I have known for over 40 years now that Nick has special needs. Throughout that time, I have loved him, encouraged him, supported him, fought for him so he could get the services and therapies that he needed. I understand what he is capable of and I know what is unrealistic expectations. Most of the time. Then there are other days when I get frustrated at the things that he does, or the things that he doesn’t do. Some days Nick is doing great and is compliant and attentive and it is easy for me to do the things that are needed for his care. Then there are other days that don’t go as well for him or me. Nick’s capacities will change day to day based on his medical condition. I know this logically, but I don’t always remember it during the stressful moments.
I was talking to a dear friend today about this. She also takes care of her adult child with special needs. As we talked about these shared experiences, we both wondered, “Why with all that we have experienced, all that we know, why do we still lose patience with our kids?” One would think that after over 14,600 days of these typical experiences, I would be filled with patience and have curbed my agitation and irritability. However, on those days that aren’t going well for me, Nick can tell when I have suddenly crossed the threshold into impatience. He immediately asks me, “You done being frustrated with me?” He wants me to quickly return to tolerance and love.
As embarrassing as this is for me to admit, often this question from Nick will increase rather than diminish my intolerant attitude. So of course, he will keep asking me if I am done being frustrated with him until I finally say that I am done. Sometimes I actually have returned to patience and other times, I will realize that I still need to adjust my attitude. I do have those days where it takes me awhile to regain balance.
Perhaps one day, I will be able to handle all situations every day with grace and tenderness, but I know that Nick will continue to remind me to be done being frustrated with him, as I continue struggling with these common human responses to difficult situations. I have learned that my lack of patience usually arises when I am tired, hungry, pressed for time or other outside pressures. Caring for Nick has given me many opportunities to have increased self awareness as I learn patience.
These experiences are not unique to me and my situation. What have you learned on your own journey with patience? Please share your thoughts with me, so we can learn from each other.
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