Almost six years ago, I wrote:
My baby came home. O.k., as a third-year medical student, he isn’t technically a baby. He isn’t even technically my baby as three younger sisters arrived after him. And he only came home for four days. But any mother reading this knows what I’m feeling.
There seems to be so little I can do for my children now that they are grown. It filled my heart to be able to cook his favorite meal, prepare his bed with clean sheets and pick him up at the airport. Forgotten is how tiring it was to prepare nutritious meals every night, to do constant laundry (though from about the age of nine my children were responsible for their own clothing) and to be the on-call chauffeur. Also forgotten (almost) is the exhaustion of sleepless nights when he was an infant, the disgust at his joyful eating of slugs in the back yard as a toddler and even my fright and annoyance when as a teenager he almost drove my car off a cliff.
At least when he was younger I could take care of him. I could nurture the illusion that I could keep him safe. For a few precious years my kiss or hug cured most ills; my attention fed most needs. Even later, when my touch wasn’t quite as magical, I could welcome his friends to our house and expose him to books, various skills and nature. Not so today. As much as I would like to smooth his path, I cannot produce his soul mate. I would do more harm than good by contacting the powers-that-be and explaining to them why he will make a fabulous doctor and they should give him his first choice of residencies. I can’t spare him the pain of maturing or save him from his, altogether human, mistakes.
I do what I can. First and foremost is prayer. A distant second comes grabbing whatever opportunities I have to feed and nurture him. For which I am most grateful for the past few days.
The third-year medical student was accepted to the residency of his choice, finished that training and is into his second year of serving in his specialty. There remained little I could do to ease his way over that grueling path.
His soul mate didn’t show up quickly. To our delight, she did appear, though as the young couple lives thousands of miles away, we don’t see them as often as we wish. When my husband was invited to speak for a wonderful business located near our children, we joyously accepted. This past Shabbat, our son and daughter-in-law graciously welcomed my husband and me into their home.
Our son has been grown-up for a long time now. His choice of career means that many times a week he makes decisions that severely affect people’s lives. His father and I have been in awe of his maturity. What a thrill it was to see our lovely new daughter join him, care for him and cherish him and he, her. I’m still praying, but now it is for two, not one. And while we enjoyed having them as guests a few weeks ago, there was a special pleasure in being the guests ourselves, for which I am most grateful.