I’m generally a pretty patient person. But waiting around in a long line for no reason would not be high on my list of fun activities. When I first read this prompt, Name three things that are worth waiting in long lines for, I couldn’t think of a single thing that I would choose to wait in a long line for, ever. Nothing seems important enough to put your life on hold. However, there is such a thing called hindsight. I thought about the times in my life I have waited longer than expected, and there were definitely a few that were well worth the wait.
Last summer, The Tortoise and I waited for hours in a musty, hot, dust-filled choir room with hundreds of other little girls. I anticipated waiting for a couple of hours, but soon two became four. It felt like the night was never going to end, and all just for a chance to audition for a community theater production of Annie. The Tortoise had never auditioned for anything other than a choir solo, but after participating in a two-week theater camp, her self-esteem was ready for the big stage. Or at least a small stage, practically in our back yard. She was nervous but optimistic. Her attitude was lighthearted and encouraging to others. There was no expectation other than to try her best and have fun. She was one of the last girls to audition, and her stomach had been growling for some time. I gave her one last hug for good luck and waited with bated breath. Her shining eyes sang proudly as she returned from her audition. She felt confident and good about herself, no regrets. Although The Tortoise didn’t get a part, we were excited to get two call backs the next day. Waiting all night for an audition was worth witnessing personal growth in my daughter. It was worth having a moment to share in her joy.
My parents have been coming to visit us during Thanksgiving for the last few years. I love being able to create magazine worthy dinners, complete with table decorations and good wine. When my dad turned 60, we decided to surprise him by flying both of my brothers up, along with my youngest brother’s girlfriend. My dad had no clue. We sent him and DW to pick up The Hare from gymnastics while the crew parked across the street and then assembled on the window seat in our breakfast nook. When my dad first walked in, he was engrossed in some anecdotal story with The Hare. As he turned into the kitchen, he stopped dead in his tracks. Tears filled his eyes as his children all rushed to hug him and say, “Happy Birthday”.
I made arrangements for all of us to have our pictures taken the next evening before dinner. We would all be dressed up for the occasion. It was one of those places where you get to see your digital proofs immediately and order pictures that will be ready before you leave. Plus, it was close to the restaurant that held our reservation. When we got there, we were told they were “slightly” behind and that our scheduled time would be about 30 minutes later than expected. Not a problem, we could still make our reservation. But soon, it turned into 60 minutes, then 90 minutes, then even 120 minutes. We moved our reservation considerably. The boys were ready to call it quits, but mom and I refused.
“No way! We’ve waited this long, we have to get pictures taken.”
I made arrangements with the manager to let us come back the next day to look at the proofs. By the time we got to the restaurant, everyone was starving. Thankfully the staff kept our private room ready and treated my father like a king. After several glasses of wine, we all forgot about the long wait. And now, we have amazing pictures to remind us how we celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday. Plus – what we didn’t know, was that my baby brother had proposed to his girlfriend before coming to visit. We found out after he went home. They were afraid their announcement would take away from dad’s birthday celebration. But now we have pictures of them together too.
This last memory of waiting will seem strange. But believe me, it was worth the wait, all things considered. When The Tortoise was almost 4, she was bitten in the face by a dog. She had been visiting her father (DW is her step-father), and unfortunately had been unsupervised with a young German Shepherd. The Tortoise was used to having our large Golden Retriever, Chelsea around. Chelsea was a great kid dog. There was nothing you could do that wouldn’t result in a big lick in the face. She was gentle, patient and generous with affection. So of course, The Tortoise expected this German Shepherd to be exactly the same way. Apparently, my daughter tried to feed him from his own bowl and he lunged at her, slashing her face just under her left eye, and one small puncture under her chin. When I got the phone call to meet her at the emergency room, my heart stopped. I had no idea what to expect. DW, myself, my parents and my brothers all met them at the hospital. The Tortoise’s face and shirt were covered in blood. It took every ounce of strength I had not to start crying. I needed to be strong for her, she was terrified.
Emergency room waits can take a long time, but tack on the fact that it was Christmas Eve, you can be sure it was going to take hours. And since it was her face, I insisted on waiting for a plastic surgeon. My request was met with lots of arguments but since all medical decisions are made by me, I wouldn’t budge. The nurse told me that since it was Christmas Eve, the plastic surgeon was only on-call. We would have to wait until he got there. The Tortoise was given something for the pain and bandages for the bleeding. And we all waited. Moments before the plastic surgeon entered the room, I could hear the nurse complaining to him outside our door,
“I’m so sorry you had to be called in Doctor. We tried to get one of our ER doctors to stitch her up, but the mom just wouldn’t allow it. ”
The plastic surgeon stepped into the room, shook my hand, and unwrapped bandages. Then he turned to me and said,
“You absolutely did the right thing by calling me. This was no job for the ER doctors.”
And we have almost no scar to prove it.