The Great Wait
Updated: Jun 13, 2022
Have you ever known somebody who's aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalways late for things?
A person who you have to lie to about the start times of events to allow for their inevitable late arrival?
My mother used to be like this, although she's improved dramatically over years. She's the total opposite of her parents who were always punctual. Grandpa Tommy used to push to be early. Too early, in fact. I remember one time when we had to go to a family party and he made us leave so early that we arrived at the hall and the room wasn't even set up yet. The tables had no tablecloths and the food wasn't even there. Before I knew what hit me, Grandpa had offered my brother and I as servants in the set up crew and I was putting centerpieces on tables.
For the longest time, I was convinced that my mother's lateness was a rebellion against my grandparents. I didn't think for one minute that a poor sense of time would be hereditary. I'm very similar to my grandfather in that I need to be on time for things, or at least a few minutes early. So, to make sure that this happens, I do my level best to leave the house at an appropriate time. I become very sad and agitated whenever my son is involved in this process. He puts me through what I've started referring to as "The Great Wait" every single time we have to go somewhere. Even if it's somewhere he's excited to be going to. For example, just a few days ago we had plans to go tubing with some friends of ours. Danny is a fish so he's psyched for any water-related activity. I thought that might give him cause to hustle when it came to preparing for our departure. But, as per usual, he was still in his pajamas 5 minutes before we needed to leave and I was forced to chuck his swimsuit at his face. We ended up leaving later than I wanted to and got stuck in almost an hour of traffic. Very sad, people. Very sad.
I try to take a proactive approach to dealing with this ridiculousness. On the day of any event or outing, I usually start by telling him that morning that we're leaving at a certain time. I lay out his ensemble for the day so I don't have to hear the whole nonsensical story of him not having any clothes.
As the time of our departure approaches, I give him warnings every half hour and remind him to keep an eye on the clock. I drop helpful hints like, "Start gathering up anything you want to bring with you so we can leave on time, "Get dressed now and brush your teeth so you're ready", "Please don't forget your deodorant" and "Make sure you're wearing socks".
I usually get a pleasant sounding "Okay, Mom" response and I feel some hope. I throw in one or two reminders because, well, he's a kid and kids need reminders.
I get annoyed once it hits the one-hour-before-departure mark and he's still no where near being ready. The whole situation usually escalates at this point.
The following is an example of a typical exchange between Danny and I when I need him to be ready to go:
Are you dressed?
No you're not!
I'm getting dressed now.
**Just for the record, he is most often NOT "getting dressed now".
We need to leave in an hour! That's 60 minutes.
Why are you yelling at me?! We still have 60 minutes!
Because yelling is the only thing you respond to! And no, we don't, it's down to 59 minutes. Let's go!
Then I make my exit and usually forget to close his bedroom door.
Can you close my door? (no answer) Mom? (no answer) UGH.
This is usually followed by him slamming the door and me returning to remind him about the disrespect of slamming doors in my face. Then I leave and finish doing my make up and hair. Thirty minutes later, I make another appearance at his doorway to check-in and when I see that he's still not ready...
Why are you still in your pajamas?!
Oh my GOD!
Get dressed. NOW.
ALRIGHT MOM! UGH.
At that point, he turns back to his computer and resumes his game or his YouTube video assuming that I walked away. I usually stand right outside the doorway and wait to see if he's gonna' move his ass. When he catches a glimpse of my shadow...
MOM! I need privacy!
Get dressed or I'm gonna' put my foot through your computer screen!
Usually this works for the purposes of putting his clothes on. Fifteen minutes before we're supposed to leave the house, I check for the socks, deodorant and tooth brushing. It varies from event-to-event, but it's usually a reprise of the exchange laid out above.
There's just one thing I don't get. Why does my child think he can get away without wearing socks with his sneakers? He's done it before and the shoes came back stinking like Fritos.
So, I have to remind him, and when I do:
I don't need socks. Relax!
That's usually the point when I lose it. The worst thing you can do is tell an Italian woman (any woman, actually) to "relax" or "calm down" when she's agitated by your nonsense. This is a lesson he has yet to learn. I'm hoping, for both our sakes, that he learns soon because it will save us both the headache and stress.
Sadly, I've had to accept that I'm always going to be at least 10-15 minutes late for things, because Daniel.
If I had to write a follow-up to this post, it would be "Lo Schiaffo" (The Slap). It would tell the tale of me and Daniel in the car, his pre-teen attitude, and the inevitable moment that my hand connects with the back of his head.