Naushena is a teacher on hiatus and a mother. Poetry writing is her passion through which she expresses her feelings and emotions. She also writes essays but publish them sporadically. Her work has appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review besides , Five Poetry, Boston Literary Magazine, Mamalode, Mothers Always Write, EXPOUND and is forthcoming in few others.
Waiting; a Mother’s prerequisite
Its 12:00 pm. I am sitting alone in the terrace of my house. It’s dark and quiet with no sound except for a distant barking of a dog. The cold breeze is making my nose colder. As I look up, I see the stars shining down to me. My husband is very late today, he has not taken the keys as usual and I am waiting for him. Though I am up since early morning, though I badly want to sleep yet I chose to stay awake so that my teenage children can sleep as they have their school tomorrow. I am waiting so that as soon as I see his car, I can press the gate open so he does not ring the doorbell and disturb their sleep. In these one and a half hours I have travelled back to their childhood.
This waiting is a unique element of motherhood. I just realized that we mothers are prone to it and waiting becomes a part and parcel of our lives long before we become mothers. Waiting for the baby to arrive, waiting to see his face, to hold him, waiting to hear them say ‘mama’, waiting for his first tooth, waiting to start weaning and walking, to see him ride a bicycle, waiting for his first day of school, for his result, then college, then wedding and the list goes on and on but the wait has no ending.
The way mothers do it with such aplomb is so sweet and wonderful. It’s exemplary. Have you ever realized that you kept sitting on the school bench at home time waiting patiently to see your child’s happy face, to greet him as he comes out of his class? Or if your kids are late for home, you get restless and take innumerable rounds of the gate? Even when you feel hungry, you wait to have lunch with them. If there is a test in class or a contest you keep waiting and thinking till your child arrives home and tells you the news, don’t you?
No one in the world can wait longer than a devoted mother. Waiting teaches us patience. Many times just before leaving a park you must have waited for your child when he had asked for a last turn on the swings (though never the last one) How lovingly just to make him happy you must have nodded. You stay cool as a cucumber. Sometimes you feel that you are not a human because you are ethereal. You are an embodiment of waiting and motherhood teaches you that in a subtle way.
There was a time I hated waiting. It would just make me irate but now when I look back, I feel that I am a different person. When my children were small, and we would take them to our club for swimming, I would sit there watching, in case they needed me to supply a towel or water or merely tighten their goggles. I’d wait for the time to get over. Because of this waiting I was able to witness their gestures of pride and confidence when they learnt a stroke or two and encouraged them. Will you believe if I tell you that for fourteen years I didn’t enter the Gymnasium though it was in the same club! Because I would stay with my kids where ever they went, on the swings, to the cricket field, roller skating rink etc. not hovering but watching them from a distance not to impede.
There were many children and I didn’t want any mishap to happen again. As once I had left my elder son on the slide with my husband and taken my daughter to the snacks bar. Within few minutes, my husband came with my son having a big bump on his forehead for he had fallen off the slide. Since that day, I never relied on him. I wasn’t overprotective, I was just, well may be, over cautious. I think all mothers are. From carefree girls we transmute into prudent women. So when all three were big enough and my daughter turned fourteen, I set foot in the Gym. When she asked,
“Mama, why didn’t you join the Gym before?”
I replied, “Because I was waiting for you guys to grow up.”
For a moment I felt that I was too late, that I wasted many years of life. There was a feeling of regret too that I could’ve made more friends, I should’ve given time to tone my body and learnt few things but then that feeling was overpowered by another one; the feeling of satisfaction that at least I gave ample time to my kids by being there.
Now I stay home as I am on hiatus from teaching, I wait from morning till afternoon for my children to return home. At this stage, there isn’t enough work to do for they are old enough to keep me occupied. Sometimes I miss those days when I was busy with the hullabaloo of mothering. From a rollercoaster ride it has come to a serene phase with occasional ripples in the water. While I sip coffee in the evenings sitting alone, I wait for my kids to come out of their rooms or finish their projects to talk to me because a mother’s wait never ends.