The Waiting Place

originally in Abilene Families

“...headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.”
--excerpt from Dr. Suess’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”

I suppose the first clue should be how these little people come into our homes. Whether you find out by the pregnancy test or the adoption agency that your world is about to be turned upside down, the next order of business... is to wait. Waiting for the contractions to start, the phone call that says the birth mother chooses you, the doctor to show up, the baby to show up. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

So I’m not sure why I am surprised that this season of parenting seems to primarily consist of waiting. I wait for it to be time to leave for practice, occasionally I wait at practice or wait for practice to be over. On game day the player needs to be there at least 30 minutes early, so I wait for the game to start. After the game, sometimes I have to wait for the post-game wrap-up.

Waiting in carpool line, outside of friend’s houses, and for the bathroom to be free.

Of course there is the waiting room waiting, which should feel better since I’m in a room designated for waiting, but doesn’t. There is the doctor’s office waiting, where I am imagining all of the coughing germs leaping onto me and my belongings. Then the dentist office waiting, where I am forced to hear horrific dental tool noises, trying to be thankful it isn’t me experiencing said dental tool. Orthodontist waiting room waiting has very nice amenities, but it only makes me wish the services were cheaper.

If I were a productive person I would be able to get things accomplished in these little drips and drops of time, but the procrastinator in me likes to believe that as soon as I get started on something, it’s time to close up shop and move along to wait at the next location.

I am pondering things I could accomplish in 17-minute increments of time. Write the next best seller, disjointed though it may be. Crochet some little bitty socks, perhaps. I suppose I could learn cake decorating on petit fours, one tiny cake at a time.

I confess that I start to lose patience with all of the waiting, waiting, waiting. Friends who have children that can drive tell me that’s still waiting, just on a different level. Then I understand there is the waiting to come home from college. It never ends, I suppose.

In the middle of it I am tempted to forget that it is a sign of an abundantly healthy and blessed life to be able to do such waiting. I know moms who spend their days waiting beside a hospital bed or in one waiting room, then another, wondering what the next test result will bring or if the day will show any improvement.

Then there are the mothers who spend this lifetime waiting: mothers who will not see their children again in this lifetime, waiting for the moment they will be reunited with a child gone too soon from this world.

So I wait. I wait in busy, active, happy places with busy, active, happy children and I am so immensely grateful for this life I have been given, these children that drag me hither and yon, though I have never actually mapped hither or yon.

Too soon, the flurry of activity at this house will migrate to houses where my children will wait for their children and families. My house will grow still and quiet. When the activity from their house comes back to visit, I’ll be waiting. I’ve had plenty of practice.

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