Parenting books don’t have a chapter on waiting.

They should.

You wait to get pregnant, you wait to give birth, and spend a lot of time waiting for them to go to sleep, only to wait for them to wake up again. You wait outside school gates, on sidelines, and swimming pools.

As the years pass, you wait for that key in the door when they’ve “missed the last bus” and we won’t even go into the unquantifiable amount of time that you wait for them to answer their phones.

But it’s always worth it.

Returning home

I sense before I hear my son’s key turn in the front door as he arrives for one of his irregular and much loved visits home.

My boy, all blonde hair and legs, six foot five inches of perfection. Well, to me anyway.

He catches sight of me waiting at the open kitchen door and makes a move in my direction, realising as he does that he has forgotten his belt and I laugh as he pulls the top of his jeans firmly up, thinking of those innocent days when a small boy running out of the school gate to his waiting mum would notice that he had forgotten his belt and would stop to pull up his pants too.

His smile lights up his face as he bounces over, bridging the weeks since I have last seen him in three long strides.

Kate Durrant

“Hi Mum,” he grins as he drops a kiss on the top of my head and I close my eyes as I grin back, inhaling the moment.

I put the kettle on wondering, as I do, when he became old enough to drink coffee, as he opens the fridge, searching for a custard slice or a sausage roll, knowing that there will be something special there for him, as he grabs the milk so we can make pancakes for lunch.

Flour and sugar

He passes me the two-litre plastic container as I take the flour and sugar out of the cupboard and mix the batter, the kitchen air hazy with flour and familiarity.

Taking his jacket off and throwing it haphazardly onto the couch, he sits down heavily into the kitchen chair that has been his since his little feet could only reach forlornly into thin air, legs not long enough to touch the ground.

He kicks his size 12 shoes off under the table as I pass the first of many thin pancakes to him, which he liberally tops with golden syrup and lemon and sugar before inelegantly tucking in as I lean against the cooker waiting for the next one to brown before flipping it onto his plate, watching him lightly as I do so.

I smile and look instead at the phenomenal growth of my 28-year-old investment

“Remember The Pancake House at Centre Parcs Mum,” he asks as the golden syrup drips down his chin and I ignore my phone calling me, not wanting anything to dilute this precious time as my son and I chat with that wonderful shorthand that only exists between two people who once were one.

Patting his flat stomach in appreciation he shakes his head “no” to my unspoken question of “more” and pushes his plate to one side, as we sit at the table chatting amidst the congealing syrup and screwed up napkins, the debris of the small boy he once was.

Wise investment

I tell him about the dogs and how my begonias are being eaten alive by slugs this year, and he tells me about a game of seven a side with the lads and Crypto currency, although really I am only looking at him and hearing his voice not his words.

“You can show phenomenal growth if you invest wisely,” he says, scrolling though his phone with his free hand excitedly showing me charts and graphs.

I smile and look instead at the phenomenal growth of my 28-year-old investment, thinking of the love I have speculated over the years and how it has repaid me so handsomely, and I reach out to touch his hand and say, “I know, son, I know”.

About Kate

More often heard on RTÉ Radio One getting “A Word in Edgeways”, Kate is excited to be sharing her thoughts with readers of Irish Country Living. Editor of The Muskerry News and Kenmare News, Kate loves dogs, gardening and writing, in no particular order.

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