Patience Is a Virtue – Your Children Can Teach You That
“A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret.”
That night, as I sat in bed, another Mother’s Day in the books, I asked God to please, please grant me more patience.
Now I think I am a pretty great mom. My kids always come first and everything I do, I do with them in mind. However, I am by no means perfect, and like any mom, I make mistakes and question myself often. As I sat there reflecting on my day, I wondered “My patience is already wearing thin with two, how will I ever do it with three in just a few short months?”
My children are by far the greatest gifts God has given me. As I grew up I worried I’d never get the opportunity to know what being a mom was like. Being born with Cystic Fibrosis, I knew that I might face challenges. Many women with CF are infertile, struggle to get pregnant or their lung function is just too low to even think about trying.
But here I am, defying the odds at 31, with exceptionally good lung function, two beautiful children and another on the way.
The day started out perfectly. I got breakfast in bed, complete with an argument outside my door about who would give it to me. My son rode to the gas station and spent the insane gas station price on beef jerky and Red Bull and brought it to me. My daughter tried her best to do the dishes for me because she knew I was feeling under the weather and “on Mother’s Day I shouldn’t have to do anything.” I concur.
However, that perfect day quickly changed into me sitting with my dog, tears rolling down my face, feeling like a failure as a parent.
I decided to take a shower to clear my sinuses and get some relief from a, particularly awful cold. While I was showering, my daughter decided to paint me a Mother’s Day picture. I know it sounds lovely and wonderful. And it was, it really was. She presented me with the 2 picture and for a few seconds, I was overjoyed with another thoughtful gift. However, that fleeting moment of happiness didn’t last long.
See we have told her countless times that if she is going to paint that she needs to ask first so we can help set her up for the success of not making a huge mess everywhere. And countless times she hasn’t listened. My joy quickly turned to frustration when I saw her arms and her hands and a brand new dress covered in paint, and I knew my kitchen table would be no different. It didn’t take long before I started yelling. Asking her why she never listens, saying I was sick and didn’t want to clean up the mess, on and on.
The tears started to well up in her eyes as she stood there with her picture and I immediately felt like the worst parent in the world. Here she was just trying to do something thoughtful for me and instead of accepting that, I got mad about something that really didn’t even matter. I ruined her special moment by having a “moment” of my own.
I got her undressed and in the shower. I put her dress in the washer, hoping to salvage it. I got all the paint stuff put away. I cleaned up the table and the chair and the floor. Then I sat down at the table with the dog at my feet and I let the tears fall. I cried because, in a moment of pure and unconditional love, I showed a weakness that I can’t undo.
Sure she is only five and more than likely she won’t remember. But for a short time, my lack of patience broke her spirit. It undid all the love she was trying to show and I hated myself for it.
I gathered my thoughts, I dried my tears. Once she was out of the shower I calmly explained why I was upset, while also letting her know how much I loved the picture and apologizing for yelling at her. We were able to salvage the rest of our day. We all made golden graham smores together and then after all was said and done she cuddled up next to me while I watched Game of Thrones and fell asleep on my shoulder.
As I sat in bed that night I thought to myself what a truly wonderful thing unconditional love is. Regardless of how I made her feel, she still wanted mommy at the end of the day. She didn’t want to play in her room. She didn’t want electronics to keep her occupied. She just wanted me. At that moment I knew I needed to work on my patience then more than ever.
Before I know it she won’t want to cuddle or make me pictures. Spending time won’t be the best thing in the world. I know it won’t be perfect overnight, but these are not the memories I want my children to have of me or I of them.
My daughter may test my patience daily, but she has also taught me an important lesson in being present and remembering what is most important in this life.
It’s not the new dress that now has paint on it. It’s not the kitchen table or the chairs or floor that can be cleaned. It’s this. Her picture that she painted me today. A list of all the people in our amazing little family who matter more than anything else – “Skylar, Mommy, Baby, Daddy, Audrina”
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