Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the waiting place

When I was little, my mom would snuggle up beside me in bed and read me bedtime stories. One of my favorite authors, like many kids, was Dr. Seuss. I loved all of his books. Listening to each one felt like going on a magical adventure: whether it was under the sea with One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish or eating Green Eggs and Ham. As I got older and read these books on my own, I started to discover the hidden message in each.

My best friend and her boyfriend just separated after seven years together. To hold her over until tomorrow evening’s “girls’ dinner,” I spent last night listening to her cry over the phone and mourn the loss of her first love. This breakup comes just a little over a month after the tragic and sudden death of her dad. To say that she is feeling lost is an understatement. But after about 30 minutes of crying and conversation, her voice started to change. She sounded more positive and hopeful. That’s when she brought up Dr. Seuss.

Her dad gave her a copy of Oh! The Places You’ll Go for our high school graduation—a typical gift for someone moving into adulthood, but one that now has special meaning since her dad passed. She said that, even though she was sad and confused, she didn’t want to get stuck in The Waiting Place. The Waiting Place, she said, is the worst place to be, and she was going to do everything she could to stay out of it.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

The Waiting Place is different as a child. You wait for different things—the next trip to the zoo, a new toy, the ice cream truck to pull down the street—and waiting just one day feels like an eternity. But as an adult, as an infertile adult, The Waiting Place becomes where you spend your life. You wait for your period to arrive. You wait for the next ultrasound. You wait for a phone call from your adoption agency. You wait until you can afford your next step of treatment. You are forever stuck in The Waiting Place, where days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and years.

Sometimes, you wait so long that you begin to give up hope. Sometimes, you wait so long that you forget what you are waiting for.

When I read this book as a child, I didn’t understand what it meant. As a teenager and a high-school graduate, I thought of it as a metaphor for my college years and career path. But now, as an adult, I know better. It’s about the hard stuff: losing a parent, losing a love, losing your chance at having a child. These are the things you never saw coming. They were the obstacles Dr. Seuss knew you would face.

These obstacles are difficult to accept, but accepting them doesn’t mean giving up hope or letting go of the dream. It means understanding that it will take one hell of a detour to get there. But, just like in the book, we can’t let our minds detour for too long in The Waiting Place. We have to find the bright side of the detour, where friends and family members can hold our hands, walk with us, and sometimes help carry us to our destination. We can’t stay in The Waiting Place forever. We have to push forward. Eventually, the detour will reconnect with the path we always thought we would follow.

No! That’s not for you! Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

39 comments:

Candidly_Andrea said...

I can't even begin to tell you how much I LOVE this post.

Ashley said...

I agree with Andrea, this is maybe my favorite post ever and MAN did I need to hear it today. I feel like I am waiting (wishing) my life away. Thank you for this.

Erika @ Oops! I Craft My Pants! said...

I agree. This post is perfect.
You are a great writer!

Anonymous said...

I just love your writing; you really have something special.

Thank you for sharing your gift with us, this post really struck home with me.

mary

AplusB said...

Perfect post. Thank you.

Just Me...C said...

Katie - I cannot even begin to adequately convey my sincere appreciation for this post. As an only child who has lost both parents, her best friend and an angel baby, and who seems to continue to struggle with the hurdles of life, etc, I can relate to it all so very much. You have such a gift for writing...it's really more than writing...you have an amazing ability to communicate and express those things that are often so difficult to convey. Thank you so very much.

Kim said...

ou are such a profound writer. This post was wonderful in so many ways. It brought tears to my eyes, the happy kind, the sad kind, the frustrated kind, the kind that hurt for your friend and what she is going through.

Thank you so much for this, for sharing your truth, our truth. We can always use the reminders and gentle nudges because lets face it, it's easy to get stuck. Thank you for the reminder.
xoxoxoxoxox

Mrs. Lemon said...

I agree, this is a wonderful post. I feel like waiting is all I do, so true, wait for the next cycle, the next IVF, the next injection...AHHHH, I want to live! Thank you!

Kelly said...

Katie, I don't know if I'll ever be able to put into words the amazing woman that you are and what you've brought to my life. I've been stuck in The Waiting Place for all to long now and I guess didn't even realize it.

(((HUGS))) to your friend.

suchagoodegg said...

Ummm, YEAH. Totally in the Waiting Place. Totally, completely, 100% there.

I love that you end on such a positive, proactive note. It gives my heart a little swell of I-can-make-it, and that's something I didn't have before I stopped by to read what was on your mind today. Thank you!

Stolen Eggs said...

Awesome post. So perfect. I think I need to go read that book again.

Rach said...

What a great post. Oh how I can relate to the waiting place. I hope to be out soon. Either pregnant or moving forward as childfree. Sucks that the only way out sometimes is go give up on one goal and seek out another.

