I worried about all the wrong things.
I thought about your birth. I was afraid it would hurt. Okay, I knew it would. But I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle it, that I’d need the drugs. I was afraid I wouldn’t be present in the moment or worse, the drugs would mess you up. My perfect little baby. I didn’t want you coming out all loopy and disoriented. I worried you wouldn’t look like an Oliver. After all these months of imagining you as an Oliver, what if you came out and the name didn’t fit? Where would we be then?
I was afraid of tragedies down the line. That you’d get sick. That I wouldn’t be able to take care of you. That you’d want to play sports and end up hurt. That you would get into trouble as a teen and we’d fight and not understand each other. That you would grow up and move away and have your own life and I would miss you. I was afraid that, eventually in some distant time far away, I’d lose you.
I was never worried that your heart would stop beating while you were still inside of me. I was never afraid you’d be gone before I had a chance to hold you, a chance to hear you cry, a chance to see you blink.
What a false sense of security I had. You and I made it past the all important twelve week mark. We breezed past twenty weeks. At every check up the midwife said, “He couldn’t sound any better. What a healthy baby.”
My healthy baby.
One day you were here, pushing up against my ribs, testing my patience because I wanted you out. I wanted you in my arms and you seemed to be stubbornly adhering to your due date. And then, just when I was sure I’d be meeting you so soon. You were gone. You were in my arms finally, but not the way I wanted.
And now I worry. Constantly. I worry it was something I did. Or didn’t do. I worry that you felt alone in there. I worry you were scared. I worry that I felt it happen and I had no idea.
I worry I will forget, that I won’t remember the last time I felt you move. I worry I’ll forget what you looked like when I held you, with your lanky arms and those feet, your long toes just like mine. I worry I didn’t hold you long enough, didn’t take advantage of the little time we had together.
I’m afraid that time will move forward, taking me farther and farther away from you. I’m petrified that time will stand still, and I’ll never move on.
I worry, again, about all the wrong things. Only now I know something, something I knew then but refused to believe. All the worrying in the world won’t change a damn thing. Worrying does not grant you control over a thing, it does not guarantee you a positive outcome. My worrying did not protect you then, and it will not bring you back now.
But still, I worry. I’ll never stop worrying about you Oliver. You’re my son after all. What is a mother’s job but to worry always about the child she loves so much.