Being Patient

Sneha - Herndon, Virginia
Entered on November 2, 2011
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My mom dictated my life for fourteen years. Prom was the first time I ever went out without her supervision. The struggle was not as easy as writing that sentence; I had to fight with my mom for over two months to convince her that prom was not a bad thing. Whether I wanted to meet friends for a study group or go out to a movie with them, my mom said no and I had to convince her for everything. If she ever let me out of her sight, she made sure I was under supervision of a trusted elder. Although my mom had very strict restraints in my life, I have been patient and have come to accept what she wants for me.

Being born and brought up in Andhra Pradesh, India, I had to overcome challenges which I didn’t even expect to face. I lived in a city, Vijayawada, where authorities cut power randomly in order to save energy. During the week, my daily routine was waking up in the morning, eating breakfast, going to school, coming home, completing home work, then eating dinner and going to bed. On most weekends my mom took my little brother and I out to the grocery store. We all woke up late that Sunday, and it was almost lunch time. My mom told us that she was taking us to the grocery store and then we would get brunch. She was very conscious about the time because the grocery store closes early on Sundays. Even before my mom completed grocery shopping, I was really hungry. I had a habit of eating breakfast every single day, and that was the first time my mom skipped giving me my breakfast. After she paid the bill for the all groceries, I asked her if I could eat the fruit snacks she had bought. She said no, without any hesitation. I had to wait till we got home, and till my mom cooked the meals. I was really mad at her for what she did that day. Sundays turned out to be my least favorite days, while Saturdays were always my favorite.

Saturdays were very special and memorable to me because, that was the only afternoon I was allowed to play with my neighborhood friends.

“Why should I only play on Saturday afternoon, Mom?” I asked her one day.

“Because you need to learn to wait for something,” she said.

My mom tries that trick for everything; I ask for a toothbrush, she says next week. I wasn’t that frustrated with the waiting part because that was what I was taught since I was a baby. Living in a middle class neighborhood, I thought it was normal for all moms to make their kids wait for what the kids wanted. But, that was only until I started going to a private school and made friends who were completely different from my neighborhood friends.

I felt very different going to a school wearing a uniform, because all my neighborhood friends went in everyday outfits. I started kindergarten when I was 4 years old, and I went to that same private school until I was 14 years old. Going to school was fun for me not only because I got to meet my friends, but also because I got to learn about new things. Most of the people around me during my elementary school years loved me for who I was. I liked that special attention I got from my teachers. One of my first grade teachers told me that I was one of the most perfect kids she had ever seen. I understood later that one of the main reasons was that I was patient till the teacher completed giving us directions and I was obedient. The same teacher also told me that my handwriting was the reason I made a good first impression on her. Handwriting is also one of the things my mom was particular about. I still remember what she always told me when I started writing, “Write clearly and neatly even if it takes time.” If I was not in a mood to write neatly, I would take notes for that day and repeat those same notes neatly in my notebook after the class. As soon as my mother noticed me repeating the notes, she suggested me that it would be better if I took the notes only once with patience. Although I didn’t pay attention to the suggestion at that time, I later understood that my practice of taking notes was double the work. That was the day I decided to be patient and just take notes once and get it done neatly.

My mom says, “Patience plays an important role in everyday life.” She herself was patient to help with me everything, including preparing me for my first day of school. That day I had my first art class ever. The teacher taught us a lesson about basic shapes, and gave everyone a paper, a pencil, and asked us to follow what she did on the board. Apparently, I was the only kid in the class who followed that direction and ended up being good at art. I still remember one of my close friends, Sruthi, saying, “I will do everything we learnt today after I go home and show it to the teacher tomorrow and be better than Sneha.” No one knew that my mom made me practice those shapes the night before and I was totally prepared for the class. Although my mom had to work that day, she took time to go to the copy machine and Xerox my art worksheet to make me prepared for my first art class. My mom and I sat at my study table for about two hours just to practice basic art shapes and some coloring techniques. Since I sat two hours to do art the night before, I was patient enough to bear one hour of art in school next morning. Whenever I think back to that moment, it leaves a smile on my face for being the best among a group of kids.

When I think back over my life, I can think of many situations when I absolutely hated every single time my mom made me wait for something that I wanted badly. But now, I’m very thankful for what she taught, because I waited with patience for nine whole months to get the laptop I wanted. I can sit down at my study table for hours, preparing myself for tomorrow’s class and not be agitated. Just to make my painting look a little better than before, I can work all night with patience. I can wait for two months and convince my mom that prom was not a bad thing. While I was getting ready for my prom night, I had a question in my mind. “What if I was not patient enough to convince my mom?” I could not imagine the answer to that question; I did not want to miss out on how much fun I knew was waiting for me that one night. If she had not taught me how to be patient, I would have never been patient enough to get what I wanted from my Mom. I know deep down in my heart that if there is something wrong, my mom will always give a helping hand and she can always be patient to serve me. Although my mother is unconventional and strict, I believe in her and how she taught me patience. Being patient and willing to endure will always have an impact on my life and how I carry myself.