Everyone knows the proverbial phrase, Patience is a Virtue.
Yes, yes. It’s a classic. But is it totally accurate? Or is patience more of a learned skill?
Patience is not my thing. I would not describe myself as patient. Especially when I’m sitting in traffic or walking the length of Super Target to find the shortest checkout line or waiting more than 3-5 seconds for my phone to pull up a website. Patience is definitely not what comes to mind when the rainbow spinning wheel of death pops up on my Mac. What am I supposed to do … just sit there and watch it spin?!?!?! Why did Apple make such a torture device!??
What I’m saying is I don’t like to wait. For anything. When I’m working out, I want to see immediate results. If I’m using a new face cream, I expect to sparkle upon application. How come contributing to my retirement plan hasn’t resulted in an early, comfortable retirement already? Waiting is the worst.
Before my bouncing baby boy arrived, I frequently said that I was too selfish for children. But I’ve realized that was incorrect. I’d like to go back in time and edit that statement. I was (and am) too impatient for children. It wasn’t that I was uneasy about putting another person’s needs before my own. I know I’m capable of caring for more than just me. It was that deep down I knew that I would have to wait.
I’d have to wait to eat dinner until the baby was settled in bed or playing happily. I’d have to wait to go for run until my spouse was around to watch the little guy. I’d have to wait to blog/watch tv/make a phone call/check the mail/do the dishes/etc. until he was dry/fed/napping/happy/playing/etc.
I’d have to wait.
As is obvious above, waiting has become an enormous part of my life. And for me (for most people) waiting = practicing patience.
As the little man grows, he’s learning all sorts of things which means that I am teaching all sorts of things. And I have to teach him over and over … waiting until he learns his new task. Basic things … like how to eat. Never did I consider that we’d have to learn how to eat. And that it would take time. And an extreme amount of patience.
Now, I’m no virtuous mama. There are times when, after having been blasted in the eye with pureed carrot, that I give up. I put the veggies in the sink and give the baby a bottle. And I still find myself leaning on my horn after the person in front of me has refused to start rolling forward even after the light has been green for, like, three whole seconds … sweet mother of pearl, just GO FORWARD! Sometimes I cannot practice patience.
But, overall, living on the little man’s time table has started to teach me patience. Seeing his face light up when he learns a new task or when he understands something for the first time is worth the wait. The meals where he eagerly opens his mouth for a spoonful of bananas (and then smiles) helps the frustrating vegetable experiences fade from memory.
My tiny dude has really helped me understand that sometimes we just have to wait. That learning something new takes time. That real results come from repetitive practice. Patience may be a virtue but it’s also a skill we all can obtain by practicing it regularly. It took nine months of waiting and the last ten months of learning for me to realize that.
Today I am thankful for beginning to practice patience.
What are you thankful for today?