The Long One

Long ago in a small Illinois town, there existed ONE pediatric dentist. The services provided were nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately the waiting room left much to be desired…this is a true story.


She opens the glass door and ushers her four kids inside. Almost at once, the rank humidity envelopes them. Simply put, it reeks. 

“Ewwww-what stinks?” asks Mr. Nine year old, holding his nose. Misses Seven and Eleven, eyes scrunched shut, make gagging sounds. 

 “Oh. My. Gawd! Who pooped?” asks Ms. Fourteen disdainfully. And loudly.

She scopes out the dentist’s crowded waiting room and finds someone familiar. Another mom of four reading a book. Carefully making her way across the too small space, she crouches on the floor-the only available spot left. 

Eyeballing her brood, she issues a one word instruction, “Sit.” They drop to the floor, knowing better than to argue for once. Looking up at her friend she asks, “How long?”

Trying to push limp bangs away from her eyes, Mrs. Friend answers, “We’re almost done, but we’ve been here 2 1/2 hours. He’s behind.”

Audibly sighing she asks, “Who filled the diaper?”

“Lady by the magazine rack. They told her where the bathroom was, but she was afraid if she took her kid to change him, she’d lose her seat. Receptionist finally made her go-” From somewhere in the back a child’s screams interrupts Mrs Friend’s poopy pants story.

Three children suddenly spill into the waiting room clutching new toothbrushes. They quickly locate Mrs. Friend. “Mom, mom, we’re done. Can we go now? Pleeeasse?”

“We have to wait for your brother,” she says, giving them ‘the MOM look.’ “He’ll be done soon. I heard him screaming.” Soon, a teary-eyed three-year old staggers out. Thrusting his new toothbrush at his mom, he tugs her hand trying to drag her out the door and into the fresh air.

Smiling your good-bye, you quickly claim Mrs. Friend’s seat, and dig into your bag for something to read. It’s gonna be a long one….

I know you. I really do. See, I was that woman. Back then, I waited at the dentist  and a myriad of doctors’ offices. I froze in my car when some team’s practice ran over. I waited patiently while the volunteers had to move the hurdles farther apart at the track meet. And then back again.

But that was then. Waiting has taken on a different tone these days. Instead of holding small hands at the dentist, I now hold older hands at the doctor’s. Waiting, just waiting to be called, or for results, or….

I write for you. I write stories for women who need a vacation but can’t leave the room. I write for those of us who need to leave it all behind, at least for a little while.

And I write for me too.





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