Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Waiting for the Red

I'm a bit of an aggressive cyclist. On my short commute to work, I run a few stop signs at quieter intersections and have been known to run the occasional signal.  Shhh, don't tell anyone.  In a seemingly contradictory way, I see some precautionary measures as aggressive as well.  I regularly take the lane to establish my position so I don't get cut off or doored.  But no matter how I ride to work, I'm always in a hurry.  I'm seldom in a hurry because I'm late; I just like to go fast. But at a fundamental level I'm impatient and wish I could apparate to work, saving my approximately 15 minutes a day. Impatience permeates my life.  I get frustrated waiting for the microwave to heat water for a cup of tea.  I come by impatience honesty, inheriting it from my father who pays premium money for television so he doesn't have to watch commercials.  If he ever learned to use a DVR I think he'd be a much happier man. 

Fortunately, I've mellowed since having children.  I'm a much more patient than I was at eighteen or twenty-eight.  And I'm glad.   I admit that there is little chance I won't give the gift of impatience to my children.  I hope they get my wife's much slower pace.  She gets everything done that needs to get done, she gets where she needs to go, and she is exponentially less likely to have a heart attack because it takes two small boys an extra 10 minutes to get into our van. 

But mellowing for a high-strung-Virgo-yippie-dog of a father happens much too slowly.  And when I do slow down, I realize how much I appreciate it.

So I've stopped running red lights.  It gives me time to look around and catch my breath.  It forces me to slow down and smell the lilacs.  It's also safer.  But it's not easy.  I've had a lifetime of developing my skills at impatience.  I also love the feeling of flying on my bike -- it's a remnant of my former life I occasionally long for and may write about soon. 

So I've stopped running red lights.  I hope some of this slowing translates to the rest of my life.  That way when I'm playing in the yard with the boys, I'll be playing in the yard with the boys instead of thinking about all the yard or school work I need to be doing. I'm stopping at red lights.  I'm hopeful.  I'm hopeful for my children who need a present father patient enough to allow them to be themselves and arrive on their time, not mine.


  1. This entry is absolutely what I deal with on a daily basis. The most difficult part of my parenting at this stage is how my daughter slows me down. I often think about the days that will come when I can run into Walmart and not have to wait for her to get out of her booster seat or when I don't have to wake her up from a snoring nap for me to get out of the car and run a quick errand. I always feel a conviction when I think this way and purposefully pull my mind back to the present stage. Because along with her increased independence and my increased freedom goes the stage where mom and dad are the center of her world. She will probably no longer write the love notes and draw the pictures and cards I hang on my board.

  2. My father's idea of a vacation was to drive to Indiana for five hours as fast as we could without ever stopping so we could sit around and be amazed at how quickly we got to his sister's house. We had to be home by Sunday night so the trip home was about as exciting as having teeth pulled. When you are with your children some time in the future and you pass an obviou tourist trap, stop and explore. Spend the money even if it's on something so stupid.