Monday, September 10, 2012

Wanted: Patience

Someone said I had patience today.


If only they knew…

I can’t stand not getting an email response within 24 hours.  I don’t like sitting in traffic.  And as far as waiting for my computer to boot?  I wonder how many times I’ve been tempted to chuck it out the window.

But this someone and I weren’t talking about traffic or the computer.  We were talking about Sean.

And yes, maybe I do have more patience with him.


It certainly was not something I was born with.  You can ask my mother.  She always said that when they were handing out patience…  Maybe I got impatient waiting in line for patience?

Either way, it’s a virtue I definitely lack…except when it comes to Sean.

Oh sure, I have my moments.  Take last night for instance.  Last night was not one of those nights where you look back and say, “Gosh I’m a great parent!”

No.  It was yelling and screaming and utterly failing to understand.

It was frustration.

It was as far from being patient as I could have ever been.

But we all lose it sometimes, don’t we?

My patience was molded over time…over necessity.  When your kid is having a total meltdown in the middle of the parking lot or the store or just as you were about to head out the door, you have no choice but to stop and wait.  There is little else you can do.

Rushing about…stimulating your child even more…is simply futile.

And thus, you wait.  And you speak in calm tones.  And you try one thing after another, after another.

And it can take two minutes or two hours…maybe even three.

You just never know.

Patience is not something that is gently given to you but rather shoved into your hands and added to your little bag of tricks to help you cope with your child and his or her ever-changing needs and challenges.

It’s gained at that moment when you learn that fighting against the meltdown (I hate the word “tantrum”), against the texture sensitivities, against the hand-flapping and every thing else is a fight that you can’t win.

It’s learning…

Learning that it takes years before your child may notice someone when they walk into the room.

Years before they can dress themselves…and even then you still have to remind them that the tags – if they still exist – go in the back.

Years working on washing hands, using soap, tying shoes, crossing the street, saying “Hi”…

And then there’s school work…writing, adding, reading…

What about getting on the bus or even recognizing their teachers?

It’s all so much and it all takes time…lots and lots of time.

So if my patience wears a little thin every now and then it’s because I only had so much allotted for that day and it probably got depleted by the time breakfast was over.

Yea, patience…you may think I have it…

And I think I never have enough.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hold The Mayo, Have The Moment

All I can say is, “What a day!”

Actually, “What a week!” is more like it.

I went back to school.  College…at my age!  I’m too old to be a co-ed but I’m giving it…excuse the pun…the old college try!

Thus, the house has been neglected for the week as well as just about everything else in my life.  Today was a rare day off from my job and what better way to spend a gorgeous Saturday than with the hubby doing chores around the house.

We accomplished a lot.  It was great.  But it was also really hard work and I was exhausted before I even began.

And in the midst of all that, Sean got hungry.

After a long week of studying and a very long day of cleaning, organizing and cleaning some more, I just couldn’t muster the strength to make Sean a sandwich.

I know.

Bad mommy!

But seriously, it was a sandwich.  Two pieces of bread with two pieces of meat slapped in between them.  Smash together and eat.

No problem.


It was.

My exhaustion and the tasks at hand meant that I could have easily let Sean snack his way through lunch by grazing on granola bars or pretzels or anything else his fingers found in the pantry but I really wanted him to have something of substance.

A sandwich.

“Sean, make yourself a sandwich.”

“I don’t know how.”

My first thought was that he was being an obstinate teenager.  My second thought was, “Oh crap.  He really doesn’t.”

Oh… easy way?  Hard way?  Easy way?  Hard way?  My mind argued with itself.

I could blow it off and let it go or I could be the good mom and talk him through it.

I did the right thing, dropped what I was doing, and headed to the kitchen.

“OK, get the bread out of the refrigerator.”

He opened the freezer and looked in.

“In the refrigerator.”

He peered more intensely into the freezer.

“The one on the bottom.”


He retrieved the bread and I told him to take two slices out.

Then I instructed him to get the meat out of the drawer in the refrigerator.  He chose ham.


Sean took one piece and then another, practically throwing the slices on the bread so as to get them out of his hands quicker.

I knew the feel of the meat bothered him.  Disgusted him actually.

I decided to not say anything…no need to dwell or remind him of the unpleasantness of the moment.

The sandwich, or rather the unfinished sandwich, laid there on the counter.

Sean didn’t do anything.

“Take the other piece of bread and put it on top.”

He did as he was told.

“Now pick it up and eat it.”

Sean grabbed the sandwich.  He looked stressed… pain.   He casually held the sandwich down by his side, our new puppy Lola eagerly awaiting her chance to pounce.

“Sean, pick up your sandwich and take it to the kitchen table.”

He walked over, sat down, and took a few bites.

Then he was gone.


“At the table!”

With a huge sigh, Sean returned.  You would have thought I was torturing the poor kid with the way he looked.

Geez, it’s just a sandwich.

But it’s not.  It never is.

It’s bread that depending upon the day and the brand can be a texture that makes him gag.

And it’s meat or lettuce or anything else that is too slimy, too wet, or too anything for his mind to allow him to touch it, pick it up, chew it, and swallow it.

Let's not even go there with mustard and mayo!

It’s everything.

And today, in the midst of chores and clutter and Life, when I longed to say, “Gosh, I’m tired and in the middle of something, can’t you just make it yourself?” you all know I couldn’t.

It was more than just a sandwich.  It was a teaching moment.  It was a physically uncomfortable challenge my child had to get through.

It was the look on his face.

It was a million things.

And because of that, Life and exhaustion and everything else had to wait.

My kid needed a sandwich…

And I needed to be with my kid.