I admit, waiting challenges me. Waiting with patience? Well. . . though I try to appear patient, the wide-eyed anticipation on the face of the keyed-up kitty in the above photo expresses my feelings far more accurately. I still remember an incident from my childhood when I was forced to “wait with patience”.
Standing in my parent’s bedroom, I could hear my mom in the kitchen helping my little brother Jon count outloud. My siblings and I were playing hide and seek; I was looking for the perfect place to hide.
I spotted the freestanding cedar closet! No one would think to check there on a hot summer afternoon. I carefully opened the screechy, protesting door and peered inside.
The usual assortment of winter coats, along with Dad’s old army uniform, hung neatly on the metal bar at the top. Heavy blankets covered the floor of the fragrant closet.
Climbing inside, I was scrooching around trying to get comfortable, when I felt a lump in the blankets. Reaching underneath, I pulled out a book. Before I could get a good look at it, I heard my brother shout, “Ready or not, here I come!”
I quickly pulled the door shut and settled in behind the clothing.
Waiting in the total darkness, I felt the book all over—spiral-bound, glossy cover and pages, not too thick. I squinted my eyes to read the title but couldn’t. I wondered why someone would hide a book in the cedar closet.
Just as I considered moving closer to the light seeping in around the door, I heard my brother enter the room. I kept completely still, holding my breath when he opened the closet door and peered inside. My mother’s long winter dress coat secreted me from view. Jon only took a quick glimpse before slamming the door and running out of the room to search elsewhere.
The door now stood ajar. With my brother busy for the moment, I took the opportunity to read the title: Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls.
Why was a kids’ cookbook hidden in my mother’s cedar closet in August? My sister’s June birthday had just passed and mine wasn’t till March. Jon’s birthday was fast approaching, but he couldn’t even read, let alone cook! And Christmas was months away!
Unable to wait any longer I climbed out of the closet, clutching the book to my chest. Completely forgetting the game, I ran downstairs to question my Mom about my discovery.
“Look at the book I found in the cedar closet. Whose is it? Why was it in there?”
Hands on her hips, Mom rolled her eyes and asked irritably, “Do I have to stick everything up my butt to keep you kids from finding it?”
Immediately on the defensive, I retorted, “I wasn’t looking for it on purpose! We were playing hide and seek! When I hid in the cedar closet, I found it under the blankets. Whose is it anyway?”
“Yours!” she stated, blowing out her breath in frustration. “It was supposed to be for Christmas!”
I stared at her in wonder. Mine? For Christmas?
“Cool! Can we make something out of it for lunch?” I asked, flipping through the pages and loving the new-book smell that wafted up.
Finally noticing that Mom wasn’t answering, I glanced up. Uh oh. Mom was not happy. I asked, “Or . . . should I . . . put it back?” thinking how nice it would be if she told me I could just keep it.
“Yes!” she said, stirring the pan of spaghetti sauce a bit too vigorously. Wiping the dishcloth over the top of the stove, she added, “You’ve ruined the surprise, but you’re still going to have to wait till Christmas to read it.”