I Am Still Waiting for and on My Daughter
by Joan Leotta

For the past forty years
I have been and still am waiting
for and on our daughter,
excitedly, hopefully, with awe and wonder.
From the first day of knowing she was growing
Inside me, I dreamt about her,
how much she would love me,
my husband and our family.
Fraught times, waiting, lying on the floor
prying by her bed all night listening to her breathe
when she fought pneumonia,
it was hard to see the joy of waiting
listening to her cry when hurt, or angry
waiting for the right moment to
comfort her—these times were harder waits.
Her growing up, leaving home gave new
things to wait for— times
when she visits, when she calls,
and those large blocks of time
when we’re not with her.
Every day brings some excitement,
some new reason to choose to anticipate
the ways that hope and joy
will shape our day or fret and worry,
which steals away joy from any waiting.
I am still waiting
for the big and little things
to hear from her how
the everyday elements of her day,
play out rejoicing when she can call.
Most of all I hope that observing
how I still wait for her has made her
own waiting practice
a time of joyful anticipation.
Yes, I am still waiting.

PAINTING: Mother and Daughter by Mary Cassatt (1913)


“To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. It is living with conviction that God molds us in love, holds us in tenderness, and moves us away from the sources of our fear.” Henri Nouwen

 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This quote helped me home in on what I wanted to say about waiting for and on our daughter,  being with her, praying for her, waiting to hear about her day even when she lives six hours from us now, the secret of seeing, waiting as joy instead of fretting, worrying and hopefully by example, having passed this on to her.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A hug in Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Christmas 2014.  I’m on the left, daughter, Jennifer Leotta, is on my right.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. Her work has appeared in several Silver Birch Press collections, and is recently in or forthcoming in When Women Write, Spillwords, Ovunque Siamo, and others.