Slow Progress

I have been a bit preoccupied this week. My dad recently had hip replacement surgery and has been slowly recovering in the hospital. There have been some annoying ups and downs that have had nothing to do with his hip (mostly stomach related) but now he seems to be back on track with everything and is working on walking. He really hasn't walked in years. Prior to the surgery he could just manage to hobble around at a snails pace, using a cane and often help from one of us. Walking was  very very painful and difficult. It still is. The difference now is that this current struggle is ultimately leading him to a better place. He is getting better, slowly, day by day, as opposed to his previous immobility which had no finish line . In a month or two he will be walking! In six, he will be a new man!

I am terrible, positively terrible at waiting. I have zero patience for things that move slowly. It was my least favorite part of being pregnant, that endless crawl towards finally giving birth. Now I am 30 weeks. Now I am 36 weeks. Now I am 39 weeks. Now I am beating my head against the wall in utter frustration, when will this baby come out?? And what does an impatient person like me get in the end? Three days of labor.

When I am sick, I pound Emercen-C and bottles of water until I beat it out of me. I fight hard. Eventually colds get intimidated by my ferociousness and run away. Injuries are the same. The worst thing a doctor can say to me is "just stay off of it for a few days". Stay off of it? You mean do nothing? Just rest and wait for time to heal all wounds? Have you met me?

But wait. I am a martial artist. I know all about slow progress. Even though I am young and athletic, it still took time to learn all those katas. I still had to learn the proper way to hold my fist, to distribute my weight when I move. I still had to learn how to react to my environment, what to do when that guy tries to kick me in the head. (still working on that one) I had to perform under pressure (at promotion), when exhausted (try attempting karate class after working a full time job, teaching two kids classes and nursing a crying infant) and deal with all kinds of minor setbacks. Not to mention one really really major one.

And don't even get me started on jiu-jitsu!

Right about now, the impatient part of me is raising her hand in protest. But Jennifer, she says. (Yes the voices in my head refer to me by name) To get better at karate you had to physically work at it. You had to punch harder, do more pushups, take more classes. To be better at waiting you have to, well....wait. It would be much easier if I could do the physical therapy myself.

Well sure. It would also be easier if I had a magic wand. My dad is 73 years old. He just had major surgery. The doctor says his hip is healing beautifully. He is working on getting out of bed, on using a walker with help. Soon he will be doing those things on his own. Every day he gets a little bit closer to recovery. This is his jiu-jitsu.

All I have to do is be his cheerleader. And wait, don't I have a four year old? Isn't parenting all about waiting? Waiting for her to sleep through the night. Waiting for the screaming and hitting phase to pass. Waiting for her to learn how to walk. Waiting for her to go to school, to learn to read.  Offering just the right amount of help and encouragement for her to do it all on her own.

Come to think of it, perhaps I have done this before.


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