For as long as I can remember, Ma reprimanded me for being too slow. "A little faster, Ling. A little faster," she would say. All my life, I've been trying to catch up to the next big thing. Somehow, I missed Ma's lesson on how to be patient. She must have known much about being patient having to raise four girls. Four!
This flaw of mine has been haunting me lately, as it is becoming painfully obvious. "Be patient," I would tell myself while grinding my teeth, "be kind." Yet, something tells me that merely keeping myself from boiling over is not being patient.
Self-discovery has not been flattering. My sweet children, who bring me worlds of joy and delight, helped me discover a tyrant in me. I did not see this coming.
Hello, meet Mommy the Dictator.
You. Must. Obey.
Like all other dictators before me, I want control.
Wait, I thought parents are suppose to control their children? That's good parenting, right? Producing unfussy babies who eat in three-hour-intervals and sleep through the night at two-weeks old? Well-behaved children who obey my every command and say please and thank you? Who eat organic food and are always bacteria-free?
Where did you get that?
Parenting books. Bestsellers... And the internet.
Wait, doesn't the Bible say that I should know how to control my children?
So, am I suppose to just let them run wild?
Um... no. But it has plenty to say about teaching the them to love the Lord, and love others. And that includes being patient and kind.
I am seeing a pattern within my heart. The more I want control, the less patience I have, the less kind I become.
This was why, perhaps, the newborn stage with Emeth seemed so difficult. For the first time in life, we had to take care of this little person who belonged to himself, with his own desires and will, and who did not speak English, yet. Also, perhaps this was why Yohanan felt easier as a newborn, because I learned that toddlers are even harder to control. And it was helpful that Emeth taught me some babies do not eat at three-hour-intervals.
So, perhaps, this is the first thing I need to learn.
I have no control.
None of the kind that lasts anyway.
I cannot cause them to grow anymore than I was able to cause them to grow in my womb.
So I made him say sorry, or I trained him to sleep through the night, etc.
So what? I am not able to change their hearts.
I have no control over my children, my husband, or whether I will be alive tomorrow. And I should be grateful that it is not up to me.
We are merely keepers, in our Savior's Garden.
We name, we plant, and we water. We must.
We pull weeds, we prune, and we build trellises for our precious vines.
He is their Creator.
He is their Redeemer.
He causes them to grow and bear fruits.
And so I wait and I watch,
Cry a little and laugh a lot.