Four Little Words.

There is an unwritten manual. You have to look closely to uncover it, but it is there. It is lurking in every waiting room. It is prowling through the post office with each anticipatory piece of mail. It is looming over the entire country.   And it is four little words. Perhaps not as popular as the culmination of the four words of Gilmore Girls but nonetheless here is the secret to this entire game: Hurry Up and Wait.

The rules are very simple.

  1. Receive information.
  2. Panic ensues.
  3. Create an immediate plan of action.   There is no time to waste. Every day is another opportunity where change can be occurring and you must act immediately to prevent any unforeseeable detrimental outcomes for the future.
  4. Wait
  5. Wait some more.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 until desired results achieved.

Three days after the election, my husband and I both took off of work to escort our son to a very prestigious doctor’s appointment. As a result of exhibiting signs of a developmental delay, we started our process of due diligence. After all, this isn’t our first rodeo. This means we saw six specialists within two weeks. A litany of phone calls and paperwork trails to attempt to name or uncover the cause of the delays.

This final appointment was made as a result of my incessant “Momma Bear” voice. Step 3 begins. This is urgent. We need to be seen immediately. I have gotten so good with the speech that it takes me less than a minute to recover from the tears and fear in my own voice, and I am triumphant! We will be seen the next day.

When we arrived to the doctor, they had just ordered pizza for the waiting room, because, yes, it was going to take that long. We played games with my son. We read books. We ran up and down the hallway. We discovered the joy of throwing keys at other kids. All good fun. After two hours in the fancy waiting room (that means it’s the area with the blocks covered with remnants of sticky fingers from the prior patients with little patience) our names were finally called. I audibly let out a gleeful cheer while we quickly gathered: coats, hats, bags, open milk, half an apple, and oops, the baby. We turned the corner and the nurse let us into the room. A second waiting room.

I think it was actually Charon welcoming us into Limbo, not actually a nurse practitioner. [Oops, I am an English teacher. Notes on this allusion to The Inferno can be found here http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-information.html] Nonetheless, we settled into our new home and began to discuss our next meal. As it would happen, cookies were waiting by the receptionist. By hour three, I started to eat them while my son was fully digesting my keys by this point. All parenting skills out the window and he was watching The Walking Dead on Netflix, because when he chewed on the keys – that’s what came out.   Somewhere sitting on the floor of my new 8×8 home, shoeless, and practically engaged to the father sitting to my right, I observed the parallels between the state of our country and my son’s ophthalmologist appointment.

We just need to hurry up and wait.

We have a new President.

  1. We receive information.
  2. Panic ensues.
  3. Create an immediate plan of action.   There is no time to waste. Every day is another opportunity where change can be occurring and you must act immediately to prevent any unforeseeable detrimental outcomes for the future.
  4. Wait.
  5. Wait some more.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 until desired results achieved.

I cannot control what happens to the federal funding for my child with special needs or what will happen to the marriage equality laws of my dear friends. I cannot determine the outcome of Supreme Court justice rulings or the regulations on the curriculum I teach. I cannot tell if debate declarations will be actual legislation or simply jargon. I just have to continue to work as quickly as I can to educate children, foster empathy, and encourage a dialogue in my community. And then, just wait.

After our four minute appointment with the specialist, one minute of examination and three minutes about his most recent philanthropic work in Africa, we were sent on our way.   I asked the receptionist, with cookie crumbs in my mouth, half naked child squirming in my arms with keys hanging from his mouth, when we would receive our paperwork.

With a genuinely gentle voice, she replies. We will get that in the mail to you shortly. Just hang tight and wait.    

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6 thoughts on “Four Little Words.

  1. One of my German cousins once told me she didn’t understand “Waiting for Godot” until she had kids. She read it in High School and thought it was boring. It wasn’t until she saw it performed years later that she realized it about Motherhood.

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