May 11, 2007
was a simple request; what I thought to be a common prayer to
simply make me a better father, husband and person. As 2006 closed
out its days, I took it upon myself to pray to the Almighty for
greater patience. Not that I don't have an adequate parental
amount, but one can never ever have enough patience.
So, the daily prayer for an extra spoonful of patience began...
no sooner than the prayers began in the early days of 2007, so
did the subtle behavior of our three-year-old triplets. Emily
suddenly became more definitive in what she likes to do and not
do, and no one is going to tell her any different. Especially
her father. Hannah followed suit, with sudden pouting episodes
where she wouldn't tell you why she was dissatisfied with a situation...
but you could tell it in her face. Then there is Nicholas; wonderfully
inquisitive and artistically destructive Nicholas...
week, Nicholas decided to further display his artistic tendencies
by taking an unattended 3/4 full syrup bottle from the kitchen
counter island. He then chose - with the bottle upside down and
open - to begin his creative swirls on the kitchen floor, table
and counter. From there, he continued into the white carpeted
dining room (shown below), where he circled the dining room table
twice; only stopping to swirl a few creative circles and blotches.
From there, the trail looks like it then weaved its way through
the formal living room (also decorated in white carpet).
was Emily that "ratted" Nicholas out, yelling, "Daddy,
Nicholas has the syrup and he's making a mess!" It had been
less than two minutes since I had stepped from the kitchen and
into the family room... and Nicholas' work was now done. He stood
innocently satisfied at the entrance of the formal living room
and confessed, "I hid the syrup bottle under the table."
was at this moment, I remembered my daily prayer, my simple request,
of greater patience. If there was a time that I needed that patience,
it was now. It's the first time I've had to count to 10 before
I gave Nicholas a healthy time-out and began contacting local
steam cleaning professionals.
none could come to our home immediately, I had to resort to the
Bissell upright steam cleaner we purchased when the triplets were
born. We hoped we would not need such a machine for events like
this, but we are glad that we got the cleaner for just such events
as this one.
kept thinking to myself, "Okay, get it together, Lee. And
hey, you up there in the Grand Beyond, how come you're not pumping
me up with an extra large dose of patience?!"
cycles of steam cleaning and several reflective thoughts later,
I realized that my prayer was indeed being answered in so many
ways... but in none of the ways that I had predicted or expected.
I guess what I was expecting was that I would receive an extra
dose of patience along with the everyday events that were already
occurring. But Life doesn't unfold that way, does it?
we were young and wanted to be a better bike rider, our parents
didn't decrease the amount of time we spent on the bike. In fact,
they put us back on that bike again and again - usually against
our wishes. They ran behind us as we developed greater trust in
our ability and greater coordination... and then let go...
my own case, I have learned that you can't run the distance of
a marathon by simply resting several weeks before the race. You
have to log the miles and build up the endurance to get to that
proverbial "wall" and then beyond it.
trust and coordination have to be tested again and again in order
for us to understand that Life can be "just like riding a
bike." And enduring a portion of the journey also allows
us the strength to complete the entire journey. Bottom line? Be
careful of what you pray for. It may very well be that attribute,
that skill or that dream that will be tested again and again...
and again and again... For no muscle - including the heart - can
become stronger without a little stress and stretching.
Note: Emily's definitive nature and Hannah's pouting episodes,
to this day, are in no way equaled to Nicholas' creative curiosity.
Just this past weekend, Nicholas was able to climb up over the
laundry room counter and empty detergent on the laundry room phone.
Just one hour later, he climbed up the counter far enough to get
to the 409 spray and release his creative expression on the kitchen
floor before Mom stopped him. Not long after that, while his mother
was cleaning the floor, Nicholas tipped over her bucket of wash
water - just to see what it would look like.
to say, Nicholas got soaked and was in a time-out for most of
Saturday morning for these events. So much so, he fell asleep
on the padded Naughty Seat he frequents (photo above).
guess, aside from all the spills and blotches and stains, I'm
secretly glad that Nicholas is continually helping to teach me
patience... but please, don't tell him.