On Patience (and My Lack of It)

Recently, my three year old informed me on the way home from school, “Mom, I can’t WAIT to be a grown up because when I’m a grown up, I can go fishing and bear hunting (what?? I promise we are not bear hunters…) and go to work!” At first I thought, what a cute thing to say sweet girl. But then, I had this sudden urge to stop the car immediately and tell her to stop it! Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up!

That’s the problem though- the whole world is in a hurry. Me especially. I am, in fact, the most impatient human on this planet. I’m not talking about the kind of patience it requires to not totally lose it on my threenager when she’s insane (although no one’s perfect); eight years of teaching hormonal nine and ten year olds has taught me a lot of that kind of patience. I’m talking about the waiting kind of patience.

We live in a culture of instant gratification. One click can get you almost anything- a song on iTunes, a book on Kindle, an episode of Grey’s or This is Us on demand (or let’s be real, the ENTIRE series of Downton Abbey), and I hear there is even a button you can push when you run out of toilet paper and Amazon will get right on that for you (how did we ever do anything before Amazon?!). We barely have to wait for anything, and this attitude has trickled right down to our children. One of my daughter’s favorite phrases is “RIGHT NOW!” when she asks for something. We are trying desperately to teach her the art of delayed gratification and the virtue of patience, but are finding it a difficult task. I’m really no better. Sitting in traffic makes me crazy, waiting for food (especially when it’s dessert) at a restaurant is agony, and online shopping is downright painful unless it’s Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping.  Now, these things are somewhat inconsequential. But what about when I have to wait on something truly important?

When we decided to start working on our family, we got pregnant with our first right away, but when we decided to have a second, it took almost a year. I panicked a little, stressed that it was not happening on my time schedule, worried that something was wrong (it wasn’t). After the initial excitement of seeing the little + sign, pregnancy was the longest 9 (let’s be honest it’s really 10) months (twice) ever. And now, waiting on this new house to be built and the move to happen might actually kill me. But even as I type this, it occurs to me that I am constantly rushing to get to and through the next “better” thing instead of living in and embracing the joy of the present.

I’ve only been a mommy for three and half years, but I feel like parenting basically consists of a series of phases: the newborn-zombie-haven’t-slept-in-days-hair-not-washed-in-a-week-phase (we are in that now), the sleep regression phases, the mobile baby phase, the growth spurts, the everything-in-the-mouth phase, the potty training, the psychotically-irrational-but-then-super-sweet-threenager-phase (we are also here). Sometimes I find myself thinking, okay, this is just a stage, gotta get through it and onto the next one. But again, why am I in such a hurry? If I don’t watch it, we will soon be in the going-to-prom, heading-off-for-college phase and I will have missed it all.

I recently read a quote by Joyce Meyer: “Patience is not the ability to wait but how you act while you’re waiting.” I love that. How do I act? Usually pretty anxious and restless. Constantly in my head and overthinking, overanalyzing. Instead, I need to slow down and find the blessing in the waiting. Be present in the present. Not be in such a hurry. The other night, our baby boy slept seven and a half hours straight for the first time and while I am in no way complaining (because, sleep is life), I feel like the newborn-zombie phase might be coming to an end quickly. He is our last baby and of course there will be other sleepless nights, but next time he wakes up at 2am, I will make sure to snuggle him a little extra in case it’ll be awhile until the next one. Plus…this face…irresistible.

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Currently Reading: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Only a few chapters in, I am hooked. The writing is beautiful and the story compelling. I am a total sucker for any kind of historical fiction, especially WWII novels. The last one I read, All the Light We Cannot See, was such a good read. I’m hoping this one will join the ranks with books like All the Light and The Book Thief.

Currently Baking: Grain-free Zucchini Bread (recipe here) from Danielle Walker (again, she is amazing). We turned them into muffins though and doubled the batch to have a freezer stash (and added chocolate chips to half!) Another easy recipe that you can make with an enthusiastic toddler’s help. Heat and add a pat of Kerrygold butter for a super yummy snack.

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Currently Singing: “King of My Heart” by John Mark McMillan & Sarah McMillan. Whenever I feel particularly anxious or stressed, I listen to this song and peace completely washes over me. “Let the King of my heart be the mountain where I run, the fountain I drink from, Oh He is my song..” full lyrics here!

Thanks for reading and until next time, peace and love from my household to yours.

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