waiting for godot . . .

by mulberryshoots

Christmas, Faculty party 07-08 026This famous play by Samuel Beckett was written for two male characters who while away the time (and their lives) waiting for a personage named Godot. They don’t really know him. And it seems as though they don’t even seem to know WHY they are waiting for him either. Beckett objected to women actors playing the two character roles for various reasons, including the fact that women don’t have prostates, one of the characters having to go to the bathroom often during the play.

This metaphor of waiting for (fill in the blanks) is an appropriate one for us women too. In fact, I find myself waiting a lot: to be heard and be listened to; to do what I’d like to do before numerous other things have to be done first, and so on and so on. Lest you think this is mere feminine whining, let me say that I believe this kind of languorous waiting is endemic to many women’s lives. Everyone’s schedules around me are more urgent, more pressing. Once things have died down, no one has the interest nor energy to listen to what I’ve been thinking about or found out during my quiet time ruminating.

But I had an “Ah” moment today–not quite an “AHA” one and it goes like this. To stop waiting. That’s all. So simple, isn’t it? To carry on and volunteer to do things I’m waiting for others to do so that it just gets done. Passivity towards myself and the Universe (waiting for Godot) doesn’t help at all, I’ve decided.

I was taken aback recently when I realized that I’ve held on to my maternal instincts and created a garden path that I chose to go down, focused so much on my family, rather than letting go of my brood of successful and self-reliant children more than a decade ago. They’re having a wonderful time together. My job is done, I realized, way too late. How to compensate for lost time for myself is something I’d like to ask Mr. Godot about if he ever turns up!

My personal revelation is that it’s up to me not to wait anymore, for other people to tune in and/or listen and give some moments of their attention during a busy day. As mothers, I think we give our attention sometimes too freely. In the future, though, there’s no one to blame but myself and so I’m resolved to stop doing that. Stop waiting. Stop feeling bad for having to wait in the first place. After all, I had the best of intentions but feel I have overstayed my tenure as a helicopter Mom. Like the two old men waiting for Godot, there are gobs of women, I’ll bet, doing the same thing, every day. Worse yet, some of us don’t even realize we’re (still) doing it!