If patience is a virtue, my general moral excellence has a big blemish on it.
At least I’m consistent. I’ve always been this way.
When I was little, I wanted to hurry up and grow up. I was told I was four going on thirty.
In second grade I finished three math books before the rest of the class finished one.
In junior high I got detention when I left class before the teacher excused us because I was done waiting for the rest of the class to be quiet.
I was the first in line at high school graduation and my last name started with an “S”.
The first semester of college I called my dad to cry about four years being too long to get a degree. I wanted to already have it and go start making big money already.
I felt I was very patient waiting for my husband to propose to me, but I did have a tendency to point out jewelry sales in the Sunday paper.
My husband believes the reason our son rolled over, crawled, walked, talked, and did everything early was because I put him through baby boot camp.
Unfortunately, if there is any patience to be found in my body, my daughter snatches it and smothers it, foreshadowing the teenager she will become if I don’t hurry up and learn how to do this patience thing.
But the worst was when I tried to commiserate with my friend, Maria Shriver, about the frustrations of becoming a published author and she admonished me like a naughty school girl with, “You have no choice but to be patient.”
Well, shoot. Why didn’t someone tell me this sooner? Maybe that’s been my problem all along! I thought patience was a choice and I just chose to stand in the line that was moving quicker. The one where you got on with life already.
I guess I already knew it, but Maria was just reminding me the journey in life is not to a final destination. The journey is the destination. So I just need to settle down and enjoy the journey.
(Exaggerated pause) Are we having fun yet?
? ? ?
Many times I’ve caught myself being in a rush for my kids to grow up.
And I’m talking more philosophical than just not wanting to have to change diapers anymore. Although no one can be faulted for wanting a kid to hurry up and learn how to wipe their own butt.
More like, I thought toddler years would be easier than the demands of infancy. I thought grade school years would be easier than chasing around a toddler. Now I’m finding the grade school years aren’t any easier, they just present a different set of challenges.
Sometimes I’m anxious for my kids to mature so they’ll understand things with a wisdom that buffers them from frustrations of inexperience.
Or I see the seed of their potential and I become anxious to see them blossom into who they will one day become.
I find myself impatiently excited for them to experience all those wonderful firsts in life.
But when I see that my eight year old son can almost fit into my shoes and we’re shopping in the young men’s section; or my seven year old daughter is writing songs about heartbreak and first kisses; and their step stool for the sink shows the dust and cobwebs of decommission, I feel like I’m being penalized for my impatience.
A lesson in careful what you wish for.
It makes me say desperate prayers of penance that I’m in no rush for my kids to be the next Michael Phelps and first woman president.
But thank you Lord, for whizzing me through those days of sitting in the Target bathroom waiting for the tinkle in the toilet and poopie in the potty.