Home > Creativity, parenting, Writing > Waiting…and Turning it All Around

Waiting…and Turning it All Around

I don’t like waiting…it takes too long, my son says at least three times a day.

Hmm, delay of gratification, I’m thinking. An important skill…

We all have to wait sometimes to get what we want. Most of the time we have to wait to get what we want. Before you even finish … [singing Mary Had a Little Lamb, counting to 20, etc.], we will be … [home, or wherever]/you will have … [Mommy’s attention, etc.]. I’ve said a version of this statement to my son many, many times.

And only recently have I started thinking more about my own relationship to waiting.

I don’t like to wait. Who does?

On a larger scale, I’ve never had difficulty waiting, though. Waiting for the realization of some kind of a goal while working towards it. That has never bothered me. Par for the course. Accomplishing big things takes time. Months, years, in a few instances decades. Fine by me. That’s what I want, and I don’t have a choice but to work towards getting it. Period. (This attitude brought me to a pretty high level of misery while I was a student in Belgrade.)

But, what I am talking about here is “small” waiting, short waiting, everyday waiting. Wait until I finish chopping an onion to tape your cymbal to the drum. Wait for your fiend to arrive. Wait for my appointment. Wait for something to start.

Over the years, I came to love this kind of waiting. Sure, I will take you to the parade, and no need to worry about the parking, I will just park illegally, stay in the car and wait. Sure, we can go skiing, although I don’t ski, I (or Andrei and I) will just hang out in the lodge. Sure, I can take you to your appointment and just wait for you to be finished, no big deal.

No, I am not necessarily seeking opportunities like this. It’s okay if I just stay at home and do my own thing instead. But when it turns out I need to wait or choose to wait to help dear people in my life, I am fine waiting. Indeed. So fine. It’s almost that I am not doing them a favor, they are giving me something instead.

These times are a treat that I don’t necessarily expect, but I do accept gratefully, consciously; they feel so good, so meaningful. They mean a page of a book or a story that I thought I didn’t have time to read today. They mean a story idea, or a paragraph, or an entire post or story that I didn’t think I had time to write today. They sometimes mean a very sweat time with Andrei, maybe just sitting in the car and reading, or playing, until it’s time to pick up Daddy, or go somewhere else, or do something else. Or just sitting, people-watching, dreaming, brainstorming. A quiet moment. A few audible breaths. Life moving around you, stillness inside.

And I always wonder why these pockets of time feel so sweat and so precious. Maybe because they are unexpected. Unplanned. Unaccounted for. After all, we were just waiting for …., how is it possible that this waiting (and who likes waiting?) feels so good? Like a train ride, you zone out, or read a book, or whatever, it’s definitely not a goal in itself, but there is something so enjoyable about it.

This is something that Andrei might be too small to understand, but that I’d really like to impart on him, to simply erase that negative connotation that waiting has for him, an impatient preschooler with a fiery temperament. That waiting is like the negative space that you can so easily fill in and turn it into something else.

How would I survive this constant busyness of my life without these moments of time (=waiting) in my day? That’s the only way I can say that every day I read something, and every day I jot down at least something. Because there is always something that I have to wait for.

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