We wait for a holiday, a vacation, a break, a change, a movie to find its home in the Redbox. We wait. Impatiently, we wait. We sigh, we tap our foot, we moan about long lines, days of the week, seconds on the clock. We wait and we wait, and we don't realize that in the grand scheme of things, all of this slow waiting is hiding the fact that time is flying.
When I was a child, I remember waking up for school, brushing my teeth and dreading the long day ahead. I looked in the mirror every morning, waiting for something.
Like any other kid, the longest wait was Christmas.
I had a large family back then. I can still see my grandmother's home at Christmas, the roaring of laughter from the dining room overflowing into the kitchen where I was always forced to sit at the child's table. I carefully eyed my 100 year old great grandmother eating one tiny pea at a time and my Aunt Libby, who seemed so exotic with her ruby red hair and West Palm Beach, Florida address. She talked about the beach and the heat as she waited on my great grandmother to finish her peas. Some random cousin would be sitting next to me at the table, playing with her food, while I waited to play hide and seek with her after our meal. She'd never find me hiding behind Granny's mammoth Electrolux vacuum in the hall closet.
I also waited on other things.
I waited to get through my ugly, awkward phase in 8th grade. I waited to get out of detention. I waited to graduate high school. I waited to find the right guy by dating a lot of wrong ones. I waited on my wedding day. I waited to hear the heartbeat. I waited for the epidural. I waited to meet my greatest blessings. I waited. Time didn't fly. Time was stagnant.
I've realized that time has flown. All that waiting has come and gone.
I waited on that large Christmas dinner. I waited impatiently for it every year, not realizing that time was flying, not realizing that one day all of my grandparents would be dead and we'd be down to 10 at the dining table.
New waiting has emerged. I'm waiting for my son to use the potty, for my daughter to fall out of love with One Direction, for my husband to quit passing gas, for my mortgage to be paid in full.
I realize that time is flying. This new waiting will soon be come and gone, too, with the exception of my husband passing gas.
Those tiny infants that I held in a hospital bed are growing up so quickly, becoming so independent, thinking life is one big wait, not realizing how quickly it passes them by.
They run bare foot in the grass and put bugs in jars with a stick and a leaf in hopes to recreate the prisoner's environment. They skip through the sprinkler with their clothes on, they have Popsicle stains on their chins and forearms. They go to bed and wiggle loose teeth with their tongues, waiting on them to fall out, waiting on a magical fairy to leave money under the pillow, waiting to wake up and capture more bugs, waste more water, eat more frozen sugar. They have no idea how quickly time flies.
Sometimes I want to be a kid again.
I want to skip with grass-stained feet in my grandmother's yard. I want to watch her sit on the front porch with a paper fan and drink Diet Coke as we wait on the sun to set. I want to wait on my great grandmother to finish her dinner. I want to wait for "Hee Haw" to come on her bulky rear-projection television.
I want to be excited that summer break has arrived. I want to fall asleep in my daddy's truck after a long day of playing mud pies and eating ice cream at the family reunion. I want to stay up for hours, writing poetry about some teenage punk that's done me wrong, while I listen to Sinead O'Connor. I want to crawl into my mother's bed, the box fan roaring, and watch a Doris Day and Rock Hudson marathon.
This isn't waiting.
This is life.
The Waiting Place is 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.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
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