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Patience is…

I’ve never had my patience tested as often and as prolonged as I do these days. But then again I don’t think I ever quite knew what patience was before I had kids. Now, I feel like an expert.

Patience is…

…taking ten minutes to go up the stairs with your children because they want to stop to play every two stairs.

…letting them hold the spoon during lunch when it takes them twice as long to eat and three times as long to clean up.

…watching your child dump her plate of food onto the floor.

…watching your other child copy the first child.

…spending approximately 11% of your day looking for binkies and sippy cups while your children are anything but patient.

…taking your child’s diaper off every 10 minutes because they tell you they want to pee on the potty but really they probably just want to feel the cool breeze down there for a few minutes.

…a forehead slap because you thought that last request to sit on the potty was a bluff but you were proved wrong.

…two toddlers fighting over two identical straws.

…being woke in the middle of the night. Again.

…wake up calls at 5am.

…seeing clothes get spilled on, ten minutes after they’re put on.

…seeing your clothes get spilled on five minutes after you put them on.

…smelling a dirty diaper five minutes after a fresh one was just put on.

…when you’re out of the house and your cracker/snack/treat stash runs out.

…being “on” during your children’s every waking minute.

…fishing out dog food from the dog’s water bowl for the fifth time in one day.

…surviving the nightly witching hour.

…surviving tantrums.

…seeing toys scattered all over the living room after they were just picked up and put away.

…reacting to all these situations in loving ways.

Patience is practiced again and again, all day long. And when I think I’m at the bottom of my supply, Karson and Lucy flash that smile, with their head tilted to the side. Maybe their shoulders are shrugged a little. They know it makes me melt. They’ll wrap their arms around my neck and squeeze to let me know they really do love me and they are glad I’m patient with them.

There are also the times when they’ll squeal with glee when they finally overcome that thing that was causing so much frustration, often for the both of us. I beam with pride. These moments, filled with love, restore my patience.

And then after they’re tucked in bed for the night, I sit down with a sense of accomplishment and a touch of relief. It only lasts for a moment though because before long, I already start to miss them. I think back at the times when maybe I could have been more patient and then I practice patience one more time, with myself. Because just like them, I’m learning and growing too.