To the One Who is Waiting

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M_Abby2

Hey You, the one who is waiting.

I just want to let you know that I see you. I see that you are waiting. I see that you have been waiting. I see that you don’t see an end to your waiting and I wish I could tell you that I see the end. But I don’t.

So instead, can I just sit here with you? Hold your hand? Rub your back? Not touch you at all because that is really the last thing you need right now? I brought chocolate. I probably don’t have any good words. What words are there to say? You are waiting. And it totally sucks. Waiting is the worst.

I hate waiting because I suffer from chronic do-er syndrome, and there isn’t a whole lot of doing in waiting. It is really all about being. So I will try my best to be here with you as you wait for it to start, or finish, or for you to know what your next step is. Let’s just be together. Here. In the land of the waiting.

When I was pregnant with my second child I started having contractions three weeks before she was actually born. Three weeks. I was so uncomfortable I really could not be nice enough to my students to teach them. Plus I was totally terrified that I would give birth on the side of the road if I braved my terrible commute. So I started my maternity leave early and I waited. And waited. And waited.

I went to the hospital twice for false alarms, my head dropped in defeat as we left the hospital without a baby. I really thought this was the time. How could I have gotten it so wrong? Why the heck don’t I have a baby yet?

Like clockwork at 5 o’clock the contractions would start again. I would try to ignore them, and the hope that came with them, but secretly I would think, today is the day. This day is it. I have waited long enough, surely. SURELY I have waited long enough. This has to be it. This just has to be it.

Priscilla arrived on her due date, after I went in with contractions and demanded my midwife break my water against her better professional judgement. I just needed the waiting to be over.

And just like that, it was. I was in labor, and then there was a baby and every single sign pointed to right on time. But I remember the waiting. I remember how excruciating it can be.

Maybe you are waiting too? Maybe for a baby to be born, or to be conceived. Maybe you are waiting for the great love of your life, or a season to be over. Maybe you are waiting for someone else, just one other person to look at this insane idea you have and say, “YES! I believe you. That idea is a good one. Let’s do it.”

Maybe you don’t even know what you are waiting for, but you are waiting. Maybe you too are a do-er and you have been asked to wait and every minute of every day feels like contractions that are leading to nothing. I just want you to know that I know how terrible it is, and that I am here and I am waiting with you. I get it. This part is really, really hard. This waiting does not count for nothing.

Three years ago I re-opened a document on my computer that I had started seven years before that. It was time. It was just time to write the book I had been talking about writing. I stole moments and minutes to get it done—after bedtime, during lunch, before anyone else got up on a Saturday.

I bought a kiddie pool and pulled it underneath the dining room window. I pulled my dining room table over to where I could see into the kiddie pool. I let my children splash while I wrote three sentences at a time and made sure nobody drown each other. I finished a first draft of a book.

And then I waited. I sent letters and had conversations and went to a few conferences. But mostly, I waited. I waited for someone else to say yes. Just like the next step in the baby game was to deliver, the next step in the book world was to sign with an agent. So, I waited.

I waited for years. Far longer than I ever thought I would have to wait. I watched as other people signed agent contracts and book deals. I sent out some more letters. I waited to hear. I looked for things to do, but mostly I just waited.

Last week I got a yes. I signed with one of the many literary agents UK is famous for. Rachelle said yes. I know that this is really just the first step in more waiting, but I am relieved. I am excited, I am thrilled.

And also? I see you. I see you still waiting, waiting for whatever it is you are waiting for. I see how hard it is and I see how well you are waiting. I am sorry that you have had to wait this long. I want to tell you it will all be worth it in the end, that this waiting is not for nothing, but I feel like people have probably already said that to you.

I think what you need to hear is what my midwife told me in the waiting: This part is excruciating. I am so sorry I don’t know when it will be over. Be gentle with yourself. I promise this won’t be forever.

The waiting really is the hardest part. So, if it is okay with you, let me sit here with you for just a little bit. The least I can do is make sure you don’t have to wait alone.

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