Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. ~David Frost
Last week I lost my best Mom-Uber client – though he never tipped me and occasionally made unrealistic time demands and last-minute drive requests – but after 8 months of dragging his feet to finish Aceable, 4 months to get an appointment for the written test, 6 months of practice, 3 months for a behind-the-wheel test, and a month after his 17th birthday: my older son took and passed, the behind-the-wheel driver’s test.
I learned to be very patient with my son as he struggled in school and with eating. It was hard watching the success of other boys his age amid my wide circle of friends and acquaintances: Perfect ACT and near-perfect SAT scores. Summer travel abroad and intern programs. Student Body President. Model UN. I was just pleased that my son was able to focus and get his classwork turned in on time and that he was slowly overcoming the side effects of Lyme and managing ARFID.
It is hard to be patient. It takes effort to ensure you’re not setting unrealistic goals or comparing your child to others. There were many times I doubted myself, my ability to be a good parent. There were times I wanted to throw in the towel. The little voice inside kept telling me to hold on and not give up. Many days I simply withdrew and hid behind my writing and busywork, reminding myself that good things take time.
My son grinned from ear-to-ear as we drove home and chatted non-stop about passing the test, relieved to have it behind him.
“Mom, the last few weeks have been great! Last week I was a leader for new student orientation, this week I passed my driving test and now I get to drive myself on the first day of school” he casually said.
“How do you feel?” I asked.
“Grownup. Independent. Good. Senior year is going to be great” he replied.
As he drove on scenic I-280 home, handling the curves of the road and maintaining a safe speed, I gazed out the passenger window. He brought up all that he had accomplished over the past few months, happy that his grades had gone up in school, his focus and attention had improved. His overall outlook had improved.
“What else do you feel good about,” I asked.
“I’m 60% done with my Eagle Scout Project,” he said.
(This was the overzealous project: “Design and build a portable cabinet system for CuriOdyssey ZooU Summer Camp program” – which had me thinking he would be in over his head – but he loves CuriOdyssey: he has had a 12 year relationship with the non-profit science museum – from summer camper to Leader In Training to intern for a special project, CuriOdyssey feels like home).
“I know, that’s awesome! Tell me more” I prodded.
“I’m pitching my project from Hello, World! at Oracle’s Open World conference next month.”
“More!” I encouraged.
“I was asked to be on leadership for the Intern program at school and I was chosen to be a student leader on the 9th-grade overnight trip.”
“I love it, I love you and I am so proud of you,” I told him.
We both smiled and then the car became quiet as my son focused on his driving. As I sat in the passenger seat, I thought about the last few weeks: they had been phenomenal for him. My worry and anxiety went away. He is doing what comes naturally and what he loves: he’s building, he’s leading, and he’s in awe of his accomplishments. He is also humble and certainly has been far more patient than me.
My son is proof that the climb to the top can a long time, and while the pace may be slow, once it’s started, there’s no going back.