Patience, or Reading Too Much Virginia Woolf

She felt done in. One was only allotted so much patience in a day, so many lengths of that precious thread to knot and waste and fret over before feeling quite finished. And she tried so hard to parse it out cautiously, to have at least a little remaining when the day ended and the baby was sleeping and the time came to rest. But on this day all of her patience had tangled by early afternoon when the child still would not sleep and so many trials were still to come before bed. One tried so to be good. Punctual and well kept and considerate. But it had been a day of minor irritations. Death by a thousand cuts. No one else, it appeared, was trying to be good. No one thought it important to be polite or organized. The handyman thought it just fine to show up an hour later than anticipated when he had so stressed the day before that he wanted an early start. And her husband had kept to himself the invitation to the party, which meant that not only had it surprised her earlier in the week to know that it was to take place so soon but then, after she had shifted a dinner party around to allow for it, he had mixed up the days anyway and so she had moved her own party from the night the event was not taking place to the night that it was. And on top of all of that was the boy, her lovely boy with apple cheeks and charming chatter who nonetheless was still a very young boy and so spent his days tormenting the dog, dumping out full containers, soiling clean ones, eating things one ought not eat, rejecting food he had accepted weeks or days or moments before, and generally falling apart over what seemed to be nothing at all. She did not, she reminded herself, have any reason to hold him to the expectations she held herself, but she did find other adults who failed to meet them all the more exasperating after contending with the child all day.
One could only bite one’s tongue so may times, after all…

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