Thursday, February 03, 2011

Availability is a Gift

The other day, Stay at Home Mom at Work wrote about the gift of availability.

It's a rather long essay, but one well worth your time. To whet your appetite:
how grateful I was to be able to do this for [my daughter]. I was able to spend all morning in this pursuit. Not all Moms can do that. Some work - in various ways for a paycheck or in volunteering positions that don't allow for spontaneous adventures such as this one.

This has gotten me thinking a lot about availability, and my attitude toward the demands that my family places on my time.

It's pretty telling, right there, that I consider it "my" time. As if I own it or something.

After I got both the kids and their lunches onto the school bus this morning, I had about an hour to tidy up the kitchen, start some laundry, and wrap up the package that needed to be mailed. My husband (AKA Mr. Cubmaster) realized that he would be very late to work if he waited for the Scout Store to open so he could buy the Scouting awards that were needed for tonight's meeting. So I said I would do it if he gave me the list. I wasn't entirely gracious about it, and I heard myself not being gracious, so I switched into "joke mode" and told him that this was going to cost him a couple of Milky Ways.

He was good with that, and even handed me the Wawa gift card that was in his wallet so I could buy those Milky Ways as I ran errands.

Off I went, to daily Mass, the post office, the Scout store (where the manager observed that my husband owes me a nice dinner in exchange for today's errand...he should be glad he's getting off easy with those Milky Ways), Wawa (for said Milky Ways), the Big Box Home Supply Store for light bulbs and furnace filters, and Chick-Fil-A for a gift card that I have to send to school as part of Little Brother's class prize for a fund-raiser event. I returned home at 11:30, had lunch, got my work done as well as some laundry, and then got busy sorting out the awards for each of our 30+ Cub Scouts. Beads, belt loops, badges and pins all went into the appropriate bags. I was going to be done soon!

And then the phone rang. It was Middle Sister. Her friend had missed the after-school bus. Her friend's mom doesn't drive, and her grandmother wasn't around to take her home. Could I give her friend a ride?

My first impulse was to refuse. Was she crazy? Didn't I have enough to do today? But I realized that I could pick up Middle Sister's friend when I was on my way to get Little Brother after choir practice. Since her friend lives fairly close to Little Brother's school, I could drop her off then.

And that's what I did. I found out later that this friend had missed the bus because right after school, her boyfriend broke up with her. I was glad that I was available to get her home. Middle Sister, in the middle of a track workout, saw me in the school driveway and gave me a big wave.

So I went back home to finish bagging up those Cub Scout awards. And I wasn't resenting that task anymore. I was glad that I was available to do this to help out my husband. My freelance work and my volunteering commitments did not prevent me from helping my husband and my daughter's friend. That last load of laundry will still be there tomorrow, and I'll get it done then. Provided, of course, that I'm available.


Aimee said...

It is indeed - even though I'm a grumbler by nature. I am ultimately happy to be able to keep things on an even keel for the kids and Rob. Thanks for reminding me of that! :)

Ellen said...

What a wonderful post. So glad that I was able to be around for my son growing up - and I think he finally appreciates it (though I think he was a bit happy that his mom ran the library at school for a few years and was a room mom and went on class trips, well until he was older then dad went.)