I was anxious and stressed. I'm not even sure why. Maybe it was the dull gray sky and wet drizzly rain making everything seem smeared and fractured. Or maybe something else. Who knows? The point is I was jittery and frazzled.
The boys and I were scheduled to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children. We were glad to go and excited to give our time, but it was our first time doing this. We didn't know what to expect.
There are a lot of rules and precision and hair nets and gloves involved, understandably so, but this made my stress level go up a notch. I was there with people I did not know; stress went up another notch. I had to monitor each boy plus man my station; bump, bump, bump stress level was now soaring.
I like to follow the rules in these types of situations. I don't like to mess up. And I was really trying to focus on our tasks at hand and remember all the rules.
The other mother working with me also had two boys, but they had been there several other times and knew what they were doing. She was friendly and tried to chat with me. I answered her, but I was VERY brief, and I didn't ask her any questions in return…it's hard for me to chat and focus on a new task.
She was kind when we made mistakes or when my boys didn't realize it was their turn to dump their ingredients into the bag. I was harsher and more direct, telling my boys to "pay attention" or "focus on what you're doing" or "be careful not to spill – we don't want to waste any."
I felt my face contort into a serious, focused façade and stay that way throughout the process. I felt my muscles tense and my back begin to ache as I stiffly stood there scooping, bagging, weighing and watching my kids, answering their questions, steadying their hands and keeping their minds on their jobs.
I was relieved when it was over. My kids said they felt good about what they had done. They loved helping in a group and then hearing that we had packed a total of 52 boxes, enough to feed 31 kids for a year. They were happy and joyful. I was tired and achy and thankful to be done. And then I felt guilty to feel that way, which made me feel more anxious.
I was trying to be positive and kind when I thanked the woman who had organized this homeschool opportunity, and told her this experience was very educational; I knew I'd be lying if I told her it was fun.
I came home feeling terrible that I had given the kind woman across from me such an awful first impression of me. I'm usually the talker, as those who know me would attest to, but I just didn't have it in me yesterday.
Do you ever have days like this? These dark days leading up to winter are always the hardest for me, but truthfully it can happen on any day in any season. I hate days like this. It's not me. And yet, I am reminded of My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss when I feel this way.
Some days are bright and yellow and some are dark and black and others are happy pink days, but in the end we go back to being ourselves.
So, to the friendly lady, I'm sorry you met me on a dreary gray day. I hope we meet again on a bright and buzzy day. Here's to a better rest of the week. Over and out…