything I could to prevent prematurity. Yet, in my mind, I had everything to be sorry for. I didn’t protect him, I couldn’t protect him. Not sure which was worse. Every time he would lose his breath, I would lose mine too. He wasn’t growing well nor was he able to digest formula or breastmilk.  I’d never before been so willing to trade places with somebody. But impossibility overshadowed my willing heart. He had to endure.

My words to him were always the same:
“Come on, River, I’ll wait for you. It’s ok.”

These days, River is into keeping up with his  brother and sister. He runs as hard and fast as he can to catch up to them, like today on the exercise trail. Reese and Riley were yards ahead of us and River took off. He ran and he ran and he ran. Then at the moment I thought he would turn, he didn’t. I held my breath, heart sunk, bittersweet at the thought of him forgetting to look for me.

Was this it?

Then he stopped.
He froze.
He turned until his eyes found me.
His little hand shot up.
He waited.
He spoke.

“Come on, Mama. It’s ok. I wait for you.”