And suddenly it’s Monday again. I’m still sick, in case you’re wondering. Someone asked if I could help them at the Floral Trade Center tomorrow; she wants to make bouquets for the middle school bake sale… no. No. I am usually very weak and unable to utter the word ‘No.’ I was going to give some examples of past weaknesses, but I realized I was implicating myself. Suffice it to say, I do not need to take on more than I already have and I should learn to say ‘No’ more often.
The other thing I am trying to resist is offering suggestions. I always feel compelled to share my wisdom and bright ideas. I have great driving directions on the tip of my tongue. Geoff calls me his onboard Nat-vigator. I love to offer advice to tourists and point out for them exceptional local attractions. I say things like “It may rain, take a jacket,” and “The Old Highway is more scenic,” and “You might want to skip going on a Tuesday, because they don’t serve fresh pie until Wednesday.” I once saw a dad slam his car door on his little girl’s finger. I was immediately by his side with compassion and ice, but he was not receiving. “I can manage,” he told me as his daughter wailed. People don’t always want help.
There are times when help is wanted and I do not want to come through, like with this bake sale. It’s possible that I am being selfish and petty. The bake sale is a fund-raiser for the middle school trip to Washington D.C. Alex is not going to join the other students for a 6-day trip to the nation’s capital. It’s a big expense, and we had trust issues. (Okay, let’s have it all out: The school director was campaigning for the program to the students before she discussed it with the parents, even going so far as to guilt them in to going. Yes, this really pissed me off. The decision was mine and Geoff’s to make and Alex did not need to feel responsible for the success or failure of the venture.) Though we couldn’t afford the trip we are expected to bake for the fundraiser to ease the costs for the rest of the students. (Here’s where I get petty…) The parents at the D.C. meeting were whipping out their checkbooks and seemed none too concerned about funds, so I don’t feel like adding more hours to my volunteering quota so they can save $50 on airfare. We helped a lot with all previous fundraisers, and guess where all those funds are going? I volunteer weekly, and I add extra time every day. Do they really need me to do more?
Geoff helped me see things in a kinder light. ‘Alex will learn organizational skills and he will participate in a group activity, which will advance his social skills. Helping with the bake sale is just another aspect of school culture that is part of his school experience.’
Selfish Petty Mom countered with ‘The bake sale is one more expense and effort expected of our family, on top of tuition and fees, that serves the other families. So, maybe the real lesson is a political/economic one. It’s like taxes. The middle classes pay a greater percentage of their total earnings and the upper classes leap through loopholes and reap the benefits.’
I love the Floral Trade Center, and I love making floral arrangements. But I’m sick and dragging, and Maria needs me and William needs me, and I already volunteer at school Tuesday mornings, so I didn’t decline out of selfish pettiness, but because of real practical issues. I like baking, and participating and showing support, which is why I suggested to Alex that he sign up to bring heart shaped butter cookies for the fund-raiser tomorrow. I mustn’t forget to take out the butter, so it can soften. And I have to remember to take in the cookie decorating supplies for Max’s Valentine’s Day class party.