Originally posted in the Miami News-Record on November 16, 2014
Sometimes I overextend myself. I don’t do it intentionally and most of the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it until it’s too late and I find myself sitting in the middle of the classroom floor surrounded by piles of tulle, cotton batting, and glitter, tears streaming down my exhausted face, swearing to anyone within earshot that I will never volunteer for anything again. Oh wait - there is no one to listen to my wails and declarations because they all went to bed hours before. They’re all nestled snug in their beds with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads whilst I accidentally hot glue my fingers to the same piece of cardboard over and over again.
It’s not that I can’t say no – that’s not it at all. I can say it and say it often - it’s that once I start saying yes, I can’t stop. It’s a slippery slope, my friends.
For nearly a year now I have said no quite a bit actually. We resigned from our youth ministry positions shortly after the first of the year and then moved to a whole new part of the county soon after that. The lack of 25 extra youth to keep track of greatly reduced the amount of stress in our lives right off the bat. Then add in that we moved roughly 45 minutes from everyone and everything we were used to being close to - that also reduced our activities. We needed some rest. Youth ministry ain’t for sissies (and it’s usually done by folks a lot than us). We soon settled into our new, quiet lifestyle and it was good.
Our weekends have been spent mostly at home since January. Our evenings have been spent mostly at home as well. Before we moved, the kids were begging to stay home on the weekends – as of late they have been asking to please go somewhere, anywhere besides our house or yard. When my husband and his oldest brother built a fire pit at the brother’s place this fall and suddenly we found ourselves ‘round a campfire a few nights a week the kids thought they’d won the social lottery.
Then our son asked to play basketball. And we said yes. We went from binge-watching half a season of Hell on Wheels or LOST at a go, to (gasp) leaving the house for hours at a time, several days a week. Then, in a moment of social weakness, I agreed to participate in our homeschool co-op’s Christmas Craft Fair. That youngest kid of mine is so dang cute sometimes she should be considered dangerous. She can talk people into stuff they have no intention of ever doing. The second I said yes to the fair, she whipped out her iPad, opened up Pinterest and started talking a mile a minute about decorated clothespins, snowman tea lights, Christmas trees made from sticks and ribbon (like I have any intention of going out and picking up sticks) and other hand-crafted items of extreme cuteness and adorableness that some women find enjoyable. I only see the work involved, laid out in the Excel-like spreadsheet of my overly analytical mind.
We are a week away from the craft fair. We’ve narrowed it down to two crafts. I’m voting for the one that uses the half bag of cotton balls in the bathroom cabinet and that partially dried-up watercolor set in the craft bin.
And as I write this it’s now 11pm. Not only am I just now writing my column, but I also just remembered I volunteered to create new classroom signs for the homeschool co-op. Chapel begins in 10 ½ hours.
Oh well. In all honesty, it has been a few weeks since I hot-glued my fingers to some cardboard.