The Wait


I am not a very patient man.

That is one thing that I inherited from my father without a doubt. My dad will tell you to do something and before you get up to do it, he will be halfway done with it and asking you why you are dragging your feet. So you then understand that me waiting for something cannot be my forte. I get itchy when they start telling me to wait for anything. But this particular day I had to wait, whether I wanted to or not; I had no option.

This day was the day when we would welcome my daughter to earth.

They had wheeled my wife into the delivery room. I am not implying that I would have wanted to be in the delivery room either; I am merely stating that I was left behind. The doctor had intimated that this was ‘no big deal’ and that they would be done in under an hour. Well, now I know not to trust doctors. What they call ‘small procedures’ could turn out to be whole day major surgeries with ‘unforeseeable’ complications. I think doctors have seen too much of human suffering and agony for them to even differentiate between what is small and major in the medical field. What utterly shocks the layman does absolutely nothing to a doctor. They could get into theatre; perform an open-heart surgery on a patient while eating their choice of a Texas Burger and ice-cold coke from their favorite joint.

It so happens that what was supposed to be a small procedure ended up being not so small.

I reached for my phone from the depth of my khaki pants and pressed the power button. I needed to know what time it was. It was a little after 8:00 p.m. They had been in the delivery room for a whole one hour now and it felt like they had been in there for three hundred and seventy five thousand years. I stood up, then sat down, and stood up again, paced about the room, walked out down the corridor to the corner and back to the room. I have no idea why I thought that would have changed anything because it did nothing to keep me calm. I was nervous, very nervous.

I settled myself on the seat in the room. Kate, a friend, who’s also a nurse and who had been with us all the time burst into the room hands in her pockets, completely relaxed and unbothered. Just like a medic would anyway. I took a look at her and wondered how she could be calm when they had not come from the delivery room 10 minutes from the said time.

“Is everything okay?” I asked.

“It should be, I haven’t heard anything out of the ordinary, but let me go check what’s happening.” Kate said, huge smile on her face.

“See how ridiculous these medics can be? Now why would she be smiling? What’s there to smile about when there’s a woman out there giving birth?” I wondered to myself.

“Don’t worry, I am sure everything is fine. Doc is very good at what he does. She’ll be okay.” Kate said as she strolled out of the room and down the hallway.

Ordinarily, these words would have calmed anyone down but, see, I am not anyone. I don’t even know Mr. Anyone. I am me and me is a very impatient and complex human being so those words gave me about zero percent of confidence. I sat there staring at the white wall, completely helpless. Kate didn’t come back for sometime. I think she decided to just stay away until she had something concrete to tell me. A few minutes turned into another hour and at this time I was sure that there was something wrong. I knew that something had gone wrong in that room and they, in their effort to be kind and humane, were looking for a way to tell me.

I am a Christian, a believer, but for some reason, that day, prayer was very far from my mind. I was a nervous wreck. I was also a little upset because I couldn’t do anything about what was going on. It is a man thing. We love being in charge and in control. We love to fix things. We thrive at it even. So whenever life places us in a situation where we are not in charge and hands us a situation we cannot fix then we become helpless. And helpless isn’t good for a man. Helplessness can drive a man up the wall into lunacy. No man loves that. Every man believes that he is the meanest, baddest fixer of situations until he has to sit and watch or wait for someone else to handle a situation. I was in that kind of a situation.

I cannot tell you the number of times I wanted to storm into the delivery room. They were numerous. Kate came back to the room a few times to inform me that everything was okay and that they were winding up. I just didn’t understand why they were not coming out if everything was okay as she said. It didn’t help. I waited, waited and then waited some more. Hours later, Kate would walk in and say, “They are done! Come see your baby!” I got up, followed her in a half-walk-half-sprint to the delivery room. Wife was lying on the bed still very woozy. Doc was behind the curtains talking to the nurse.

“He’s here!” Kate announced.

Doc pushed the curtain away, and emerged with this tiny red human in his hands.

“Congratulations! You are a father to a beautiful baby girl!” He said.

He then stretched his hands and handed the baby to me. I had never held a new born. I had no idea how to hold one. She was fragile. I felt like everything in her was breakable-and it was of course.

“You’ll have to learn now.” Doc said breaking into laughter.

So I stood there, speechless, a concoction of emotions. I wasn’t sure whether I was happy, relieved, excited or still a little bit anxious. All I knew is that I was a father and no, I had no idea how a father ought to feel or even behave. I was just there.

On her first day on earth, my daughter made me wait. That became the first of very many times that I have had to wait on her. I have had to wait for her to sleep even when I was extra sleepy but she was wide-awake and unbothered. I have had to wait for her to eat. I have had to wait for her to relieve herself. I have had to wait for her to finish crying. I have had to wait for her to show me things that made absolutely no sense to a full-grown man. I have had to wait for her to tell me stories in gibberish. I have had to wait and I have a feeling that I have a lot more waiting on her to do.

The number one thing that fatherhood has taught me is patience. I have not yet fully found that fruit of patience but I can tell you for sure that I am a more patient man now that I am a father. Fatherhood will definitely make you a lot more patient. They come into your life take over, and you, you have to wait.

On her first day on earth, this pretty human, my daughter, made me wait, and suffice it to say, it was worth the wait.

  1. I have patiently read about being patient.When I grow up I wanna be a patient Dad, seemingly that’s all about being one 😃

  2. There is a lot of waiting to do. When you think you are done with one you find that you have another one to wait. You can’t wait till she goes to school, can’t wait to see her graduate every year, can’t wait to see her in campus, can’t wait to see her n her 1st job,can’t wait for her to get married, can’t wait to see your grandkids….you have no choice but be patient.

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