It was toward the end of the Early Bird Special dinner hour and the parking lot was full. But that was for the restaurant next door. This particular lot was almost empty; my ol’ rustbucket van parked close to the medical building where my son was to have a procedure done. I was nervous; he was beyond that and teetering on the edge of hyperventilating. Across the street was the hospital he was born at and spent a small portion of his childhood and teen years. The two brick wings of that building seemed to reach out toward him, encouraging him to come back and stay awhile.
And in a month he would.
Right now though he had a more pressing matter to take care of and it was not going to be pleasant. I wouldn’t be able to stay by his side, holding his hand. All I could do would be to wait in the waiting room of this doctor’s office and listen to muffled sounds coming from the examining room. All I could do was bite my lip until it was sore, ring my hands (and yes, there is such a thing as ringing one’s hands, especially when you’re the parent), and pray–for what, I don’t know. Pray for his pain to go away? For him to be strong? For me not to faint? All I want for him is for all this to stop. But when you’re born with a syndrome that causes various things to happen to your body, it’s on-going. You, as the patient or as the parent, learn to take it like rocky hills among the serene valleys. It’s no longer an adventure, like I used to tell him as a child, but hurdles to overcome.
Oh, but I so wanted instead to take him to that that Early Bird Special next door, even if it was just dry meatloaf and gummy mashed potatoes. Even if we would be the only ones under 70. At least it’d be more normal than this, when many people are finishing up their day and going home, and here my son and I were, going into a medical building where it was so void of patients and staff that our footsteps echoed as we slowly made our way to room number 101.
As we entered the waiting room, my stomach growled. My son smiled and said, “Mom!” I shrugged and smiled back.
After he made it over this hill, we were going to cross that valley of parking lots and enter the blissful world of food.