On Potlucks and Patience
I am not a patient person.
I internally tap my foot at the person who asks the clerk a million questions or chats him up about his day, delaying my turn in line. I try not to roll my eyes at the driver in front of me cruising along looking for a parking spot or a particular street.
I’ve been working on this. Maybe I will never be able to define myself as a patient person, but I can definitely train myself to be more present and therefore less impatient with others.
I especially need to do this because we ask others to be patient with us so frequently:
–Hey, can you rearrange your plans so we can meet up with you when it’s a more convenient time for the babies’ nap and eating schedule?
–Can you visit us instead of us visiting you?
–Please be patient with our screaming child who seems like she hates you when really she just doesn’t feel well and hasn’t slept much today.
I have been working on putting more patience and tolerance into the universe because karmically we will need all of it back, and then some. And truly, our friends and family have been most understanding and accommodating in helping us navigate this minefield of The Schedule.
So today we had a potluck of 38 adults and 10 children under 5 (plus two 12-year-old boys), not including us. This seemed like a great idea a month ago, and like serious folly yesterday when it was 55F and steadily pouring rain and forecast to be more of the same today.
We mildly panicked and cleaned out the basement (it needed the cleaning anyway), shoved everything we didn’t know what to do with into the garage, and planned to have the under-5 crowd play in the babies’ room.
Thankfully, the sun broke through and we were able to use our backyard–which, small as it is, allows breathing room and running / crawling space. We provided burgers and toppings. Guests brought all other food. (Incidentally, these kale chips were a hit with everyone, young and old.)
The patience we continue to ask for showed up in spades. Our best friends came early to entertain very cranky and tired babies, and help us set up. Neighbors sliced more burger toppings. Friends found more napkins and cups. Grandparents and honorary grandparents played with babies so parents could eat. As we fed and pajama-ed and read stories to babies, our friends made our house look as good as it did before anyone arrived: hallelujah!
Maybe A, T, and J won’t know or understand the idea of love until they’re older. But they must be able to sense how very much they are loved and cared for by all these people who passed through our house today: the family we have built around us and who helped us survive this first year as parents, mingling and eating and laughing.
Hopefully it makes them more patient people too.