Most people who know me probably wouldn't list "patient" as one of my personality traits. I hate to go slow - it can be downright physically uncomfortable for me. I don't walk slow or drive slow. I'm a busy person and sometimes feel a lot of pressure to get it all done, so I go fast.
I believe that Ian, unfortunately, has inherited my impatience. He's impatient, but he's not fast. He's slow, and he can't help it. He hasn't had his wheelchair a full year yet, and though he's learned a lot about steering and maneuvering in the past 10 months, he can't propel his wheelchair fast with his scrawny, little arms. He needs to build strength and endurance, something that can only be achieved with practice and - I'm afraid - patience. When we are out in public with the wheelchair I strive to overcome my need to go quickly and let Ian wheel himself. From the hallways of the doctor's office to the aisles of the mall, Ian slowly wheels himself along while I walk a bit ahead, pointing out obstacles and offering encouragement to keep him on task. When he seems worn out and I ask him if he wants me to push him, he almost always answers "nah" and keeps going, wanting to do it by himself.
While going with him at his snail's pace, I notice other people, impatient and fast-moving, around us. So far no one has ever been rude to Ian in public (probably because he's so cute!), but I worry sometimes about how he will manage in this fast-paced world that continues to pick up speed by the day. All I can do is help him adapt to the world as much as possible. It's all any parent can do for their child, special needs or not.
Ian teaches me to put the brakes on life sometimes. Not everything has to be done quickly. Not every task has to be rushed though - and more importantly - not every task has to be done right away. Ian teaches me patience, and it can sometimes be a painful lesson, but one I need nevertheless.
On that note, I'm taking next week off because we are going on a family vacation! Relaxation, here we come!