Killing Time in the Parent Waiting Room

A mom reflects on the hours spent waiting while her children pursue their dreams. 

by Michele Miller • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

It’s one of those Saturday mornings that is well worth getting up for, and I’m killing time in the parent waiting room. Being that it’s March, and I live in the tropics, there is probably a million things I could be doing instead. But this is what comes with nurturing the dream.

Not my ambition, of course, but that of the later-life, license-less, 16-year-old who has been gifted with a fine, alto tone.

Me? I’m just the chauffeur waiting it out in a windowless room while she’s down the hall belting out a jazzy "Blue Skies."

Déjà vu.

Yes, I’ve been here before; logged countless hours sitting somewhere or other while one of my brood chased their desire.

It is a waning sideline stance, prefaced by years anticipating the emergence of some innate talent, be it brawn or culture, or whatever else was tickling a fancy at the time. T-ball, basketball, hockey, soccer, karate. Music, drama and dance.

I’ve been staunch in my post – willing to freeze my butt off at the hometown skating rink or swelter pool-side through swim meets under a glaring, summer sun.

From the other side of mirrored glass, I’ve watched the ballerina’s darling, awkward dance. Sat in the lone, metal fold-out chair in a school hallway while listening to the eldest’s halting sax, and years later, a more promising oboe that wound up being sold on eBay when the middle child figured out that she had an eye for photography.

My later-life child wants to be a singer — like Adele or the late Phoebe Snow. A lofty goal, one that tends to draw deflating advice from well-meaning grown-ups.

“Make sure you have a back-up plan.”

“Ya know ya gotta’ eat, right?”

No doubt there’s forethought that goes in to living the back-up plan, but more often than not, a clearer hindsight reveals a missed opportunity.

And there’s something to be said for following a passion. Filling a heart’s desire is sustenance, too.

Just ask anyone who’s tallied wasted years or come out on the on the other side of 50 re-invented.

“Go for it,” I tell the youngest with the fine, alto tone. “Who knows what will be?

I feel glad about that on the 45-minute car ride to choral lessons as she sings "Poetry Man," harmonizing with Phoebe Snow in a way I wish I could. And later on, while I’m pecking these thoughts out in a window-less room when, down the hall, the door swings open and there comes the whiff of a song.

"Blues Skies, do I see. Nothing but blue skies, smiling at me."

Killing time in the waiting room, I am, and nurturing a dream.

It’s well worth the wait.

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