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2.11.2012

Patience is a virtue


I think my patience with the boys is wearing a bit thin around the edges like an oriental rug that’s been walked over so many times you can’t tell what the original colors were. It's still there, it’s just not as vivid or fresh as it used to be. My voice gets a bit sharper, my fuse burns a bit shorter, and my expectations are higher.

We’re solidly into our third year as a crowded little household and things have settled into many familiar patterns. Expectations for some things are high (school grades, manners, safety...) and  lower for others (picking up after themselves, some coarse language we can’t seem to extinguish...). For example, one thing I find less patience for is their constant fighting with each other. I know, I know, it’s part of sibling life. I didn’t say it’s not normal or expected, I’m just saying I have less and less patience for it.

Getting them to show more independence is another. I’ve worked hard with the older boys to develop more independence and maturity, which they sometimes struggle with. I know you can’t rush personal growth but at times, it happens at its own pace for each person, but I sometimes get exasperated at the backwards steps they take.

Now we are  suddenly faced with a new wrinkle - a major illness that will create change, demand attention of its own, and force the kids to pitch in a lot more. There are so many variables here that it’s impossible to know how each of them will react and respond to the change in routine, being more housebound because I can't take them places, how emotionally available Tish and I will be for them, how much patience I will have left over at the end of the day, and on and on. In short it will change everything for all of us. Talk about a wrench in the works of an already fragile machine.

I wrote a few weeks ago about my surgeries changing the family dynamic and how we all coped. But that was only on a short term basis. This is huge compared to that and will have a major impact now and possibly for years to come. I can’t allow myself to be come too introspect from my own condition and lose sight of the family’s health.

Of course, how can I say it’s not about me when I’m the one with the disease? It’s this kind of paradox that contributes to my loss of patience and makes me realize that we are headed for a waterfall without any paddle. I can juggle a lot of things in life, find solutions to many problems and handle big changes. But in this I'm completely in the dark because everyone deals with illness so differently.

What comes next might try the patience of Job.