Kittredge: On Waiting

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(Host) Though the lazy days of summer are upon us, they fly by more quickly than we realize. Through some external circumstances commentator and minister Susan Cooke Kittredge has been learning to relish every moment.

(Kittredge) I admit that I tend towards over-anticipation; I think ahead too much. In its benign form this is evidenced in the making of lists. Each morning I sit down with my little notebook and write a list of the things I hope to accomplish that day. If by evening I find I’ve made little progress, it is not beyond me to write something down for the sole joy of crossing it off: eat lunch, empty dishwasher.

When my husband and I were first getting to know each other, he was 25, long-haired and easy going with marked hippy tendencies. I, on the other hand, was divorced with two small boys and already an accomplished planner. Were I to lament that I felt I hadn’t actually done anything worthwhile on a particular day, he would shake his head and say, “I can’t believe you measure your days by what you have accomplished.”

Thirty-five years of being together has altered us both: he plans a lot, and I try and let go a bit more.

Many of us are apt to fall prey to wishing our lives away. We say things like: “Everything will be okay if I can just get past this presentation, treatment, wedding, family reunion, election. Once that is over, things will calm down a little.” We spend so much time looking ahead that we disregard the moment we are in.

The truth is that when the big “thing” is over we already have our notebooks out and our eyes fixed on the future.

This summer I have been learning to wait. One of our daughters is pregnant with twin girl,s and for the past almost nine months she has been told that twins come early. Sensing that they may need all the help they can get, she and her husband have asked that I be with them during labor and for some weeks after delivery. This is a great honor, and I can’t wait. Literally. It’s hard not knowing when this will happen. They live in New York City; so my bag has been packed for months. Every now and then I unpack it, shake out the clothes and repack.

I have committed to very little this summer; I keep my cell phone with me at all times, and I wait. Someone said to me yesterday, “I bet you can’t wait till they are born.” And it struck me that she is absolutely right: I don’t wait well, and I’ve spent too much of this glorious Vermont summer looking ahead instead of relishing the fullness of every day.

Though they are unborn, those two little girls are clearly enjoying exactly where they are, and they have taught me a lot. With other worldly wisdom they are not saying, “Everything will be fine once we get out of here!”

So taking a page from their book, I will float in the lake, pick basil and make pesto while the sun shines.

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