Just Wait


I have this image in my head of me as an eight or nine-year-old. I had a hideous blue satin lightweight jacket hanging on the doorknob of my closet and I remember thinking, ‘Some day I’ll be old enough to just grab that jacket and run out the door with my friends.’

I didn’t want to wait for anything or anyone — I just wanted to grow up, and to go. Anywhere.

And then suddenly, it seemed to happen overnight. I outgrew the jacket, but not the urge to jet out the door without anyone’s permission.

I vaguely remember when I first had that flashback, as an adult. I’m pretty sure it came about during a college internship to England, when I found myself wobbling down the road to my chilly house from the local pub, with nobody around to scold me for having too many pints of British cider.

I thought I was all grown up.

Several years later, for my 27th birthday, I found myself surrounded by a bevy of friends from several countries and cultures. As I was one of the youngest at the table, I asked each person to tell me how they had spent their 27th birthday and year. The tales were vast and varied. In the middle of the party, my mom phoned.

It was an era before cell phones, and I was living and working onboard a ship off the coast of West Africa. Phone calls were far and few between. So on the rare occasion when I got my mother on the line, I didn’t mince words. I promptly joked, ‘Thanks for having me and putting up with me… and say, what were you doing when you were 27?’

She burst out laughing and said, ‘I had you!’ Confused, I quickly did the math, and realized that she had turned 27 right before I was born. 

And while I felt even more grown up at 27, right then I realized how young my mom had been when she had me.

That night I plopped onto my bunk and thought about how young I felt. I was in no way ready to have kids. I was going to just wait.

And Then...

You see, by this time in life, I was perfectly fine with waiting. I had just met an amazing man. We waited five years to get married. We waited another five to buy furniture and even a toaster. We could wait to have children, too. After all, we weren’t even sure if we wanted them. Oh sure, people tried to hand me babies and then they’d smirk and say, ‘You just wait. Your turn is coming.’

I’d smile smugly back and think, ‘Yeah, right.’

And then I got pregnant.

People told me I’d never travel again. (I still travel, only now I pack even more snacks than before, and I cart around a wiggly toddler instead of an oversized suitcase.)

Like any mom, I’ve had my fair share of advice from pregnancy to birth to raising kids.

The advice varies, and it comes from friends, strangers, mothers, grandmothers and even cashiers at Walmart, but one theme I continue to hear over and over again is:

‘Just wait.’

‘Just wait until he starts teething.’ 

‘Just wait until the terrible twos happen.’

‘Just wait until you have another one.’

‘Just wait until he’s a teenager.’

And then they roll their eyes — like I could never possibly understand what is about to get unleashed.

Just wait. Just Wait.

Wait. What?

My own dear mom, who somehow survived parenthood without Google, e-books, Facebook forums, cell phones, or even her own mother, had the best words of wisdom for me when I gave birth to my son.

She warned me that lots of people told her to ‘just wait’. People doled out advice in every stage of her children’s lives, warning her that things would only get worse after each birthday and milestone. 

My mom wryly said she’s still waiting.

Then she told me it all goes by in a flash. I know my brother and I had our moments as children, but clearly my mom has some wise perspective on motherhood.

My own dear mom, who somehow survived parenthood without Google, e-books, Facebook forums, cell phones, or even her own mother, had the best words of wisdom for me when I gave birth to my son.

These Days Won't Last Forever

And so while the Peanut is now hurtling through various stages people have warned me about (tonight I literally dodged a fork flying in my direction), I was also reminded this evening while he snuggled into my armpit and fell asleep, that these days won’t last forever.

While there are certain things I’d love to be done with (diapers, you stink!), I know these days are fleeting. And if I’m not careful, I will inadvertently wish them away.

So tonight, while waiting for my son to fall asleep for what seemed like forever, I put my phone down and decided to do what everyone keeps telling me to do.

I waited.

I waited while he babbled. I waited while he stared at the fan. I waited while he counted to ten. I waited while he shoved his little face into mine and kissed me. I waited while I sniffed his hair, cuddled him further and whispered to him how much I loved him.

Then I waited a little longer as he began to snore. And I waited even longer, still. 

Author Elizabeth Stone once said, ‘Making the decision to have a child — it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.’

No matter where I go or how fast I get there, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to catch my heart ever again.

I guess I’m going to have to just wait to get it back one day. Perhaps though, like my mom, I might be waiting for a very long time.


Contributing Sister Site and Author

About {Brenda}

I spent my twenties and a good chunk of my thirties living and working in various countries. I met and married a South African sailor and I was quite content to keep traveling without kids. We landed in Chattanooga in 2013 and our son arrived over the summer of 2014. We haven’t really slept since. Sometimes jet-lag gets the blame. Or Daylight Savings, or even a good book. Usually though, it’s the Peanut. You can often find me charged up on caffeine, chasing after my son at Coolidge Park, the zoo or the library. You can also find me online on my blog.

Brenda is a contributor for Chattanooga Moms Blog, one of our Sister Sites.