I’m not a parent, but my ability to empathize is pretty good. With that said, I’m continually impressed by mothers. For nine months they’re carrying this child inside them, which distorts their figure, loses them sleep and in just about every single way makes life a chore. Then the mother has to endure labor, which – if watching the birth of my niece is any indication of a typical birth – is an event that defies belief. Excruciating pain. Strangers touching you in the most intimate of places. The lower half of your body covered in sweat, blood and excrement. It’s like you’re no longer human and instead have become an oddity to be poked and prodded. Or maybe I’m wrong and this is when you feel most human and beautiful and glorious. I don’t know. I can only speak as a man watching the spectacle. I do know that it doesn’t look like a walk in the park.
What impresses me the most about the miracle of birth, is that it’s such a huge sacrifice on the part of the mother for someone she doesn’t even know yet. Sure, she’s built an idea of the person the child will become, but in the end, the mother can only hope the child turns out alright. Lately, I’ve wondered if I turned out alright in my mother’s eyes.
She had a medical scare recently. It was the first real, life-threatening attack my immediate family has experienced. With Death suddenly jumping out from the wings and taking center stage, I find myself focusing more on my relationship with Mom. Now I’m not so naive to have thought that she’d be around forever, but I didn’t think she’d be gone so soon.
I’ve done my best not to live my life for anyone or anything, but I think I can compromise a little now and live my life in such a way that makes my mother proud. If I can succeed in doing that, then my life will not have been wasted.