Apr 29, 2010

Not my favorite virtue.

I'm not a particularly patient person. I believe I mentioned here, here, here and here how I feel about waiting. Let me summarize: waiting sucks. This deeply-held belief is what made it so frustrating to go through six years of infertility issues. It's why I had trouble with what seemed like an interminable recovery process after my car accident. It's why I wanted to scream at someone every day while the lawyers worked out our real estate debacle. And potty training Grace? Let's just say I did the best I could and leave it at that.

Grace. I realize the most important lesson I can learn from her, other than how to say, "I love you" with abandon to anyone and anything (including trees), is to be a more patient person. There is no rushing a four-year-old. When we walk to school in the morning, Grace really doesn't give a rip when we get there. Why should she? My impatience has everything to do with the fear that the teachers silently curse me for consistently being late and absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Grace might miss a few minutes of circle time.

I'm actually fine with Grace when we have no destination or goal. If I'm with her at the park, or tagging along while she rides her tricycle, or hanging out at OMSI or just farting around (literally—she farts like an old man), I don't have the same awareness of time that I have when I'm getting her ready for bed or watching her eat (torture).

The trouble I see on the horizon, however, is that she may learn—or inherit—impatience from me. She hits the ground running every morning and doesn't stop until bedtime, and I've noticed lately that if I don't hear something the first time she says it, she is enormously burdened by the need to repeat herself. Maybe this is just typical four-year-old behavior; I hope so. But she also has little patience with herself (very familiar territory), which makes me wish she could enjoy a few more years of carefree experimentation before she starts worrying about doing everything perfectly the first time. But I'm afraid that ship sailed a while ago. Grace is one of those kids who started walking late, but nailed it in a day. Ditto with talking—there wasn't much trial and error with Grace; she just started speaking in complete sentences when she was ready.

I'm working on cultivating patience where I feel it will serve me well, mostly with family and friends and, to a certain extent, myself. But I will never feel comfortable engaging in idle chit chat or waiting to hear from someone I miss talking to. I'm much more into making things happen than waiting for things to happen to me. I know that this may come across as pushy or controlling to some people, or even a little crazy. I just don't really care.

This morning I ran into a man whose wife recently died unexpectedly, leaving him with two young daughters. Although I had coffee with her a couple of times, I'd never met him and had no idea what to say. So I said nothing, but cried all the way home, wondering how many experiences that family missed out on because they were waiting for the right time. I'm projecting like crazy here; for all I know, they lived every day as if it were their last. But I've been living my life in limbo for more than two years now, and I'm tired of wondering what will come next. Life is happening every second of every day, and waiting seems a waste of time. I get it: I made some tough decisions and big changes, and I need to wait for the dust to settle before I can feel settled. I've no one to blame but myself for my restlessness, so I'll try to be patient a while longer. Really, I will. But I don't have to like it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you going to Viv's party? I didn't see your response. It would be nice to see you and Grace.