The advent season has gotten me thinking about waiting, and has caused the above line to run through my mind more often than is pleasurable. Back before O. was a fan of television (was there ever such a time?), his dad and I would try desperately to get a half hour or so more of sleep in the 6:00 hour on weekend mornings by turning on the TV in our room. I'm afraid Blues Clues sunk more into our subconscious than our son's, as I still catch myself singing the music from the "waiting/patience" episode. "We gotta wait, wait, wait. What'll we do while we wait?"
It's been a year of waiting for us. Mostly, waiting for N. to arrive. I found out I was pregnant soon after New Year's, then had to wait through the winter, spring and summer months for her to arrive. We made it through record breaking heat and pounds (mine), and almost a month of being dilated enough to qualify for an epidural. Thankfully, her actual delivery into the world lasted a mere three hours -- we had spend so much time waiting, we were hardly prepared for her arrival, and didn't decide her name until nearly an hour after her birth.
We also embarked on a remodeling project of our lower level at the start of 2007 -- our contractor acted literally offended when we said we needed it done by O's birthday at the end of April. "How slow do you think I am?" he sputtered. He was painting the door frames the same day I was carving mini loaf pans of cake into a birthday train. We got so used to waiting for the basement to be done that O. still acts surprised when he's allowed to go down there to play.
For O., it's been a year of waiting for trains. Not at the station, though we did make an illfated trip to the local railroad when Thomas came to visit. Riding on the inside of a square passenger car looking at cornfields just really wasn't the thrill we had envisioned. More like riding in a car without a car seat. A bonus, to be sure, but not an up close and personal moment with Thomas. No, the waiting for my toddler boy has been for it to be "Christmastime" -- not for Santa, not for presents, but so that he can get his "big train" out to put around the Christmas tree. The "big train" is a real live model train, like the ones on the displays in downtowns and museums -- more a dad or grandpa toy than one suitable for a two year old. J. got a little carried away at the train store last year, and because I grew up with a train platform at Christmas, and the Lionels from my own parents' childhoods, I went with it. O. LOVED it from the moment we unpacked each car from its own box. He knows we have a steam engine (Grandpa's is a diesel), a flat car, two boxcars and a caboose, he has learned how to run it all by himself, and is amazingly careful with it. "You can't run it too fast, or it will jump the tracks, and you have a problem."
We did get it out for a time during the summer, and run it in a ring on the basement floor (this was a moment when the waiting for N. was getting a little unbearable for everyone). But the fake smoke smell is a bit too much for August, it really does take up most of a room, and because it is prone to damage, it has to be guarded carefully around children more used to Thomas and GeoTrax, so playgroups in the Small World are a no no when it's up. So, it's been in its box in the basement, a real torment anytime we have to venture into the storage area for something else. "There's my big train, Mom. Is it Christmastime yet?"
We made it through Halloween, Grandpa's birthday, the arrival of visiting cousins, N's baptism, and Thanksgiving. (This listing of important dates started in early October and was rehearsed at least once a day). So, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the waiting had gone on long enough. O, noting me carrying a load of turkey napkins and plates to the basement said, "Mommy, Thanksgiving is over? Is it Christmas now?" And the big train was brought up from the basement and took over the living room and O's life. He wakes up in the morning and after naps asking to play with the train. We monitor smoke levels, test the horn and bell, and now that the tree is up in the center of the track, make sure no ornaments are in our steam engine's path.
Best of all, Grandpa has also put up his "big trains" at his house, so the railroading doesn't have to end when we go on the road. And come Christmas evening, we'll be heading to "Grandma Choo-Choo"'s house in Cleveland, where an entire train table of Thomas and friends awaits.
So what do we wait for now? Well, ever since the introduction of the advent calendar, the arrival of Santa Claus. "And Santa will bring the presents for under our tree tonight!" "No, bud, not for twelve more days" -- and we count the remaining pockets again, and again later that afternoon, and later that evening, etc. etc.
We're also still waiting for N. to sleep through the night, if you're wondering. And to take a bottle. And for O. to go on the potty. Happy 2008!