Today I had an opportunity to really test out my New Years Resolution of working on patience, and I somehow managed my way through 2 meltdowns (one in the middle of a busy Northwest DC street), 1 diaper blow-out, 1 near accident in Bethesda thanks to a jerk who cut me off, and 1 very cranky preschooler who has "sassy" as his middle name. I found peace in those moments (channeling a dear friend of mine who lives around the corner from me, who always seems to find peace in chaos). After I found peace, I had a sense of calm that was completely unfamiliar. And I can't wait to feel it again.
I do think that your level of patience and level of stress in your life go hand in hand (although, I'm not sure how my dear friend who lives around the corner does find so much peace because I do know that she is stressed). So, in finding patience, I've learned that I need to cut down on the stress.
I hate to use this label, but as a Mom to a child with "Special Needs", we have a level of stress that will never go down. We are always anticipating, always waiting for the next shoe to drop. We're always on the defense, in our warrior Mom mode, ready with our armor, doing anything we can to fight for our child. That particular stress is so deeply embedded in my bones, that I really don't think about it anymore. It's a part of my body, partially to blame for the baggy eyes and too-early crows feet. I can do a pretty good job of hiding that stress when it does start to seep out. A strained laugh, a little bit of concealer, and a glass of wine usually do the trick. I get in trouble though when more and more stress is layered on top of that "in my bones" stress. Then it gets bad.
I started peeling back my layers of stress today, and I found that maybe really the only way to make it to my goal of finding more patience is to also find a way to be less stressed in my life. Some of my layers are so real and so important, that there's no way to rid them. I will ALWAYS be concerned about our financial future. We will ALWAYS want more family time. However, there were so many layers of things that didn't need to be there. And I can do something about them. I need to let them go. Maybe if I didn't have the "deep in my bones" stress that I have that goes along with raising a deaf child, I'd be able to deal a bit better. While this stress is a part of who I am, it also maxxes me out at times. I then am suffocated by the layers and layers of both little and big things, and I falter. I become the Mom with no patience. The wife who is annoyed. The friend who is hurt. I become the person I dread.
I'm obviously going to have this "deep in my bones" stress for as long as I shall live. I can't do anything about it. But all these little layers, these layers of things that really don't matter, I can rid myself of them. I can chose to say No. I can chose to not care. I can chose to ignore. I can chose my focus, which will always be advocating for Christian and giving my family the best of me everyday.