3 Lessons I’ve learned from time spent waiting for our kids


Before you have kids no one tells you that as a parent you will spend much of your time waiting.

As young parents we are always waiting – for the bus, at practices, doctor’s appointments, for sleep to finally come. When kids get older we’re still waiting. Waiting for the text that they made it OK, waiting for them to get up, for them to call. Waiting for them to come home.

It isn’t always easy to wait and my naturally impatient nature doesn’t help. At some point, though, I began to question this impatience. Instead, I thought about what waiting could teach me. Here are a few of the lessons.

I learned to be present.

When I would hear the hundredth rendition of Bach or Beethoven on the piano as I waited for my son at his lesson, no one would have faulted me for tuning out. But, how lucky we are that both kids love music! When my son was close to getting his driver’s license I knew that my time spent waiting during his piano lessons would soon end. So instead of reading during his lessons I made a pact with myself to be there fully.

I would slyly pay attention from the next room. I’d listen to the conversation between him and his wonderful teacher about a particular piece, about music history and music theory and of life in general. And while there was a big hole in my Monday nights once he drove himself to lessons, I was glad I paid attention and was there with him for so many years.

I learned to practice gratitude.

I was in my thirties when I became a mom to both my stepdaughter and son. It took me close to a year to become pregnant. Without a doubt both kids were worth waiting for and I’ll always be grateful to have them in my life.

When I was tired from work and I was waiting to have some time for myself, it took just one look from those big, blue imploring eyes from either my son or daughter. Yes, I would read to them! One more round of The Magic School Bus or whether or not we should let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. There’s definitely time.

When waiting at doctors appointments we’d sit and watch the silly cartoons on the TV and the fish swim in the tank. And I’d be grateful we had great doctors, insurance and were on the ‘well child’ side of the waiting room or that they had a treatable illness. Not every parent is as lucky.

And now, with both grown and living on their own, I’ll wait for their text or call. And I’m always grateful to hear from them.

I learned patience.

These last few years during the pandemic have tried all of our patience, collectively. We’ve all experienced the feeling of being trapped in our homes, of putting off plans, of waiting for everything to return to ‘normal’. What worked for me was to try to accept the situation. Accepting is the essence of patience.

As parents, even without a pandemic, thinking we have control over the schedule of any particular day is often only an illusion. Sometimes the bus is late. The school musical ambitiously runs over two hours. The new, preferred 4:30 a.m. wake-up of one tiny human stretches out the hours of the day for months. Over time, I learned to accept and patiently wait for our kids.

In late 2021 our daughter, who lives abroad, could finally travel and she arrived with her husband at Logan Airport. It had been close to two years since we had last seen her, with many canceled plans and disappointment due to the pandemic.

My husband and I waited at Terminal E Arrivals, eagerly searching the crowd and then finally saw them. We hugged, and cried and knew one thing for sure: all the waiting has been worth it.

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Hello, I’m Nancy! I’m a New Hampshire native and have enjoyed living in the Seacoast with my husband, stepdaughter and son for quite a while, decades in fact! I’ve been a software engineer, home stager, a school and community volunteer and a stay-at-home mom. I wrote a weekly running column for Seacoast Sunday/Foster’s Daily Democrat/Portsmouth Herald for many years and reported on road races including my dream assignments at the Boston Marathon. Not surprisingly, I’m an avid runner and am happiest outdoors! Nothing beats the sweet exhaustion after a long and active day spent outside in every season. Our nest is now generally empty with both kids navigating their own adult lives and my husband and I are enjoying our time together and with our two great cats. Motherhood (and life) is ever-changing and I’m adjusting to this new stage and reflecting on how lucky we’ve been.