Yesterday my son (B) – who’s eight – and I waited for an hour and twenty minutes to see a doctor. We weren’t in the emergency room or anything, we hadn’t been triaged to the end of the list. We had an appointment, and the doctor was an allergist.
While we spent some time working on his homework and some taking turns with riddles, we didn’t have nearly enough to entertain us as we waited in the exam room. I lent my son the article I was reviewing and he drew all over the blank sides while I caught up on reading. Soon all the reading was done, there were no clean pages left to draw on, and we were still waiting.
I was annoyed. My son was irate.
B: Who does he think he is?
me: He’s a doctor, and clearly a busy one.
B: You’re a busy doctor. Do you leave people waiting for over an hour?
[a thump as we hear the chart come out of the box, the sound of rustling papers outside as the doctor flips through it]
B (louder now, realizing the doctor is in earshot): He’s a jerk. Doesn’t he know we have other things to do? I want to go home. It’s not right to keep people waiting like this.
me: Shhhh! Take it easy. Be nice. Patience is a virtue. Come on now, it’s almost over.
[doctor enters… I smile, my kid frowns]
Here’s the thing: I wanted to be more like B. I wanted to have the courage to tell someone how unhappy I was. I was pissed that the doctor kept calling me “Jess” like we were friends or something. I wanted to drop the social graces and frown like my son. Alas, I didn’t.
What I want to know is if I didn’t because I’m the “mom” and know more or because I’m a woman and think I deserve less.