I almost did it again today. That quirky tendency of mine to start a new
gigantic project when the ones around me are slow and frustrating.
This time it was in the shape of considering raising chickens. Why? Because they were there. The baby chicks we’ve been watching hatch this week at the preschool finally arrived (cue ooohs and ahhhs). And guess what? They need a home.
Whose better than mine? I thought.
And really, how could I pass up free hens?? All I’d have to do is
- spend 10 hours researching the keeping and care of this foreign-to-me animal,
- acquire a coop, chicken run, feed, and supplies, none of which are available within 20 miles of my house,
- grow money on the trees in my backyard to finance such an endeavor,
- swap out my kids for the kind that would actually help care for animals as messy as chickens.
Piece of cake, right? I thought. Let’s do it!
(Did you hear the crashing sound just then? That was me falling a hundred feet from my head-in-the-clouds pipe dream and smashing into concrete reality).
Because here’s the thing: I wanted to jump into one of my favorite quirks to cope with what’s hard today. Which includes about a hundred issues that are derivatives of words WAITING or PATIENCE.
- Our middle school daughter is still not passing her classes, in large part because who can do homework or focus in class when her hormones and bipolar have transformed her into a rabid, alien life form?
- I have my first book out now, and a new author marketing her first book is a process that puts molasses to shame on the slowness front.
- My husband lost his job three years ago, started his own company two and a half years ago. In. a. recession. That’s all I need to say there.
Once, when someone asked me at a dinner party, “You’re a coach, so what’s your best piece of coaching advice?” I answered: learn how to grieve well.
I stand by that one. Our culture doesn’t value, model or support healthy grief, and we need to.
What does grief have to do with waiting though?
Everything. Because when we’re waiting, we are grieving what’s not happening yet, what’s not happening at all, the dreams we’ve wanted so long we can taste them, the lifestyle we’re working toward that’s still just out of reach.
In short, the work of waiting is grieving what’s not here. . . yet.
What did that look like today, when I realized how annoyed I was with everything?
- Denial: We can totally handle this massive extra time, energy, organizational and financial sink.
- Anger: THEY (kids) can’t handle it and I hate that they can’t handle stuff that I’d love to do as a mom.
- Bargaining: If we made a chore chart and rotated week-to-week (and spiked their morning breakfast smoothie with listen-to-mom-without-hormonal-outburst vitamins) we could totally do this.
- Depression: We can’t do this. We will never be able to do this. . . or anything else fun as a family. Where’s the chocolate?
- Acceptance: This one’s not for us. Waiting for hubby’s business to sustain itself is hard. Sowing seeds into book marketing is tiring. We’ve got a while before teen years are done and that’s tough. But you know what? We do board game night really well in our house. And ice cream night. And bike riding. And those can be pretty fun substitutes on those please-God-we-need-breakthrough days. Instead of creating breakthrough with a new species of pet, and breaking down as reality dawns on me.
What about you? What do you tend to do to “fix” waiting? How might looking at it as an invitation to strengthen your grief muscles change the way you handle it?