Lately, I think since he really started talking, Sylvan has discovered within himself a new-found patience for “wordy” books. One such book, which we often find ourselves reading before bed (stalling tactic?) is Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go. At one point, the narrator advises the reader that life will occasionally lead to “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 the 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 the 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.
Boy, did that feel prophetic to me this winter. There I sat, on a frozen farm, waiting for a baby to be born, waiting for someone to want to work with us in spring, waiting for Sylvan to talk, waiting to find out if we would get into a second market, waiting, it seemed, for everything. Every decision we wanted to make–should we get bees again, since this bitter winter killed our hive?–what should I grow this spring?–how many chickens should we raise?–how many steers?–seemed predicated on unknowns or things beyond our control.
We were living in limbo, permanently liminal. It was driving me crazy. Well, the snow didn’t help.
But finally the snow melted. The dead, brittle world of winter gave way to spring, and I expected action! And then I didn’t go into labor. And then yet another potential apprentice did not work out.
Slowly, I gave up my long range planning, and began operating from day to day. Paint the tiny house. Till the garden. Take Sylvan to the park. When I stopped to look back, I could see that things were happening, but in such incremental ways that I almost didn’t notice. I did notice that I had still not gone into labor.
Last Wednesday I gave up, sobbing to Andrew that I would be pregnant forever, that I was starting to outgrow his clothes, that I could not sleep and that I just wanted to be through.
That afternoon, Caitlin called, to say that she would accept our offer of the apprenticeship, and that she could start the following Tuesday. I stopped by the Farm Services Agency office and submitted an application on the last possible day. Shortly after midnight, I went into labor. Less than three hours later, all of our waiting had finally ended. Alice Jane Barnet joined our family, and the season officially began (for me, anyway; Andrew would probably note that he’s been doing chicken chores for weeks already)
If Sylvan is any indication, adding another kiddo to the mix will not exactly simplify our lives…but at least we’ve left the waiting place.