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Lessons in Patience
Thursday was my last day of high school for the teaching year, so of course it felt like the longest week of humankind. BUT NOW IT’S SUMMER VACATION! Woohoo!
Normally, summer is my favorite time of year because I can finally slow down, listen to the pace of my own body instead of a bell schedule, enjoy mornings in the garden, and pretend for a few short months that I’m a full-time writer and not a high school English teacher with eight classes to manage.
Secretly, though, I’ve been dreading this particular summer. It’s the beginning of an end. At the end of August, my youngest goes off to college in another state. My oldest lives across the country in California. This feels like the last real summer as a mom to a kid, before I become the mother of two grown women who live far away.
I guess my biggest fear is—Who am I as an adult woman without children? I don’t know that person. I’ve never met her. My husband and I have had kids in our home since we were nineteen.
So I’m practicing the art of patience to slow down the summer. Patience is not simply waiting. Patience allows things to happen at the pace they need to happen. I can’t worry about it now, or I won’t enjoy the present. What will be, will be. Patience is a slow, purposeful moving forward regardless of outcomes and timelines. Having patience is letting go of control and letting change evolve.
Practicing patience can be uncomfortable if you are a control freak and trained for years to work on a rigid bell schedule, like me. Gardening has taught me a lot about patience and going with the natural flow and rhythm of life. I’ve been working on my garden since 2019, and this year it is finally filling in and looking lush. What’s the saying?—First year a garden sleeps, second year it creeps, and third year it leaps. Well, last year my area had a drought, so I didn’t get to see the leap stage until now. And it’s glorious after four years of working and waiting.
Last year, I tried a simple method to propagate a hydrangea, but it takes a season until you know if it worked. This week I discovered success! Talk about needing patience. Best part is all you need is a hydrangea plant and a rock. I explain the method in this video.:
In the classroom, I had several student relationships that started rocky in the fall and ended in hugs at graduation. Funny how some students who drove me up the wall ended up saying I was their favorite teacher. I think they saw patience reflected back at them once we established trust, patience that I knew they could evolve, in their own time.
That’s the thing about patience—it requires a sense of trust in the process, in others, and in yourself.
My agent sent me editing notes on my YA Christmas romance, noting that I rushed the ending (which my critique group also told me), so again, I need to be patient and allow the relationship between the characters to evolve on the page a little longer. So after I finish this post, off to edit. If I can get the manuscript back to my agent this summer, and she can find a publisher this fall, maybe it could be on the market by Christmas 2024 or 2025.
Yes, folks. That’s how long publishing takes…and that’s if she sells it immediately, which is not the norm. It takes months, years, and sometimes a manuscript never sells.
Publishing tests my patience more than any student ever could. But I keep writing.
Now I have to stop looking at the calendar and trust the process.
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