I am not a patient person. I like to talk, eat, think and move quickly. This runs in the family, if you know my sister. And while Terence is immensely patient, he also walks really fast. As a cross-country coach, his “walking practices” were legendary. When Terence walks, others run. On our first date, we speed-walked 30+ blocks to dinner in New York. So… living with kids in Jerusalem is going to take some adjustment to the speed of kid.
I have always found parenting to be physically frustrating. I want to move faster, with less encumberence, than my five and three year olds allow. This has been true from the very beginning. My primary reaction to nursing Hannah was how boring and difficult it was to sit still for 30 minutes at a time. I still struggle to sit still long enough to do a puzzle.
Hannah and Margaret have every reason to be moving slowly these days: it’s hot, it’s bright, they are jet lagged, and not used to a pedestrian urban lifestyle. My only real goal this week was to get them acclimated enough to start school. I am trying to be patient and go at their speed. And yet, and yet…. there is a whole city out there to explore. It’s itching at me. On our second full day, we took a few walks as a family around our neighborhood, punctuated by stops for rests, water, snacks, a ride on Mommy’s shoulders. That night, once the girls finally fell asleep, I grabbed my map and went back out, over the same routes, enjoying covering them at twice the speed and all alone. It was great to act like the world-traveling college student I once was and not the mom-of-preschoolers I am now.
I am not sure how I will switch gears between these selves. I may just embrace the dichotomy, dropping Margaret off at preschool and then heading off around the city until pick up time four hours later. Or once in a while, I might find a way to combine the speeds. I had one of those “sweet spots” today, on our first family trip to the Old City, when the girls and I played “Red Light, Green Light” through the side streets of the Christian Quarter.