I’m starting this post during the holiday season (you’re reading it after). I tried this year to shop small and shop local, so I’ve been standing in a lot of lines. It got me thinking about time and how much waiting one person might do in their lifetime. It could be waiting for a friend to show for lunch. Waiting for a call from a loved one. Waiting for a store to open to get a limited edition item. Waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Waiting for a flight to arrive. Waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Waiting for a movie to start. Waiting for someone to free up the restroom. Waiting in line to get a beverage. Waiting for the car to get fixed. Waiting for a letter to finally arrive in the mail. Waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
You get my point, right? We do a lot of waiting in various forms and I am sure it amounts to days and weeks over a lifetime. It can be really frustrating doing all that waiting. We are busy people with many things to do and many tasks often occuring at the same time. We get impatient when we have to wait a long time. But is that always the case with waiting?
My thinking then evolved to waiting for kids to grow up. Often when they are little we want them to hurry up and be more independent. Then later we want them to slow down and stay little.
When you have a child with special needs, at least in my experience, you spend a lot of time waiting for them to catch up to their peers or waiting for them to hit a particular milestone. I saw a quote recently that really hit home with me. Except it didn’t really resonate until later when I had time to ponder it. I tried to find the source with no luck. It went something like this.
“Kids are like popcorn kernels. You can cook popcorn kernels over the same heat for the same amount of time yet they all pop at different times (when they are ready).”
I remember waiting for my son to say his first words. Due to his Autism it was very delayed, almost age three compared to kids who start before they are one year old. I remember waiting for him to let me leave a room in a strange place without having a total meltdown. I remember waiting for him to make eye contact with me when I was talking to him. I remember waiting for my son to be able to tie his shoes (really hard for a kid with occupational therapy issues). I remember waiting for my son to make his first friend. I remember waiting for him to ride a bike. I remember waiting for him to stop flapping his hands so much in public.
In these cases I didn’t get so frustrated and impatient. I realized that my son was moving at his own pace in his own time frame. In most of these cases my waiting resulted in small celebrations of milestones that many take for granted.
I hope to take this outlook on ALL waiting going forward. I want to see getting to the desired result as celebration rather than focus on the frustration of the waiting. I’ll wait for my popcorn kernel to pop when it’s ready!