advent ii: waiting

I sit in the rocking chair and listen to Atticus whisper to himself about his toys and his blankets. On nights when I don’t have my phone to distract me, I take in every sound until his breathing finally slows. He names people he knows (Mama, Daddy, Grammy, Jesus, Obama). He sings songs. He rolls around until he is settled. My job is simply to wait. He is like me, I think. We tell ourselves stories in order to sleep.

I don’t mind sitting in the rocking chair, but I was less comfortable over the weekend as I waited for the misery of the stomach flu to end. I wrapped myself in a blanket on the floor of my closet and I sipped ginger ale and I slept fitfully. I did not think about what was coming next, did not dare to hope for it to be over. I simply waited for it to end. My friends entertained me via text messages, telling me stories to provide relief.

We talk about the expectant kind of waiting during Advent, but it also seems like a fitting time to acknowledge that a lot of times we don’t know what we are waiting for or how long it might take to come to pass. One of those ways we pass the time is to tell our stories, to remind ourselves of where we have been even as we cannot know where the path ahead is taking us.

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