Sometimes all the patience is sucked out, like a Hoover that tirelessly lives up to its brand. Or perhaps like my new LG- promising that life will be good when you use the label. But when air is emptied from within, like a sucker punch to the gut, and all patience, understanding, joy and hope follow its descent, one is left wondering. Is life all that good after all? And what about it is so good, anyway?
I was rushing again. As I have done every other morning this autumn. Trying to stay ahead of the game, living life like it is a problem to fix. A strategy game to outwit. And here it is, almost ‘go time’. That dreaded time of day where all spill out onto the walkway and rush hither, thither and yon like a jar of upset marbles. So you can understand why I am just now hollering to children to steer clear of the bathroom, right? It is my turn. I am mother, hear me roar. And don’t I deserve a few minutes of alone time in here?
In my transit, I forget a thing or two. En route to retrieve a mug of coffee and other odds and ends left lying on counters and chairs, I pass by Husband and my two youngest daughters. He is holding Little One on his lap, and the bigger Sister is draped over his shoulder. Youngest, softly whimpering, appears to have yet another headache. And, yes, I am ashamed to say I think it: “Oh please don’t let her be sick. Not now. I haven’t got time for this.” I rush quickly past the trio and on up the stairs.
I have things to do! Places to be! I don’t have time for this speed bump today.
But she is suffering and needs some loving and cuddling. TLC. And sometimes daddies do it best. Husband calls for the Tylenol. I rummage through bathroom shelves, overcrowded with products I thought I needed, along with those I just bought for the smell of it. And then. I turn and move like the house is on fire. I know there is precious little time to make a quick judgement call on whether or not this ‘one’ deems a sick day home with mom. Or not. For if this is a false alarm, I am late for work. Again.
Turns out, I will be calling in for a substitute today. But before she arrives, I make a grand entrance, sheepishly pulling in late for work again. Lesson plans inside my head, not yet on the page where they need to be. I arrive just after the first bus pulls into the parking lot. This, just great. I pull my own darling children ahead with me and scurry into the school. But first, I am asked at the door, “Would you walk this little one to class?” She who is shy and a wee bit homesick. But of course I will.
And I start to feel it. The patience slowly calling me through the fray. Calling me to slow down. Breathe. Focus. Relax.
I try to exercise extreme patience. At the very least, I breathe. Another little fellow stops me cold in my tracks; he has a toy to show me but has forgotten the part of the story which tells me where he has purchased this delightful object. It takes painful minutes for him to remember what it was he would like to say. I smile, and wait. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. I work very hard at scrounging up a bit more of that elusive patience. And when all have been greeted and welcomed to another day, I rush back to my hide-out in the corner, while my competent Educational Assistant helps to deflect attention away from the derelict teacher hunched over her computer. It, a battalion and I the soldier readying for war. I type, one key at a time, striking them in reckless abandon. I know not what I write this morning; I cross my fingers that this will all make sense to the one who must use it like a map.
Another little lady has located me back here in my bunker. And I remember. She needs a little extra understanding today, for yesterday her belly was sore at school. A case of the Kindergarten Butterfly Syndrome (a.k.a. anxiety and stress). She needs me today, if for but a moment. I reassure her that I will have everything looked after for her, just as she needs me to do. So as to ease her worries. I feel it coming back to me. Like a long lost friend, a beloved companion.
Patience has returned, along with a little understanding, to boot.
It takes longer than expected to finish my planning, and wait for the sub to arrive. And there are other pressing concerns in the office and people to confer with in the hallways. Pressing concerns. Always calling to me, wanting a piece of me. I forget to photocopy another item and rush out to my van for the book. And I start to unravel. I need to go to my baby. I feel the urgency to pick up the tempo.
When I arrive to get her at Grammie’s house, she has just woken up. The headache is still there, so we will make a trip to the hospital for reassurances. Grammie reports that she asked for me upon opening her eyes, and for a brief pause, the guilt sets in. I reach for her then, and choose instead to feel weighed down with little graces. The joy of children. The fullness of these moments. The gift of being here, for today. And for now, I am where I need to be. With the child that teaches me of grace and joy and patience. And love. For this very moment, I have the patience of Job, the understanding of Solomon. The hope beyond hope that good things will come to those who stay and wait a while.
For I am finally where I need to be. With whom I need to be with for today. And for these precious, fleeting moments, this grace allowed for me today is again: enough.