The trouble with “making it happen” for someone you love (particularly if you are doing it for them to draw their attention or love to yourself) is that they fall in love with the thing you made possible in their life-and they ride off into the sunset with IT.
When one makes it happen for another, a thank you is all that is required. It is not a guarantee of lifetime allegiance and service out of gratitude.
With growing kids, this is a natural and right practice. We provide them with education, upbringing, tools for careers and relationship and they ride off into the sunset toward lifetime success.
With others, peers, adults, employers, corporations; making someone’s life or vision or business happen for them (often through heroic measures) is disastrous.
This has happened to me at least twice in major arrangements and numerous times in small, day to day working relationships.
Am I hard-hearted to say, “Never again”?
So, why don’t I just dispense with the stress and walk first? Given that my walk time is my quiet time, my chew on things time, my talk to God time; why don’t I go walk first instead of worrying first, reacting first, throwing my hands up in despair and then, when all else fails; finally taking the remedy?
Why I did it, I’ll never know, but there was this dog-running down the busy four lane road adjacent to our neighborhood. Well, I WAS looking for adventure of sorts; or maybe just a calm, peaceful sightseeing tour to finish off the night. I arrived home from the Sweet Adelines Christmas party a whole 30 minutes earlier than usual and decided to give Phil a call on his phone to see if he wanted to go check out Christmas lights in an expansive neighborhood next door. The car was nice and warm, the temperature outside well below freezing and I really didn’t want the chill of running up to the house- why should I discomfort myself in this age of technology? Phil answered his phone, but he wasn’t home. He was with Kev, moving gear into the new recording studio set to open any day now. “Come on down, Mom,” they invited. Right. I was just down there. Once for the party and once earlier to fetch Philip from work. So, I declined and proceeded to take myself on what I thought would be a relaxing 7 minute ride around the block and then home to bed. But, as I said, there was this dog running down the busy road. This dog that looked a little bit like the dog of my best friend’s boyfriend, and a little bit like the dog of my youngest son’s girlfriend, and a bit like a dog who comes through the carpool line at school each evening. Well, I did the only logical thing: I pulled the car over, opened the door and invited the dog in. It smelled like wet dog. I picked her up in my faux suede, dry clean only, coat and deposited her on the passenger seat. She was quite happy to go for a ride – into the nearest parking lot, where I checked her dog tag. Tried to check her dog tag would be more accurate. First I had to turn on the overhead light, then I had to coax her back to the front seat (she had gone exploring in the rear of the car) then I had to fish in my purse for my reading glasses and then the dog kept turning her head while I tried to read the phone number on the tag. Good heavens! What had I got myself into? The address was a little town about 15 miles away. I dialed the number and got a live body who told me the dog was staying at a house——-right across the street – in my subdivision. I delivered the dog within 3 minutes. Now why did I even stop? Every stray puppy, I guess. I could not stand to see a little dog crossing and re-crossing the street; when maybe, you know, I might be helpful and rescue it. I just couldn’t bear it if the little thing got hit.
RESPONSIBILITY OR, He that is faithful in small things will be faithful in much
My children are growing up. Yes, my youngest is a senior and will graduate next May. I love watching children grow. I love the rites of passage; the times when a mother can distinctly see the fine character developing in a child as that one moves first into taking responsibility for him (or her) self and later begins to take leadership or servant responsibility for others.
Last Thursday I forgot to replenish my gum pack in my purse. I realized this about a mile from the school. Too late to turn back home and too late to make a quick stop at a convenience store, I was about to drop Philip off for his early morning college class when I bemoaned the oversight audibly. “Oh, I think I have one,” replied Philip, fully aware of my plight and how I hate the thought of breathing dragon breath at my students. “Just one left,” He commented, fishing the stick out of the package and laying it on the dashboard. I thanked him heartily and then, as he was about to throw the empty package into the trash, “Wait a minute, here’s one more. This one’s for me!” he said, smiling and popping it into his pocket.
Friday night I worked BINGO for Sweet Adelines. It was busy; a full house and a late session. At quarter to midnight I started to check in with Philip, but thought better of it as he might be sleeping. Five minutes later my cell phone rang. “Hi Mom, it’s a bit later than usual, where are you?”
I like to see that my kids are concerned for others. I do not want to be smothered any more than they do. I do not want them to have to build their lives around taking care of me or mutual enabling. But Kindness, Concern, Empathy, healthy Responsibility toward others; those are great character traits. The boy of whom his sister in law once said, “You’re way too nice to be a teenager,” is turning out to be a fine young man.