In the Meantime: Significant Gaps

When I was growing up, I was very close to my cousin. We are one year apart in age and he and his sister, my other cousin lived in Chicago, and we lived in St. Louis. I thought he was amusing, he still is, and I enjoyed his company immensely. One of the fun things we liked to do together was to play ping pong. My parents had a ping pong table in our basement, and he and I would go down to play for long periods of time. Sometimes we would start playing a different kind of game where we would hit the ball back and forth over the net and see how many times we could hit the ball without missing. I remember we would get on a roll and couldn’t miss so we would turn in circles and hit the ball and still keep on going. Now we didn’t spike the ball; we were hitting it back and forth fairly easily. Once we hit the ball over two thousand times before one of us missed. That was the silly kinds of things we would do together.
His sister and I didn’t get along as well, and in fact, she had trouble getting along with most people. She had a very difficult time in life and never was really able to live a full and happy life. My father tells a story, which my cousin can corroborate about a conversation my father had with my cousin's father, my uncle. This story is an example of in the meantime. My dad asked my uncle about his daughter and her struggles. He, my uncle, was very close to his son and was there helping him to succeed in life. And my cousin agrees that his dad was there for him and he was very close to him. My other cousin loved her dad but felt very alone in life. When she was older, a young adult, she went to live with her dad for a while, but he wasn’t there for her when she was young in the way he could and did support his son.
My dad asked him about this and asked him why he couldn’t be there for his daughter in the way he was for his son. He answered that he was there and helped his son to grow up, and when he was grown, he would then do the same for his daughter. So my dad asked him had he thought about what his daughter would do in the meantime while she was growing up…? My uncle responded that he had never thought about that.
So there was a significant gap in time where she needed support and direction, and her dad was busy getting her brother through while she had to wait and live in the meantime. What was she supposed to do during those years, just find her way? He had never thought about that. He meant well, and in the meantime, she was floundering. To me, this is a fascinating example of the meantime period. What do we do when we need something and are having to wait until we can, or someone else can provide for us what we need to grow, to live, to be happy?


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