Patience, Persistence, and Waiting for the Payoff

I grew up as the middle child in a family of five children.
We celebrated Christmas, which involves — as you know — tightly wrapped presents tucked under a tree.
In those days, you started dreaming about your presents in August when the Sears, Roebuck catalog landed in your mailbox.
You’d flip through the pages that were brimming with products and think about what it would be like to possess the Deluxe Hand Loom (make beautiful potholders!), the Alaskan Wooden Toboggan, or the Young Artist Studio Toolkit.
Christmas Eve was a test of my patience. That was the night we had our big Christmas dinner, followed by The Opening of the Gifts.
Off in the corner, the Christmas tree glowed, and the shiny paper and bows beckoned.
But you had to eat your dinner at the table first. And that’s where I began to learn the art of patience.
It’s a skill I still use today.
Christmas Eve dinner wasn’t like any other dinner. It was a smorgasbord of dishes that were reserved exclusively for that night. And each one had to be served up to seven (or more) people, admired, and eaten. Plates were then collected so you could prepare for the next round.
Looking back, I feel fortunate we always had food on the table and a warm home where we could celebrate.
But at that age? All I wanted was to get to those gifts under the tree.
Earlier in the day, when no one was watching, I had checked out the

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