Patience: The ability to wait something out or endure something tedious without getting riled up. Having patience is the ability to remain calm. It involves acceptance and tolerance.
It sounds so easy, yet patience is something that I never understood the depths of until becoming a mother.
In 2011 I was in conversation with a friend of my husbands, an slightly older fellow, who has a son of his own that is well into his adult years. The first thing he told us after congratulating us on our ‘big news’ was that we would ‘now know the true meaning of patience’. Boy, did he ever pick up a thing or two during his journey as a father!
I love my son dearly. He is my bright shining sun on a dark cloudy day. There are no words to describe the love I have towards him! Please allow me to introduce you to the true meaning of patience, or how I have come to know it in my own personal world over the past 19 months.
Patience is sleeping on the wood floor of your childs bedroom all night long because your son wants to hold your hand as he sleeps. Patience is drowning out the mentally exhausting screams and cries of a child who thinks his life is in ruins because he cannot quite grasp the concept of asking mommy to pass him a toy he cannot reach, or does not understand that when another child just grabs a toy that it is not right to grab it back. Patience is having to get up off the toilet because your son is new to potty training and decides that he wants to “pooh-pooh” at the same time as your first potty break of the day in your one bathroom apartment….you know he won’t “go”, but you don’t want to deny him the opportunity. Afterall, you’ve taught him to tell you that he needs the potty when his body tells him he has to “go” to the bathroom.
Before having a child I would have described patience as waiting in a line up that seems to never end, or driving behind someone who cannot seem to figure out that the gas pedal actually controls the speed of the car.
Exhausted from horrible sleep I hear empathy screaming at the top of its lungs to me, “hey! you there? … while you’re busy being tired and exhausted what about your son and his feelings?” My subconscious was right. What exactly did my son see through his eyes when I was busy enduring the tedious, remaining calm & accepting, and tolerant? Indeed, he was busy learning the values of humanity that would define his own character in the years to come.
What my son saw was a lesson in devotion, and caring; He saw a mother who stood by his side during the night. He loved her so much that he wanted her to be there every wink he took to peek at her during the night. He was showing me that he cared. He was showing me appreciation. He was learning a lesson in respect; by politely asking for a toy that he couldn’t reach, or learning how to share with someone who he doesn’t even know. He was learning a lesson in independence; learning when his body needs the potty and asking for help to do so – showing me that my hard work and dedication was paying off.
As a mother, the definition of patience does not mean waiting or enduring. To me, patience has meant learning. Lessons for both my son and I that are not easily taught. Traits that are developed over time through the interactions of the world. Valuable lessons that both of us will use or cherish for the rest of his lives. My son taught me the real meaning of patience, and for that I will forever remain grateful to him.