I think that maybe, if you were to try to distill it down as far as possible, parenting is really just patience and perseverance. I thought a bit about if it was really just patience, since perseverance is dependent on patience, but let's just agree that patience is pretty damned important.
I didn't really know what it meant to be patient, nor did I understand that, like all functions of biology, it falls on a curve. Let's say you're graphing patience, with the absolute amount of patience along the X-axis, and the percentage of the population who possess that amount of patience on the Y-axis. On the extreme left tail of the graph, you've got the true assholes in life, who believe the world revolves around them, and as such, are always in a hurry lest the world stop turning. They order their coffee while talking on the phone. They probably drive a BMW. On the right tail, you've got Marine snipers, low-functioning pot heads, and surfers. The sniper is capable of moving so slowly it takes hours to crawl 10 yards. The surfer is just hanging out, waiting for the next set, literally and metaphorically. The pot head... Is just waiting.
I've always been a laid back guy. I thought patience was being cool when I wanted to pass somebody, but there's somebody a little slower than me in the passing lane. I don't sweat it! I just knock off the cruise control, and hang back while they make their move. I got all the time in the world! I'm so patient!
That is not patience. Well it is, but not to the degree required to be a parent.
FULL DISCLOSURE: We got a good baby. She's always eaten well, and she's always slept well for her age. She is only fussy if we let her get too tired, and she is almost never inconsolable. I tell you this because if you're the parent of a colicky baby, you're going to want to punch me in the throat for talking about patience, because parents of good babies don't have patience like parents of colicky babies. But I'm not worried about this because if you have a colicky baby, you're not reading this! You're holding a screaming baby, bouncing her and shushing her and wondering how the hell lungs the size of plums can hold so much goddamn air!
So patience. I'm working on patience. I'm really trying to appreciate how short an hour is, how quickly it can pass, even if it's in the company of an unhappy baby. Thing is, your baby will teach you patience. Or maybe she won't! What the hell do I know? I keep trying to remind myself that I'm not even an expert in my own baby, let alone you and yours. What I do know is, with regard to patience, I am not as patient as I need to be, and I'm working on it.