Sunday, February 13, 2011

Then Why Do you Do it?

For Christmas my Mother-in-law gave me a priceless gift. 

It was a binder full of old e-mails that Doc or I had sent her ever sense we were married 11 years ago.  The binder was very full.  Before I had a blog, our family would make a habit of sending out "family updates" usually about once a week so, even though we are all far apart, we can still know what each other are doing and give support and love, and laugh together.

Tonight I was looking back at a few of the more recent "updates" that I sent out, and one in particular really popped out at me. 

It was about a year and a half ago.  Doc and I were preparing to move from Virginia to Ohio for residency, and we were in the process of buying our very first house.  Little Princess was only 18 months old, and I was the PTA's "Teacher Appreciation" committee chair.  During the week of this e-mail I was in the middle of "Teacher Appreciation week" and was incredibly busy at the school.

In the midst of PTA duties I was also trying to keep the current house we were living in (a small 1930's farm house which my Father bought, (Doc and I remodeled it while living there, while Doc was going through medical school)) immaculate, as realtor's were constantly bringing potential buyers over to look at it. 

Doc was extremely busy finishing up the last of his rotations with medical school and I was doing everything myself.  I overwhelmed, and exhausted, and this is part of what I wrote:

Droid asked me today, "Why do you do everything?  Are you a slave?"

"No," I replied.  "I'm not a slave."

"Then why do you do it?"

"Because nobody else will.  If everyone else would do what they were capable of, and not just assume that someone else will do it, then that someone else (me) would get a whole lot more sleep at night knowing that I can do my SMALL part, and not have to carry the burden of it all on my shoulders."  This being said as I'm making a sandwich for him, and eyeballing the pile of dishes that are stacking up in my sink because I've spent the past 2 days straight from 8-4 at the school with baby on my hip, serving food, running home to buy and make more food when we were running low, heading back to organize 2 days worth of massage appointments, and characacher appointments for Friday (who today ended up having to cancel), then planning a car wash for 88 staff members, running to the store to purchase supplies, only to have to cancel it today because of rain... I'll have that to look forward too next week... then I get to make morning announcements for the teachers "Oliver Oscar" awards (we are doing a super star theme) we came up with a movie for each staff member to be in.  It was fun, but long... our favorite was the cafeteria ladies award for their reproduction of "Fried Green Tomatoes"... and none of this includes the decorations of hanging 100 or more stars from the ceiling all over the school... the HUGE banner hanging over the front entry hall that you walk on a red carpet to get too... or the walk of face with all the black and white head shots (that I took) of every staff member which is framed on black card stock with whit starts surrounding each picture... and don't forget the "Tabloid stand" that I made with 5 magazine covers of "Teachers TIME", "IQ Mag" "Primary People" (it's a primary school), "Reader's Digest" and "The Educational Enquirer" which is everyone's favorite because I cropped staff members faces to superman and other super heroes bodies... I have to hand out breakfast bags to all the bus drivers in the morning, which I stuffed today after I got lunch on the tables... then I get to serve breakfast to the teachers... all this one handed.  The BBQ is on Friday, and that's going to be... fun.  My arms are so swore but so ripped from carrying around Little princess during all of this.

What really impresses me is that I've been able to keep the house is "show" condition for 23 showings now... and thankfully on the days that I've just not been able to be on top of the house, I haven't been called for a showing.  Talk about blessings.I'm also supposed to be closing on a house in Ohio tomorrow, but that's going to have to be pushed back because not all the paperwork is in... we've been crossing our fingers, and holding our breath that the VP of the hospital could get the underwriter a "letter of explanation" ASAP so we can close, or the seller, who is getting frustrated is going to charge us for it... I don't know how much... which leads to the other stress of financial because, seriously, after paying for the home inspections, bug, radon, septic, and appraisals, I just can't take anymore.  I'm so excited about the house... but... this is getting crazy.

I've literally been running paperwork too and from the bank in between 1st and 2nd grade lunches at the school!  Running home to print, sign, and scan and e-mail back papers to the underwriters within minutes of receiving it so that they can't blame me for ANY delays.  Oh, and my Little Princess cries every time I put her down!  OH... and I forgot to mention that my computer has that awesome virus on it that likes to spontaneously freeze your computer, or just turn off in the middle of creating spread sheets of the donations of the 32 people I just spent the last 2 hours straight calling!

Next year I'm doing what everyone else is doing... writing a $5.00 donation check and sleep at night pretending that I actually contributed in some (pathetic) way!

And it goes on...

Guess you can see that I'm not always perky and optimistic. 

I can honestly say that that last year of medical school was the hardest of my life.  Just a few months prior to this e-mail we had both our cars break down, we had to put in a whole new engine in one of them, and the other we had to just buy a new one.  I had church responsibilities that were just as crazy as the PTA stuff I just vented about.  The whole year was nuts. 

Which brings me back to why I'm writing about this, not so optimistic e-mail.

Why did I do it?

 Because I went to a PTA meeting one day, and after seeing how much they needed help I couldn't say no to helping.  I feel obligated to do my part and to help others in whatever way I can.  After all, the "Golden Rule" says to "Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you."  If I needed help, wouldn't I hope someone would help?

After reading this I see some small parallels to my life now.  I'm not nearly as busy now (thankfully), but being a Mother is a full-time job in and of it's self. 

I clean up the same room over and over again while children come in and destroy my efforts over and over again.

I wash the same clothes over and over.

I wash the same dishes everyday, over and over. 

And the vast majority of what needs to be cleaned... I didn't make dirty.

So, why do I do it?  I'm not a slave after all.

Because I LOVE my family.  They are my world.  I am not a slave to them.  I am serving them. 

Is it hard work?  Absolutely.

Is it monotonous, boring, endless, frustrating and sometimes depressing doing the same things day after day... Yes, sometimes it is. 

But I try to remember that these years of "service" won't last forever.  My children are growing everyday, and someday they will leave me and have a family of their own.  And I pray that when that day comes they will serve my Grandchildren with love.

I hope I can show them by my example they way I want my Grandchildren to be treated someday.

So my anonymous friends who may be reading this I would like to issue you a challenge.  Ask yourself, "Am I serving those I love with all my might, mind and strength?"  Is there some area in your home, or community that you could help a little more with?  A $5.00 donation is much appreciated, but a helping hand is invaluable.

I promise that although your brow may sweat with the effort, your heart will dance when you give a little more of yourself to others.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm exausted just reading all that you do...I can only imagine leading the life. I loved being a part of my daughter's lives too and volunteered often at school. Like you said, not many can so there is much to be done and few hands to do it. One time my husband was getting the "short end of the stick" meaning I wasn't home much. Things were piling up and I was off at school. He mentioned maybe I should work at the school since I was there so much. That woke me up to doing too much, flip flopping my most important job as wife and mother to volunteer of the year! The following year I vowed to change that and from that point on I learned to say "no!" Balance in our life is just so hard, we want to just keep going like the Energizer Bunny! Great post!