Other Duties As Assigned

Last night (and the night before) Laurel said to me as she went to bed, “I’m sorry if I come in.”  Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night with a bad dream and comes in our room.

“It’s okay,”  I told her.  “It’s in my job description.”

I probably should have looked the job description over a little more carefully before I signed on.  Not that I ever really looked over any job description;  I was usually just glad to have a job.

Like when I worked at the Baseball Hall of Fame, I think my job title was “Souvenir Girl” and that pretty much summed it up.  I sold souvenirs and tickets.  Maybe it specified that I wasn’t supposed to try to charge VIPs, like the time I was going to charge Bowie Kuhn admission, but I honestly never read through it.

But a Mom Job Description — whew!  There’s a good one that I’ve seen:  The Mom Job Description. (Click to see it.)

I actually think I could do it in five words.

and other duties as assigned

No matter how complete the list, it would still be incredibly incomplete.

I knew I would have sleepless nights.  I imagined they would end when my children slept through the night.  Not so.  It’s not always Laurel waking me up.  Sometimes I wake with a particular child on my mind and just pray for them.

Prayer is definitely somewhere in the job description.  Under communication — with doctors, teachers, waitresses, and God.  Yep.

Jacob getting a haircut a few years ago.

No one told me that when I became a mom, I would have to cut hair.  But I have cut the boys’ hair for years.  All my boys are now teenagers and beyond.  I tell them to get their haircut by somebody who knows what they’re doing.  And yet, what did I do the other day?  Cut Jacob’s hair.  And I still don’t know what I’m doing.

I knew when I became a mom that I would have to prepare meals.  I was okay with that because I know how to read recipes.  My creativity in the kitchen is pretty limited.  But did I ever imagine that I would have to triple or quadruple every recipe every written?  And kids think math skills aren’t that important…

And all those years of raising children are really just a warm-up for caring for parents, a job I’m now cowering from.  Other duties as assigned.

It doesn’t seem to get any easier.

And I just seem to get tireder.

But Laurel can still wake me up any night of the week.

It’s in my job description.

My Inner Porcupine

One of the most precious lessons I have learned (and am still learning) from my mother’s Alzheimer’s is not to take things personally.  I have such a tendency to do that!  When people say or do little things, and sometimes big things, that are mean or hurtful, I dwell on them.  With my mother, when she scolds or is angry, I just tell myself that it’s her illness talking.

The other day, I found myself doing it again — focusing on someone’s hurtful words and actions.  The thing is, other people may not have an Alzheimer’s problem, but they have a human problem.  We are all so painfully human.  Just as I excuse  my mother with her Alzheimer’s, I need to excuse others because they are just people.

Grace, grace, grace — so abundantly given to me, I should be able to share it.

There’s a porcupine within me
That bristles up at certain things
And I cannot quite control it
Or the turmoil that it brings.

When frightened, angry, hurt,
The little spears come into play,
And they prickle and they stab –
They make people move away.

Sometimes life is lonely,
With this porcupine inside.
Sometimes I don’t like me,
And I want to run and hide.

Why can’t I have a bunny
Hiding inside me?
With long soft ears and fluffy tail,
Huggable as can be.

Why can’t I have a puppy
Hiding there instead?
With wiggles, fun and energy –
A thing no one would dread.

But no, I have a porcupine
That I must learn to keep,
And the lessons that he teaches me
Are hard and sometimes deep.

But the lessons that I learn,
Painful though they be,
Help me to grow in grace, grace, grace –
And become a better me.