“Mommy, get me some dessert!”
Nicholas stood at my right elbow. I looked pointedly at the pizza in my hand and back at him, but my coming-up-on-five-year-old is blissfully (or perhaps willfully) immune to messages sent via body language. Time for plan B.
“First of all,” I said, “that’s not how you ask. Second, am I still eating my dinner?”
“Is Daddy still eating his dinner?”
“Then you have to wait until we’re done. Sometimes you just have to wait for good things. Now sit down and be patient.”
He sat down, but patience was beyond him. As I returned to my pizza, he wiggled in place and then asked again.
In one way, I can sympathize. Waiting for good things is hard for anyone, and even more so for kids, who don’t have much practice at it. And yet at the same time, it’s a bit exasperating. It’s not as if there’s any question of him getting what he wants, after all. He knows very well that dessert is going to be served after dinner. It’s not like, for instance, the novel query process, where the outcome is far from certain.
Then again, waiting is hard for everyone who anticipates something good. The proof of that just passed us, in the form of Black Friday. I mean, Black Thanksgiving Thursday. All Black Friday’s Eve. Or something.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this annual ritual. Actually, scratch that. My feelings about the nonsense that is Black Friday/Black Friday’s Eve are pretty unequivocal. And yet, for the last couple of years, Christian has actually gone out as early as the stores offer their blockbuster sales, because the system forces the issue:
1. Sales start at a given time and there are limited quantities.
2. If you don’t get there early, i.e. during the Thanksgiving evening hours, the sale price may be valid, but there won’t be any stock to buy.
The choices are, then: go shopping with the madhouse despite the gnashing of teeth caused by your conscience telling you this encroachment on holiday is just wrong; or stick to your conscience and accept that you will pay a lot more for the item you were going to buy anyway, if you can find it at all.
We should wait. But we don’t.
These are good avenues of thought to pursue on the second day of Advent. This is a season given to us to pause and take stock of the state of our lives. Where are we out of balance? What opportunities for rest and quiet are we barreling past with the radio at full volume? And what things desperately needed for our mental and emotional well-being are we losing as a result?