for the love of waiting……

“Well….this is different,” I thought. I’ve done this sort of thing before. But as usual with this third child, the experience seems familiar and foreign all at once. So it goes with an evolving person.

We were late to preschool this morning, but I decide not to get stressed out about it, like I sometimes do. What matters more than being on time is being together. This is Mom’s Morning, after all.

And at our preschool, Mom’s Morning is a special time for moms to be with their kids at preschool. Snapping at my son to hurry him up so I don’t look bad in front of all the other moms is no way to get that started. Instead, I immerse myself in the process of getting there rather than the result of being punctual.

The teachers have an art project all laid out for us. Picture frames. But of course Zachary has to stop in at the bathroom to wash hands before we get started.

Instead of coming with him to move things along, I stay outside and wait. I remind myself his independence is more important than my desire for control.

We eventually find a spot and Zachary gets going on the frame. Gluing treasures on pre-assembled, brightly painted popsicle sticks.

He doesn’t seem to need my input. He gets lost in his project. I watch as he maneuvers a dollop of glue onto a stick and carefully moves it over to his frame.

His hand hovers over the wooden containers on the table, lightly touching each of his options. Feathers. Buttons. Shells. Smooth glass rocks. He is considering. This is his creative process.

He repeats the steps with the occasional rogue string of glue landing on his hands somewhere. He tries to rub it off, but remains unsatisfied. He excuses himself to wash his hands. He does not like sticky fingers.

He comes back to the table and focuses back on his work. He is careful, thoughtful. I fall in love watching him.

The second time he gets up to wash his hands (particularly sticky glue), I notice from my seat that most of the other children are done with their project and have moved on to other activities.

I feel a shove from the old me to hurry Zachary along. God forbid we don’t keep the same pace as the others. Then someone would have to wait for us. Although really, would that be so bad? What treasure might they find? What might you?

Advertisements

forever preschool

When will he finally get this? To be fair, he is truly doing an exceptional job learning. But even still, I find myself quick to be frustrated with my youngest son. He is all of four years old now and we are constantly working on the tasks of his life-stage.

Learning to not get his way and handle himself appropriately.

Learning to speak up for what he wants instead of whining or whimpering.

Learning to respect others, get along, and use his words.

And all the while figuring out who he is and how the world works.

Simple.

So why do I not have more patience for the poor boy? I am not in new territory. I have done this before. Twice. And yet there is something in these moments of teaching and coaching that reaches beyond this one child. Whatever it is seems to trigger a quiet desperation inside of me. One that is distinctly disproportionate to the four year old at hand.

Eventually, after one of the days of family togetherness that didn’t bring out the best in us, a light bulb goes on. I am not just disturbed by Zachary and his age appropriate behavior. I am also discouraged with his older brothers and the fact that they have not mastered the tasks of preschool yet, either. And I am disgruntled with my husband because he has not mastered the tasks. And while I am at it, I am completely stymied with the entire world for not mastering the tasks of preschool.

Which really, of course, all boils down to the fact that I am irritated with my own self. Because I have not mastered preschool either.

So my distinctly disproportionate desperation comes from the knowledge that no one ever truly masters these tasks. My son is doomed to live a life of humanity. And so are his brothers. And his father. And the rest of the world. And me.

I must have tricked myself into thinking these tasks should be easy because the age appropriate time to address them is when we are small. And my frustration only magnifies when I realize NO ONE has mastered these simple tasks, including me. The futility of the situation glares at me every day.

The problem is, the tasks I speak of may be simple but they are also enormous.

And so I have changed my mind. Instead of thinking the tasks are small because we teach them to small people I realize the tasks are just as gargantuan as they sound and that is why we start learning them at such an early age. Because truly, these tasks require a lifetime to even begin to grasp.

But I have to believe it is worth the effort to try.