During one of our first visits home, when Tori was a baby, my mom smiled at me and said, “I’ll bet you never knew you had this much patience, huh?”
At the time I looked at her and smiled, feeling proud that I had in fact matured enough to earn such praise from my mom. Because praise it was—I’m not known for my patience. Or at least I hadn’t been.
And sometimes? I think I actually have learned to be patient. I can let Tori’s shenanigans roll off my back. Stay calm in the face of a drama-filled temper tantrum. Show her how to put on a sock again and again and again.
But then there are all those other times. Times like tonight.
I’m tired. God awful tired. I’ve been up almost all night, two nights in a row.
And Tori? She’s kind of sick. Sick enough to stay home today, forcing Brian and I to juggle work schedules and re-schedule meetings—tagging each other in the childcare hand off midday. Sick as she is though, she didn’t take a nap.
So she’s tired too. And overly emotional because of it.
But as tired as she is (or was, I guess, since she’s finally asleep), the minute we finished reading her third book—her third, impossibly long book—and turned out the light, she got her second wind. Just as she always does.
A second wind that has her leaping around the room, singing and twirling and laughing like a wild woman.
It’s funny for about, oh two minutes.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end in two minutes. It goes on for as long as I’ll let it. And now that I can’t just make her get her in her crib, my only alternative is to close the door (effectively locking her in), and refusing to come back until she says she’s ready for bed.
But it doesn’t end there either. Nope, she just continues where she left over as soon as I re-enter the room.
Tonight I had to put myself in time out.
It was either that or literally scream at her.
Where was that supposed patience of mine? She was just being a kid. Just having fun.
I sat there in the hall, letting her cry, until I could be calm again. Then I went back in, and my now red-faced child crawled meekly into bed.
Then she pulled me close and said, “I love you, mommy. You’re the best mommy in the whole world.”
Oh, the guilt. The fucking guilt.
Wanting to cry, I just kissed her and said, “I love you too, baby. You’re the best little girl in the whole world.”
What else could I do?
Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to find that patience that made my mom so proud again.
I hope so.