I take Maura out to Target, where she finds a big Ariel plus doll. She is thrilled. Ariel is her new friend. But once home, she starts whining because she can’t find the matching little plush Ariel doll. I tell her to look in her room. I tell her again. I try hiding from the constant whining from my daughter because it’s sending me over an edge. Finally, I tear apart the house, looking for the damn doll because otherwise, Maura will never let up. I shake from the effort of not letting it all get to me. But I don’t yell at the girl, because I know she can’t help her spiraling any more than I can.
Love is patient.
I finally find the damn doll, in her sister’s room. Her sister’s awful, messy, totally normal teenage girl room. I want to yell at my daughter for the state of her room, which is now a black hole sucking in other people’s belongings. Instead, I look at her, the girl who’s been studying for finals and putting together projects and worrying about her own friends, and I say “You know what kiddo? I don’t want to scar you for life. We’ll deal with your room later when I’m not so cranky.”
Love is patient.
My husband walks in from a full day of work. The house is a mess, there’s nothing for dinner, and I’m slightly catatonic on the couch.
He doesn’t get mad, or angry, or fed up. He asks “Are you okay?” – because he knows I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster.
Love is really freaking patient.
I walk into my kitchen in the morning, and realize it’s a total disaster. No one has cleaned up after themselves – not teenagers, not parents. I watch as my husband goes off to work another day, and the age-old guilt of not pulling my weight tries to fall over me. He’s working hard, and isn’t even coming home to a clean house or meal.
And then, I decide not to feel guilty. Instead, I load the dishwasher as I make myself more coffee. I make myself a plan for the day. Just one. Because overwhelming myself won’t help me any more than giving myself a guilt trip.
Self-love is patient.
And as I think about all this, I realize how true that one line is. Love IS patient. Love is kind, yes, but love needs patience.