As I was saying this brilliant statement and question to my daughter, I watched her almost 3 year old head cock to the side and just look at me like I had no clue what was really going on. And she was right.
The impetus for my frustrated sentiment was for the fourth time I had just barely rescued my bowl of flowering yeast from her little fingers as she DESPERATELY tried to prove me wrong that it wouldn't taste good. I had told her she could try the bread dough when it was all put together and she just couldn't stand the wait.
Being patient is, in reality, pretty freakin' hard.
The biggest irony about my ridiculous question to her was that if there is one virtue she very rarely gets modeled for her in our household, it is patience. Grant and I are doers. We see something good and move on it, sometimes realizing once the consequences start rolling in that our idea was only half baked. We didn't think of how our actions would affect someone else. Or we assumed we had all the information and didn't realize we had the picture on the front of the puzzle box upside down.
The silver lining to this impulsivity is that very rarely have we been asked to do MORE. We aren't often on the receiving end of communication where it is politely suggested that we aren't pulling our weight. Usually the group or individual has to pull us back down to what is reasonable. Grant just started a new job a few months ago, and before his first day at work told me that he was very aware of his tendency to take on more than he could handle and wanted to be judicious in what projects to take on and what to commit to right out of the gate. Not surprisingly, within a month he was completely swamped with work and still being pulled into more projects with individuals who had seen what he could do and wanted to work with him.
I respect this. I understand that he would rather be told to slow down then face a co-worker standing awkwardly in his doorway painfully suggesting that maybe he could, possibly, maybe at this point do more? I try to remember that I respect this when he is sitting across the room from me at 10p with his face a soft blue reflected from his computer screen. I try to remember that I respect this when it is the third night in a row that I am putting the babes to bed by myself and he is taking the late bus home. I try to be patient. But it is hard.
I try to remember this when Knox's teeth STILL haven't come in and he is just sitting in the middle of the room chewing on his hand, drooling and doing that sad panda cry that after 2 weeks sets MY teeth on edge. I try to remember this when Pursy is in time out for the third time before breakfast because she just can't connect that every time she climbs on the counter she will be reprimanded and plunked down on the steps to sit by herself. I try to remember that parenting children is a marathon and not a sprint and I need to be patient with myself and them. But it is hard.
I try to remember this when I pull on my jeans and make the daily decision if it looks better to wear them OVER or UNDER my post-baby(s) belly. I try to remember this when I look at friends of mine trying to keep weight on after pregnancy and breastfeeding, lamenting that they are smaller then they were in high school. Please forgive me if I just take another swig of my beer instead of sympathetically shaking my head. I have no patience for the belly that won't go flat, the lungs that won't let me run 5 miles anymore, and the muscles that after doing such amazingly hard work during pregnancy are tight and inflexible. I try to be patient. But it is hard.
I know patient people. I love being around them because they are like a necklace of fresh lilacs on a spring day. I breathe in their calm approach to life, their systematic way of thinking and their appreciation of the process rather than the result. I wish patience was offered as a short statement, like a class description on free courses from the local library. You could choose from Tai Chi, German for Beginners or Patience. In 8 weeks you could be proficient and ready to teach your own class. Look at me, I am your Patience Instructor. Learn from me.
The ironic thing is, that kind of IS my job description. It is my job to teach patience to Purslane and Knox- both by example and verbal instruction. A friend of mine gave me the brilliant idea to have Pursy count to 10 if she came over and interrupted me doing something and wanted attention. It worked so well for about a week. She would stand beside me and dutifully count to 10 before again tugging on my leg or requesting juicewater. I even convinced her that counting to 20 was the next step for big girls, which bought me another 7 seconds of conversation or herb chopping. But after a week or so she got bored with that and the counting turned into shout counting or speed counting, defeating the purpose. She tried to be patient. But it is hard.
The bread is peacefully rising in the dutch oven now- a beautiful rosemary olive oil artisan bread that I'm sure will be delicious and is a notch in my belt of expanding my homemade food repertoire. But it could have been a fun mother-daughter activity where I wasn't the only one proud of what she made. Pursy could have taken some ownership of making this bread as well, if I would have been patient enough with my almost 3 year old daughter and let her help.
Siggghhh. Tomorrow is another day. And if I am a teenie bit more patient with Pursy tomorrow, I will be content with that. And if I run a little bit further tomorrow then I did today, I will be happy with that too. And if I can greet Grant at the door when he comes home late tonight with a hug instead of a diatribe about all the slack I picked up today because he wasn't around, I will be a raging success.
That shouldn't be hard at all.