The other day, my son asked for my help finding a video online (parental confession number 1 for this post: my kids watch too many videos on YouTube. I'm okay with it. It prevents Mommy from spiking her coffee). I explained I would be happy to help him, but it might take a little patience. He looks thoughtful and says "That's okay, maybe Dad can do it", to which I insisted "I can do it! I can be patient! I swear!" He considers this for a moment and then replies "You know what, maybe I'll just do it." He's pretty smart, that one.
I would love to say my son just wasn't giving me enough credit, but the truth is, he probably gave me too much. My family knows I am not a patient person. This is ironic, because I spend a lot of time asking for their patience. The words "hold on!" pop from my mouth a dozen times a day. Mind you, they are usually uttered with a tone of voice that indicates I am holding on already, to my last vestige of sanity.
I used to try to work on my patience. I really did. It seemed like an important trait to develop. And for the most part, I was pretty successful. I do not get twitchy anymore when stopped by a train. I do not check my phone while waiting in line. I calmly sit in doctor's waiting rooms and try to figure out why the other patients are there. One might be fooled into thinking I have this patience thing down.
But alas, then I am required to put off doing something I want to do in order to assist one of my kids, or I ask them to do something and they suddenly lose their hearing, and I instantly turn into a whiny ball of resentment. A three-year-old at a birthday party has more patience than I do. It's not pretty, and I'd like to do something about it, but the problem is, it takes time. And we've already established that I don't like to wait for things I want! It's a cruel trick of nature, really, that to develop patience you have to have...patience. It doesn't make sense. If I had the patience to stick with it that long, I wouldn't need to work on it! So clearly, the Universe does not want me to have patience. And who am I to go against something as wise as the whole entire Universe?
To demonstrate said wisdom, the Universe granted me a husband who, while he is not any more patient than I am, is at least impatient in different ways. This means we can take turns pacing and complaining and eye-rolling. I consider it positive that one of us is being the sane and calm parent at any given time. Granted, the kids never know which one of us it's going to be, but that just makes the day more interesting. It's like our own family game, called "Which parent can we get to lose it today?" Fun for everyone.
On days when I have no patience, or nothing left to give, it's nice to know that God has provided me with other people in my life that have what I am lacking. I don't have to have all the needed skills to keep this family afloat. I don't have to be everything. I forget this sometimes, but thankfully God always sends me a reminder that it's okay to step aside, and let someone else bring their abundant skills into play. I don't need to have a lot of patience myself. I just need to be able to lean on someone who does. And coffee and YouTube. I definitely need coffee and YouTube.