I really thought I’d be writing this while hanging out on the OBGYN floor at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital awaiting the arrival of one Malcolm Edmund Guinn. In case you’ve not picked up on it in previous blogs, my daughter Kathryne and her husband Dennis are expecting their first child any day now. Literally, any day now. She actually thought it was going to be Tuesday night, so I made my mental list of things to take (iPad, books, computer, etc.) so I could be productive and not bored while waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Unfortunately, all that preparation was in vain. To say she was annoyed would be putting it mildly. Kathryne had caught a glimpse of the bright light at the end of her nine month tunnel . . . and then Malcolm turned it off.
When he does finally decide to show up, my little Kathryne’s role in life is going to change; she’ll be adding “mother” to her resume. In recognition of that fact, her husband has already purchased her first Mother’s Day present ever, and where she normally can figure out what he’s bought before she ever opens it, this time she doesn’t have a clue. Except that it’s metal. Over supper last Sunday, she was asking if she still got her present even if Malcolm wasn’t here yet, ‘cause even if he isn’t here, he’s still technically here. Just not where they can see him. So I guess, if we’re speaking technically, Kathryne is already a mother.
She’s been begging for a decent night’s sleep for the last few weeks, ‘cause anyone who has ever been pregnant knows that’s a thing that does not come easily as you near the end. I assured her she could have that . . . in about 18 years. Truth be known, there is no time in life when a mother is not concerned for her child or children, no time where sleepless nights are banished forever—at least not until her rest becomes permanent. And even then I’m not so sure . . .
Fast forward through the cycle of life, and you’ll find our office secretary, Robin Kenney, who is preparing to lay her mother, Minnie Welch, to rest this Friday. Given the circumstances, I’m not going to say Minnie’s departure was inevitable, but it was a distinct possibility. It’s just that no one thought it would be now. True to form, she caught everyone by surprise one last time. And even though her life had been long and the coming weeks and months would have been extremely difficult had she survived, that doesn’t make it one bit easier to say goodbye. As Robin stated in her Facebook post announcing her mother’s death, “I know you are with daddy now. But I was not ready for you to go.”
There is a bond that forms between a mother and her child, a bond which—for good or ill—remains for all time. From the child’s perspective, there is safety and comfort, compassion and acceptance to be found in their mother’s arms, a gentleness to her touch that is reassuring and protective. And for that mother? There will be all-consuming love and sacrifice coupled with worry and joy, with fear and relief . . . and every emotion that falls in between. For in the cycle of life, that child will always be her child—and she will always be their mother. It is a bond that cannot be broken. A bond that survives even Death.