The Waiting Place

Most people hate to wait. For instance, the woman in front of me in line at the grocery store the other day. She asked the clerk for a spoon for her yogurt. When he didn’t respond in a timely enough fashion -- maybe 2.5 seconds passed -- she marched over to the manager and complained. That woman is attracting some seriously bad karma. But I’ve been known to be impatient, too.

Like if I have to wait on hold for more than a minute, I start to get really, really annoyed. Then there’s this unconscionably long stoplight at the end of a certain street near us. And if I have to wait more than half an hour for my food in a restaurant, forget it.

So I know how hard it can be to wait and I just want to say to my son, Riley, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you had to wait in your stroller today while I washed off your big brother’s scraped knee and let him choose the specific Batman band-aid he wanted, which God knows took WAY longer than it should've. I’m sorry you cried and cried while I had to help your brother go to the bathroom, too, which was made all the more difficult by the fact that he was slightly sweaty and his pants were sticking to him, and by his refusal to take off his shoes even though that would have made things infinitely easier.

And speaking of the bathroom and waiting, I’m sorry, Miles, that you had to wait that one time I was putting your baby brother to bed and he was taking an extra-long time nursing and you were calling and calling me from the downstairs bathroom and I was thinking, “Be QUIET, Miles!! I’m trying to get the baby to sleep!” And then I came down to find you’d had a really, really bad accident because you couldn’t get your shorts off in time. I was REALLY sorry about that.

But you know what? Waiting is part of life. Just look at Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” He devotes several pages to 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 waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.”

Yes, I guess having a sibling is good practice for life. Waiting for the baby to wake up from his nap before you can go outside to play may prepare you for someday waiting for your spouse to find his glasses (again!) before you can go to the movies. Waiting for a friend’s birthday party may prepare you for having to wait till you’re 21 to get into a bar. Waiting for your big brother to come home from school could be good preparation for a future freelance writer who’ll wait for acceptance letters.

But if I have to leave my boys with one message, it’s this: don’t be the kind of person whose day is ruined by having to wait for a spoon. Just don’t. Instead, use that time to relax, regroup, and read the tabloid magazines in the checkout line.

VIDEO O’ THE WEEK: Speaking of being in a hurry, my crazy 6 m.o. is crawling already! He’s still working on his form, but the kid can cover some ground. Notice how his destination is not the singing drum, but the wadded-up wipe.


Kimberly said...

Oh, I love this post! Last night I was thinking about "waiting" and "patience" while I was trying to get my baby back to sleep. It's such an important idea for children and adults to understand. I feel bad for people like that lady with the spoon. We all have our moments, but some people seem to lose their hold on reality a bit faster than others.

leila said...

What a good crawler! My almost-eight-month old is still just pulling and pushing herself along the ground, army-crawl style, whenever she wants to get to anything. Why go to the effort of lifting that belly, right?

I really love your blog, it's one of my favourites. I love the way you write so clearly and simply and humorously! And then each post has a subject, but it's never contrived. What awesome points you make about patience. Something motherhood is forcing me to develop. :)

Mom2Miles said...

Thank you, Leila & Kimberly! You made my day. :)

katie said...

Great topic! As important as patience is, we parents aren't always the best models of the virtue. We talk to our kids about sharing, waiting your turn, saying "Excuse me" if you need to interrupt, but then let all that fly out the window when *we're* the ones waiting...

I can only imagine that going from one child to two is taking your patience (as well as your kids') to a whole new level!

Kate said...

Another great post. I feel like I've finally found a blog I can follow and enjoy every day.

On another note, whoa, that baby! All I can say is, I hope it wasn't a dirty wipe! hehehehe

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