It’s 8.10 am. “Time to go!” I shout. My daughter Charlotte appears with her coat and a bag of music books. I’m driving her to town for a piano lesson. Gemma-Rose and Nora are coming with us. While Charlotte plays the piano, Gemma-Rose and I are going to walk the dog.
Nora leaps into the car. She looks out of the window and grins. She loves riding in the car.
Twenty minutes later, we arrive at the piano teacher’s house. Charlotte hops out. “See you in an hour,” I say before putting my foot on the accelerator and heading for the lake. Nora looks back at Charlotte and whimpers. Why have we left one of her family behind on the side of the road?
Five minutes later, we’re at the lake. When Nora sees where we are, she forgets about Charlotte. All she can think about is ducks and dogs and lots of scents. Her nose quivers.
Gemma-Rose says, “I’ll take Nora, Mum. You won’t be able to take photos if she’s pulling you along.”
Yes, I have my camera. I’m going to take lots of photos of Gemma-Rose and Nora and undressed trees and rippling water and circling paths. I’ll add them to my already huge lake collection.
Nora pulls Gemma-Rose this way and that as she chases the smells. Tail up, head down, she vacuums the paths with her nose.
I follow behind. Snap! Snap! Snap! I get in front. Snap! Snap! Snap!
Once around the lake. Twice.
Then I look towards the bush which backs onto the lake. “Shall we walk that way?” I ask. Gemma-Rose nods. We leave civilisation behind and head into the wild.
“I hope we don’t see any leeches,” says Gemma-Rose. I hope we don’t either. Do leeches like the cold? We don’t know. We hope not. Maybe all the leeches are hiding somewhere warm. It’s certainly not warm where we are. It’s not freezing, though. Just cold enough to make our faces tingle.
Soon we spy a wooden bridge leading over the creek. “You can stand there and pretend you’re singing May It Be from The Lord of the Rings,” I say. “You can pretend you’re Imogen.”
We’ve arrived at the scene of one of my daughter Imogen’s music videos.
“Mum, I want to take a photo of you,” says Gemma-Rose. I hand her my camera. “Smile!”
“I am smiling!”
I do my best. It’s a relief when Gemma-Roses decides she has enough photos.
“Now I have proof you were here too,” she says, handing back my camera.
I hate having my photo taken, but Gemma-Rose is right: If I’m not in any of the photos how will anyone ever know I was part of my children’s lives?
“Time to pick up Charlotte,” I announce. Our walk is over. So is our waiting time.
I’ve been waiting for 24 years. I waited for my eldest daughter Felicity to finish her gymnastics classes. I waited while she had swimming lessons. And then one day I waited while she learnt to play the clarinet.
I have waited while seven children did various things. That’s a lot of waiting. And I’m still waiting.
I used to get fed up. Until I decided that waiting times are opportunities for doing something special. Like walking the dog, and taking photos, and spending one-on-one time with my youngest daughter.
I enjoy waiting times. Do you?