“Be Patient With Me…”

“Be patient with me, Mommy.”

This is what Emma wrote on the airplane coming home when we were delayed yet again.  This was what she wrote after spending four hours waiting to board the aircraft, an aircraft that never took off, a plane that sat at the gate for another two hours waiting for the pilot to show up, an airplane that we then had to de-plane when that same pilot never arrived, forcing us to stand for two and a half hours in the airline’s customer care line, only to be told we would not be able to get home for three more days, oh and by the way, our luggage was nowhere to be found.  Oops.  Sorry.  Shrug.

“Be patient with me…”

There were tears and a struggle to contain the overwhelming feelings of panic and exhaustion.  Cries and fists that pummeled, teeth that bit, flailing limbs, and I was right there, wanting to do the same.  Wanting to lash out.  Wanting to scream and do something that would make it all go away.  Change reality.  Change these feelings.  Change these circumstances.  Scream.  Disappear into the screams.  Clench my jaw, grind my teeth, breathe, clench, grind, breathe, clench, grind, breathe…

“Be patient with me…”

“You’re impatient,” people have repeatedly observed and thought to tell me.  Yeah.  I know.  That feeling that begins as mild anxiety, builds into an almost impossible feeling of discomfort…  the feeling that if I don’t DO something, anything right now, I will die… that’s my impatience.  I get that now, though I didn’t always.  It used to be I didn’t know what those feelings were called, I just knew I would do just about anything to avoid them.

“Be patient…”

There’s an ongoing irony to parenting.  How many times have I admonished my children to do the very thing I lack or am incapable of?  I remember going to a parent/teacher conference at my son’s school.  He was in grade school at the time and the teacher made a comment about how he needed to work on building his tolerance for frustration.  I replied, “Yup, that’s something his mom’s still working on too.”  The teacher looked at me with surprise.

“Be patient…”  

I try.  I am trying.  But don’t use me as a model.  I’m not very patient.  I tend to be controlling too.  I don’t like when things change suddenly, I feel calmer when I know what will happen next.  I don’t love spontaneity, it messes with my sense of order.  And once I’m in overwhelm, once the feelings are coming at me so quickly, I cannot access my thoughts, it doesn’t occur to me to say to the person I’m with, “Be patient with me…”

But my daughter did.  My daughter was able to get in touch with what she needed from me during a time of heightened distress.  So who was helping whom in that moment?  Was I helping her or was she helping me?

“Be patient with me…”

Em & N. ~ 2010

Em & N. ~ 2010

12 responses to ““Be Patient With Me…”

  1. I should tell people to be patient with me. Thank you for teaching me and your mommy something Emma.

  2. I will be patient with you, Ariane. ❤

  3. In my experience patience is the fountain that connects me to a deep well from which flows acceptance, wonder, creativity, and astonishing growth for my son who dances in and out of the fields of autism.

  4. You just described one of my older daughters, Ariane. My poor sweet girl, NOW I understand you. I must tell her. And you, my dear friend, I now feel as though I have lived with you for an eternity. You and she are cut from the same cloth in your honesty and your humility; your intelligence and your beauty; your pain and your suffering.
    Love you beyond words. You are a gift to us all.

  5. You know, you’ve described me perfectly. My impatience is one of my worst character traits. I have a tendency to get annoyed about the littlest things! It’s a good thing I don’t travel because my head would be exploding and my mouth would be screaming at the scenario you described! And taking Risa through that situation? Forget about it!

    A big problem with me is that my pattern can go from impatient, to agitated, to a full on panic attack within minutes. And my panic attacks are bad. I’ve had several trips to the ER, convinced I was dying, when of course it was “just” a panic attack. People need to stop downplaying others suffering and I think the “Be Patient With Me” could be a world slogan!

    In other news, Marisa’s surgery is a week from today. She has a physical tomorrow, if all goes well, we’re on schedule for the 20th. My mother in law volunteered to spend nights there with her because she knows how much I hate hospitals, but I will be there every day, all day long, with only a break to pick up Jesse from school. I won’t leave until visiting hours are over and Joel’s mom has arrived. Joel will be there in the afternoons, he got the day of the surgery off and took off afternoons all week. It should be a total of 5-6 days and already I’m so nervous I feel like throwing up! I’ll be sure to text or call you and let you know how everything went.

    Anyhow, as usual, I love Emma’s words. They’re so brutally honest, they make you want to be a better person. Who can ask for a more awesome kid than that? 🙂

    Love, Angie

  6. She is simply amazing. She brings tears to my eyes. Her intelligence and honesty make me smile. ❤

  7. great lessons she is teaching us all ❤

  8. Love and patience, all the love and patience. Love is easy and patience is hard. Remember that while you are practicing being patient I will be thinking and saying it is good to practice being patient also with yourself. xx Love, Ib

  9. We had a rough day here too and this mom isn’t a model of patience either :/

  10. My day wasn’t as rough as yours tho

  11. I heard/read somewhere that the best way to help yourself be patient was not to think of all the times when you have been patient with someone else – but to think of all the times that someone else has been patient with you. Trying to do that helps me, sometimes.

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