When crossing a street, it’s prudent to look both ways first. As adults, we know that this is so that we don’t get hit by oncoming traffic. We normally do not see this as an inconvenience, yet children and dogs seem to disagree. They want to be where we’re going NOW!
When walking my two dogs, Hunter and Bigos, we often come to a cross section where there’s a bit more traffic. It’s a wide road, with cars coming from three directions, around the corner, and often speeding. Depending on my peripheral vision is not enough; I have to pause long enough to truly assess that there is no danger to me or the dogs before we proceed. Except they don’t seem to understand that.
I say “stay”, and I need to keep repeating the command until we can proceed. I wonder what they’re thinking as we stand there for seemingly no reason. Do they wonder if they’re being punished? Do they think that maybe I forgot where we were headed? And when one car passes, and I don’t immediately proceed, do they bemoan why they have to let 5 cars pass today, when yesterday they only had to let 1 car pass?
Sounds silly? But don’t we do the same thing? When we come to a fork in the road, how many times do we want to just jump in and keep moving, but we are being held back and forced to wait it out? As we notice having dodged one bullet, do we eagerly anticipate moving on right away, and do we get confused when we need to keep waiting even after the second, third, fourth challenge is overcome? Maybe sometimes we feel like just turning around and walking back, rather than continuing to wait for a time unknown to us?
As Alex and I have journeyed towards parenthood over the last 6 years, I have often felt like my dogs probably feel when we wait at that corner. At first, I didn’t understand why we had to wait at all. Having children is a good thing, so why would we have to wait to have them? Then, as we experienced 4 birthmothers changing their minds, I reflected on all the things we learned through those experiences, things we never would’ve learned any other way. “Aha!” I think, “that’s why we had to wait, to learn those lessons. Ok, great, NOW we’re going to be parents.” But alas, two more years go by, and even more challenging obstacles come our way, and at each interval, I think the same thing: “Now, God will decide that we are ready.”
I don’t know why we’ve been asked to wait for so long. I don’t know how many more figurative cars have to pass before we are allowed to cross to the side of parenthood. For all I know, though, we may have timed our journey during a parade, and perhaps we should set up folding chairs and, for the time being, forget about crossing and instead enjoy watching the floats go by?