Nixy said...

wonderful post. simply wonderful

thisispersonal said...

WONDERFUL post - thank you. This waiting place is hard. But, it's not as lonely with all of you nearby! Can't wait to get to the end, and see that banner.

Jessica said...

I am in the waiting place and it is so hard to get out of it. I feel like if I move on from it I am giving up on my ultimate goal of being a mother. Great post..thanks for sharing!!

Rebecca said...

Beautiful. As always. You're incredible Katie.

Kandid Kelli said...

I have chills & that is a hard thing to do but apparently you find it easy to do.

bravo!

9days my sweet Katie!!

xo
-K

AL said...

Great post, Katie, right on point.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Wow, I love this post, it helps so much with what I am enduring right now. Thanks so much for your support over the past week. -
Jess

A said...

"you wait so long that you forget what you are waiting for"

I think alot of times I'm at this place (above). The idea of having a baby becomes so abstract because it seems as unlikely as winning the megamillions. So I end up hoping to have a baby in the same way as I hope to win the lottery. Shouldn't exactly be the same, right? I forget what amazing work, responsibility, and joy I used to associate with having a baby.

Loved this post!! Will add your friend to my prayer list :)

Dawn said...

Very well said!

jensays said...

great post. YAY!

Erin said...

So, we are busy cleaning out the crap in our house, and I came across 4 copies of that book that I got for my high school graduation. It's amazing how relevant it seems to IF and all that other sucky life stuff.

CW said...

that was an amazing post. it really moved me. I feel like right now I am moving from that waiting post. I refuse to keep staying there defined by infertility. thank you for that.

JC said...

This was a great post. You're a really great writer too, I agree with everyone. I don't feel smart enough to even read it ;).

Hope you're doing well, we need to get together before I go! Work has been so crazy =(. Maybe next week or if not for sure the week after.

Kaitlin said...

KATIE! You're such a great writer. I enjoyed this post so much! So many of us know Exactly what you're talking about.

Arlyne said...

I love Dr. seuss & own all of his books! This definitely made me smile today!!

S.I.F. said...

I think this is my favorite post of yours. You are such a beautiful writer, and this hit the nail on the head!

Trisha said...

what a great post, well said. i may have to start reading Dr Seuss again!!

2catdaughters said...

This was beautiful, Katie. The Waiting Place is such a perfect analogy for what infertility in particular does to a person's life. *hugs* to both you and your friend.

WannabeMom said...

Wow...perfect post. Thanks Katie.

Secret Sloper said...

How amazing. The Waiting Place-- yes! My life for the last 16 months has been a life on pause, just waiting and waiting, circling the same awful drain. And I never would have imagined it when I received that book after my high school graduation.

Life will feel so good when we get out of neutral again.

Katie said...

I LOVE THIS POST!!!

Astrid said...

I'm joining the ranks of readers truly touched and helped by this post. It's one of those ones that makes you stop dead in your tracks and that you don't forget about. It was much-needed for me, as for many of us. How insightful of both you and Dr. Seuss - this gave me chills because I hadn't really made a connection to his books in my adult life and what you're saying is so true - his words have deeper meaning now. He knew

So thanks. I have committed the ultimate misservice to myself by remaining in the waiting place despite having finally gotten pregnant and instead of stewing in my worries and being bitter at the world and therefore feeling hopeless I think the answer (and this is for all of us) really lies within.

I think I'm going to print this out and put it up somewhere. Thanks again. I hope this post and the words you've writen bring you as much encouragement and inspiration as you have brought to all of us.

Jennifer said...

I love this, so well said. Here's to the bright places where the Boom Bands are playing and wishing we all get there soon. :)

Stephanie said...

Love love love. Thanks for an afternoon cry ;) So true, so perfect. As always you're such an inspiration!

Waiting Lisa said...

Beautiful.

I love you and your writing.

foxy said...

WOW. That post has creme de la creme written all over it. I just stumbled on your blog and LOVE (yes, capitals) LOVE your site. Girl, you are one talented writer and a brilliant thinker too! I added myself as a follower, and will be posting a link on my blog to this post. Having said all that....

Waiting is the hardest part of this journey. Waiting for diagnostic test results, waiting every month, waiting to save money, waiting waiting waiting. It has been the hardest thing for me to accept. And I have put so many other things in my life on hold while I am busy waiting. I posted a few weeks back about not wanting to make plans for the summer because I might be moving forward with treatment. How ridiculous is that - We don't not make plans because I might get the flu.

So anyways, thank you for this post.

Conceptionally Challenged said...

This is a wonderful post. Thanks.
Also, I'm so very sorry for your friend. I have lost a parent, losing my partner so soon afterwards would have been terrible.