It's like the high jump event in the Olympics: almost anyone I know could have a go at jumping 30 feet off the ground over a horizontal pole. But who is going to make that a reality without spending years in training and practicing hours every day? Not many people. There was a show on MTV that we watched in Germany called "Made" that expressed this idea perfectly: someone came on the show with a grandiose desire to see fulfilled in their life--one girl wanted to be a BMX star, another an opera singer, another a ballet dancer, etc. They had to work and train and practice and usually have a breakdown before their dream started to become reality.
I was thinking about this this morning as I was feeding Adam his cereal (he's perfectly capable of feeding himself finally, but today I had already dressed him for school, and since "food" equals "body paint" in Adam's mind, I was taking the easy and less messy option). Adam is going through another facial fad right now--putting his hand on my mouth frequently, either as a way to make a connection, or maybe to tell me to stop talking so much! He does it frequently, as in once a minute at least. Say I'm with him 6 hours on any given school day, and just for grins let's say there are 60 minutes in an hour...you get the frequency we're talking about. He's apparently doing it at school too, and made one of his poor fellow pupils so agitated the other day that they wouldn't eat their lunch! Obviously it's time to work on this little eccentricity.
I know from previous phases that Adam does these things for a while and then stops. Usually, though, by a "while" I mean half a year or so. If you want me to do the calculations for how many times I'll have his grubby hand on my mouth between now and Christmas I will, but it might make me swoon.
As I'm feeding him, and fending off his hand every minute, as gently as I can, it occurs to me that I've learned a little bit of patience in my time, more precisely in the last 6 and a half years since I had kids. I've learned that doing something over, and over, and over again for or with Adam does eventually have an impact. If I can hang on long enough. It's not consistent, and there are so many times I've lost my rag with him that I'm ashamed of, but patience as a muscle in my life is slowly getting stronger.
I say this primarily because I'm usually pretty hard on myself, and very critical and discouraged of how patient or impatient I am with the boys. It's so easy to see our faults and weaknesses, and to miss the ways that we are growing as we work on things. When my mom told me I could do anything, I used to think of being an astronaut, or a dancer, or a doctor. I never thought of being a patient person. Thanks to Adam and Caleb, I work toward it everyday, I practice, and I can see little tiny glimmers of hope that someday it might be a reality.
Actually, maybe Adam is helping me in my quest directly: you can't shout with a hand on your mouth. :)