“Is he okay?”
Is there anything more beautiful than the words of a mother? Is there anything more comforting than the words of a mother? Is there anything more patient than the words of a mother? Is there anything more gentle and corrective than the words of a mother? Is there anything more necessary than the words of a mother? The answer is no.
“Is he okay?” I knew my wife as a person before she spoke those words about our son in the delivery room. I knew her as a mother after. Our son James Edward was born on February 1st, 2018, very early in the morning. My wife and I spent hours walking the halls in-between that space where you can’t go home and you can’t labor. We walked the halls up and down and all around. I remember everything about those moments. I had to. It was my job. It was my job because her job was to be the delivery vessel that would bring our son from the ether of non-existence through her soul, spirit, and flesh, and into this world safely at whatever cost to her body and mind the process saw fit. She had the hard job, and was beyond up for it.
Our process to conceive was a long and complicated one. We had a two-year journey to conceive. The process was extraordinarily complex and we were inventing emotions as we floated through the fever dream of ecstasy and heartache. The need for IVF was on me as I regrettably had a vasectomy after my third child from my first marriage. It should be said here that to this day my wife has never once negatively spun anything that I brought to our marriage table. My wife has only delivered love, sacrifice, and hard work. Our agreement that we made in our first week of dating was this, she had to accept that we may not be able to conceive and I had to accept that we may be able to conceive. This made sense to us. For the record, I have remained in awe of this woman since the day I met her. Her son James feels the same way. He may be 19 months old… but we talk.
My wife sent me this text today: “What’s the first thing I said after James was born? I think I said, ‘is he okay,’ but I can’t really remember, so I wanted to ask you.” My response: “Oh yeah, it was, but it was how you said it.” I began to simmer with emotion. I was right back in the delivery room. My right hand still squeezing my wife’s calf muscle, leaving an imprint of my hand on her swollen leg complete with fingerprints. My left hand reaching for the table with my son on it, unable to speak. I was full of fear. My continued response: “You said it like his mother. Your first words as his mother were ‘is he okay,’ amazing.” No regard for anything other than the baby boy she just delivered. My wife was now in the club. Mothers. The chosen vessels of mysterious creation. Every single person you see on this planet was delivered through the one-way door of motherhood at great cost, at great expectation, at great joy, and at times great suffering.
Every single thing about having our son James was a challenge in the most beautiful way. I watched in awe as my wife delivered our son into this world. I know the room was full of other people, but they were all just helping her deliver her son here safely. Once he came out and was whisked to his table I leaned into my wife’s face and said, “I love you,” “I love you,” “you did great.” She looked at me and said, “is he okay,” and I got to tell her the news, my hands still clinging to her body. I said, “yes.” She then replied, “well, go see.” That was the first time we parented our born son together. What an honor to be guided by such a woman, by such a mother.
So yes honey, he is okay. He is okay because you are his mother.