Harder Than It Looks…

I need a strategy. I can’t go on scooping out pith instead of serving pumpkin pie.

I made a half way effort to brighten someone’s day. It’ll have to be tomorrow.

Three $10.00 Starbucks gift cards are on my kitchen table. My good deed deviousness has been on my mind all day. I don’t want to leave these cards around town. I live in an affluent area. How much of a tickle or a lift will most of these people get? So I shift my attention to the service people in this town. I sized up the cashier at CVS but Starbucks? And how without her knowing? And she’s so young. Wouldn’t she prefer something – I don’t know – more?

My struggle is the “who” and the size of the giving. What sounded like great ideas initially, now seem so small, too small to be of any real impact. And  impact is important. Otherwise I’m really, truly just doing this for myself. To bring myself serenity. To improve my writing or at least the discipline of it.

But I actually care how this goes down and for whom.

Yes, all income brackets could use a little found luck, joy, smiles, a lift. Lots of folks are fighting battles that might be harder to see when they look like everything is okay because they’re not questioning how to pay their bills but rather where to invest and where to point their altruism. But the prosperous suffer too. I know first hand.

But I also know first hand what it’s like to come from nothing. financially speaking. I come from check to check, no savings, chasing checks, post-dating checks, bouncing checks, eating government food, getting locally donated Christmas presents. I’ve stolen food.

I could be on another planet I am so far removed from that life now.

My children, will never know it so now I have to be stronger and harder, make the time and be creative, delay gratification ON PURPOSE, so that they can experience some kind of hunger. Some kind of yin and yang. It scares me. I’m affectionate and loving. But I’m tough. You will not run into my kids to have them be rude, entitled little a-holes.

Stepping off my soap box now, here’s how the day broke out.

  • Kids first day back to school,
  • Still jet lagged, I lie down for another hour after returning home from drop-offs.
  • Answered emails and texts regarding all things school related and house management.
  • Downloaded photos for son’s vacation project ( we both dropped the ball on this one over break – so yes dammit I’m helping).
  • Cleaned up and took daughter to lunch (half day on Mondays and Wednesdays – those are our mommy and daughter lunch date days).
  • Went to bank to help a friend, a single mom climbing her way to a normal life, who is, once again short on rent. We are headed for disaster for, over the years (yes, YEARS) I have enabled her fears and fostered her subconscious to become financially too dependent on me. I have a much harder time drawing boundaries with her than I do with my own children. I see too much of myself in her son and my mother in her. Withdrawing funds from my bank and then driving to deposit them into her bank so she could make her rent at the 11th hour took precious time from my kids. Again. I was kinda pissed at her. But mostly, I knew to be pissed at me.

See, I am indeed helping others. Though not so anonymously. My husband knows.

As does my therapist. 🙂

  • Son. Early dismissal. I’m early. So early in fact I’ve never seen the pick up line so long before.
  • Meanwhile the appliance guy is at the house, waiting for a check. I met him earlier, somewhere while I was in and out. The dryer and dishwasher are working again. Yay.
  • Snack time for kids.
  • My son becomes limp and lost while we muscle through the vacation journal. We make v-e-e-e-r-r-ry, s-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-w progress. While Leila does her best to make every noise, sing her favorite song (over and over and over), object to every slight and touch anything and everything her brother wishes she wouldn’t.

I might actually light my hair on fire.

But I breathe and remember who my children are. They are my beautiful spawn. They are not born reasonable and responsible. I must hammer that into them over and over and over. 😉 And, it is as I mentioned, the first day back after three weeks off school and not yet back on central standard time from Pacific time. They are T-I-R-E-D.

I don’t light my hair on fire. I threaten him with starving him of all technology, in. a. very. calm. voice. I think I might have mentioned “FOREVER!”.

  • Spanish tutor comes.
  • Charlie, our nine month, Labradoodle goes wild. He manages to slip away from me and into the basement.
  • Shows us his kangaroo genes and summarily poops on the carpet.
  • I clean carpet.
  • Ooh-aah over tutors new engagement ring.
  • Write her a check.
  • Start dinner.
  • Argue about eating cheese before dinner.
  • We eat.
  • My daughter eats, I don’t know, like a single edamame over the course of an hour.
  • More homework. The trudging and diligence pays off. He’s into it now, erasing to print better (he loves that I rate his handwriting like “ok”, “beautiful”, “GORGEOUS”), laughing at what we come up with to write about. He’s funny during his word sort and slams out his computer math. It takes a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time. They do start doing this on their own don’t they??? At some point? Anyone?
  • Bath. Lots of bath bombs (the yummy, soapy things that fizz in the tub).
  • Teeth brushing.
  • A little extra math time on the computer.
  • Cuddle time.
  • Somewhere in there I kissed my delicious daughter goodnight, I think I barked a greeting at my husband and quickly made certain he knew I was just feeling “barky”, it was nothing he had done.
  • I came down and good-wifely asked about his day and how he was doing. He gracefully and with love let me go the way of my reality T.V. (did you read my early, early posts? I don’t have ANY other vices but this one!).

I don’t think I’ve scheduled or strategized thoroughly or sufficiently to succeed in my challenge when days like today come along.

Trust me there’s no martyrdom here. Or resentment. It was indeed a demanding day. It is what it is – as we like to say around here.

I may have missed the mark for all the folks, strangers and acquaintances out there in the world I want to do good for. However, I did serve and well,  the people closest to me.

It was not a “me” day, (honestly those are like the Holy Grail, or back-to-back orgasms). I still feel successful. I was more patient and raised my voice much less today. I wasn’t resenting anyone for what just was or for my choices.

I might succeed in pulling a tighter plan together to execute with greater precision this challenge – 365 Servings: A Deed A day Without Anyone Finding Out.

I might not. I may continue to fly by my seat and fail some days.

At least I’ve got my priorities straight.


“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”

– Mother Theresa


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