The Art of Waiting

February 17, 2016

We came home after a trip to Supercuts and short stop at McDonald to pick up Crispy Chicken Sandwich at the take out window.

-“Take off your jacket, but don’t take off your shoes”- I told Robert. “In a few minutes we will go to the station to pick up dad. There is just enough time to eat your sandwich.”-

Robert took off his jacket and ate the sandwich while I was checking e-mails. Just then the phone rang. Jan told me that the train was not moving as there was a problem on the tracks.  He asked us to wait for his call.

“Robert, we cannot go yet.  We have to wait for dad’s call.  His train broke.”  I passed the message to Robert changing one detail to make the situation easier to understand.  Robert sat down and then got up.  “Robert we have to wait for dad’s call.” I repeated

Robert partially understood the message as he sat down again. He stayed seated for almost 5 minutes, then he got up and tried to pull me out of my chair.  Not forcefully.  He was just letting me know that we should go to the train station as there was enough waiting already.  I responded with taking my shoes off, to let Robert know that there was going to be more waiting.  Robert picked the left shoe and attempted to place it on my left foot.  I didn’t let him.  I asked him to sit and relax.  I gave him choice of doing puzzles, word searches or watching TV.  He hesitated and chose watching TV. And he did, for another 5 minutes.  He was ready to go and expected me to do the same.  With scorn on his face, he stood silently next to me for another few minutes. I called Jan asking him to talk to Robert.  Jan did.  Robert sat again and stood up again. “Dad, Dad”, he said.  “Train, train” Then again, “Dad, Dad”, followed by “train, train.”  And again, and again, and again.  I went back to the computer.  Robert followed me carrying my shoes and repeating the same words over and over.

I got angry. ” Stop that.  It is obnoxious.  We are waiting  for the phone call.  We are not going anywhere until Dad calls. ”  I shouted and I regretted it immediately. Robert seemed hurt, but took my shoes and carried them to the closet. Just then Jan called.  The train moved and with a great relief so did we.

We waited no more than an hour.  It was a very hard time for Robert and thus for me.  I asked myself why Robert could wait long hours at the airports but waiting at home became so difficult.  There were times when we waited at the train station for almost half an hour and Robert didn’t show any signs of distress.  Why then, he was so anxious when we waited at home for the phone call?  Was that because we were distance away from the place of dad’s arrival. maybe according to Robert waiting for a train should happen at the train station not at home.  Was that because Robert became confused by contradictory statements I made. I told him that we would leave soon and then I told him to wait for the call from Dad.  Maybe because it was an open end waiting without knowing for how long.  Or was Robert anxious because he missed his father and wanted him to come home safely as soon as possible? 



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