The Waiting Game

Photo by Catherine Yeulet/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Catherine Yeulet/iStock / Getty Images

June 1, 1989

My daughter is sitting in one of the lobbies of life, waiting her turn, wondering when her name will be called. When I think of her, and what she is going through, I keep hearing the tune by Boy George called "The Crying Game"..only substitute the waiting game.  While the actual lyrics are fabulous they don't relate to this, it's just the musical score playing over and over in my mind... 

She is, depending on dates, either 2 weeks overdue or 10 days overdue to deliver her baby. The last couple weeks have been  waves lapping with varying intensity from mildly perturbed to exasperated, from joyful anticipation to butterflies and disbelief; from is this really happening? to when is this happening!

She is beautiful and amazing, and as of today is full of positive energy, resolved to be gracious and go with it, not stand at the window, in that life lobby, shouting demands to be seen.

The waiting game is usually played when the outcome is life changing. There are those events with set dates and times like a test for driver’s license and those without, such like my daughter’s where she is waiting for her baby to come. I classify the times I have played the waiting game with events that are precious and tender, ones that walk a fence line between fear and elation and those that bring dread and sorrow.

At night, when it is quiet,  I put myself in her shoes and try to recall all the times I have played the waiting game, and it isn’t easy to slip back, the past is fuzzy now.  

My first recollection of being in the lobby of life playing the waiting game was wondering when I would get my period.  I remember surveying friends and my sisters, examining my changing body, reading the text that gave me broad parameters of  “norm” for onset age,  and examining the isles of products of which use heralds a change from girl child to young woman. Was this ache a cramp? Was this discoloration early menstruation? I think in some ways waiting for signs of labor to begin is similar. I had friends that were early maturers.  I am not sure if early was any better getting the period late, I think teasing and feeling different is no fun no matter where you stand. After forty years of having cycles, I do sometimes miss it, like I would life without seasons.    However, I definitely wasn’t an early maturer, EVER, and labor for this daughter came late too.  

Other life changing waiting games in that lobby I recall included wondering when my love would propose; he did one stormy September in 1977, another, the birth of our babies, 1, 2 the memory of which is a love so precious and tender; would I get my nursing license first fear then I did and following elation set the course of my career of service which provided fulfillment of purpose, spiritually and creatively, bringing self-assurance, friendship, and security for my retirement.  And yes, dread and sorrow - watching my beloved parents decline and pass.  Not all my waiting games end with a reward. Some herald a change with a finality I don’t want. 

It is interesting to reflect.  This is life isn’t it?  We learn with tempering of time to embrace the lack of control that living brings, the love and joy, sorrow, fear and elation, dread and tenderness of it all.