I want a cookie,” Emily said as Mom took cookies from the oven.
“Wait until they cool,” said Mom.
But Emily didn’t wait. She ate a hot cookie and burned her tongue.
“I want to play with it now,” she said while Dad glued a wheel back on her toy truck.
“Wait until the glue dries,” Dad said.
But Emily didn’t wait. She raced the truck across the rug, and the wheel came off again.
“I want to open my presents,” she said as Mom put bows on brightly wrapped boxes.
“Wait until your birthday tomorrow,” Mom said.
But Emily didn’t wait. As soon as Mom left the room, she opened her presents. Then she had no boxes to open on her birthday.
“Why didn’t you wait?” Dad asked.
“I hate to wait,” Emily said. “But now I wish I had.”
The next day, Dad took her to a garden shop. He picked out onion sets and seeds for peas and beans. “You may choose some seeds, too,” he told Emily.
“I love carrots,” she said, so Dad got a package of carrot seeds.
Emily helped Dad plant the onions, peas, and beans in the garden. Then she planted a row of carrots by herself. “We can have my carrots for dinner tomorrow,” she said.
“I’m sorry,” Dad said, “but you will have to wait a long time for your seeds to grow into carrots.”
Emily didn’t wait. Every day, she dug up a few seeds to see if they had grown into carrots. “My seeds aren’t growing,” she told Dad.
“How do you know,” asked Dad.
“I looked at them,” said Emily.
“If you dig up your seeds, they won’t ever grow. You’ll have to learn to wait.”
“I hate to wait,” Emily said. “But I love carrots, so I’ll try.”
Emily tried hard all summer. She didn’t dig up any more carrot seeds, even when the green tops popped up along the row. But she did weed the garden while she waited. And she swam and ran and played. She even learned to wait for other things—for homemade Popsicles to freeze in the freezer, for her turn to ride on the back of a camel at the zoo, and for lots of other things. She even learned to wait to talk to Mom or Dad when they were on the telephone.
While Emily waited, the plants grew in the garden. When it was time, she helped to pick pea pods, and yellow beans, and tall green onions. At last it was time for the carrots.
Dad showed her how to loosen the dirt around the carrots and then how to hold the green tops and pull out the carrots one by one. Emily filled her basket with long, fat carrots. Then she ran to the house to show Mom. “Look how big they grew!”
“Yes they did,” Mom said, “and so did you!”
“Did I get taller?” Emily asked.
“You grew taller and wiser.”
“Wiser?” Emily asked.
“Waiting made you wiser.”
“Waiting made me want to eat carrots,” Emily said, “so I’m going to eat one right now!”
“Wait until I wash one,” Mom said.
But Emily didn’t wait. She took a big carrot and washed it herself. “Now I will eat the best carrot I have ever eaten,” she said. And she did.