Day: August 12, 2015

The Waiting Place

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 No
or waiting for their hair to grow…
…or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another chance
Everyone is just waiting.
–Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go!

I don’t go to the waiting place on purpose. I never think “It is time for me to wait” and then take myself there. In fact I usually don’t even realize I am there until I’ve been sitting around for quite a while. Today for example. I have dozens of tasks on which I could spend my time, but I was struggling to get moving on any of them. It was six pm before I figured out why. School starts next week and I’m scared about it. I don’t know what emotional resources will be required of me in those first days of class. I don’t know what emotional meltdowns lay in wait for me as I take Kiki back to school, launch Patch into junior high, watch Gleek embark on more homework than she’s had in the past couple of years, and hope that three classes on campus do not prove too overwhelming for Link. Some part of my psyche evaluated all of that incoming emotional load and switched over into an emergency conservation mode. Without planning to do it, I entered the waiting place where my brain is mostly idling until the important events occur.

Getting out of the waiting place is as tricky as realizing I’m in it. It is possible for me to muscle through. I can just make myself get jobs done, but that is not the same as truly emotionally engaging with the work. When I’m focused, staying focused is easy. There is momentum and happiness in task completion. When I’m waiting, I wander off. I lose track of where I was. All the jobs are harder. It is harder to get started. It is harder to stay on task. It is harder to not get distracted. I wish I could tell myself “it will all be fine” and believe that. It might even be true. I might be conserving emotional energy for crises that never materialize. That has happened before. Not lately, but within memory. Sometimes muscling through will actually help me escape. Other times it just allows me to get things done until the thing I’m waiting for arrives. Still other times I just distract myself until the waiting is over.

Whether I manage to pull myself out or whether the waiting evaporates because of arrival, knowing that I’m in the waiting place is helpful to me. It lets me recalibrate my thought processes and recognize why my brain is reacting sluggishly to things.


The other day I wrote how I am taking the good days and good events and treating them like little capsules of treasure. Here are a few that I’ve collected lately.


I haven’t done much baking lately, so when I made brownies they tasted extra delicious. Enough that both Howard and I tweeted about it.

Sandra: I have eaten more brownies than is healthy. Since the healthy quantity for brownies is 0, I feel good about my life decisions today.

Howard: Came upstairs to find that there are just enough brownies left in this pan for me to have one brownie before eating half a pan of brownies.

Howard’s brother Randy responded to his tweet: if you don’t slice the half a pan, it’s just one big brownie.

Howard: “We’re gonna need a bigger spatula.” — me and @RandyTayler, reducing our brownie intake on a technicality.

The conversations about the brownies were as enjoyable as the brownies themselves.


Gleek: “Mom? I have a question.”
Me: “I have an answer. Let’s see if they match.”


The bench at church was crowded because all six of us were sitting there together. I think it has been at least six months since that happened.


Curling up on the couch and watching NCIS with Howard. Kids often join us as well. We talk about the stories after they are done. This is not a show that I fell in love with right away, but it has grown on me to the point where I love it and I love the characters. The other day we watched an episode that was so well written and so well acted that there was a scene where massive amounts of emotion and meaning were communicated with almost no dialogue at all. I think those are my favorite moments in a show.


I walked up to the front door of an unfamiliar house with a yellow folder of documents in my hands. One short conversation later, I walked away without the folder. Link’s Eagle Scout Application has been turned it.


Walking into Gleek’s room and seeing that every day she has added things to the walls and made the space her own. The purple wall is a good thing.


I went to the junior high school. For the first time in two years, one trip to a school took care of multiple children. All the paperwork was in order, so I picked up schedules for Gleek and Patch. They have a good set of classes. Though Gleek did need one switch. Fortunately her school counselor agreed that the change was beneficial and made the switch on the spot. I have one piece of pending paperwork for Link, but schedules are finalized, I’ve posted the school A/B schedule in its usual spot, first bell rings next Tuesday.


I need to pay attention to these small good things so that I don’t get swamped by worries about the impending school year.