I just finished back-to-back-to-back major volunteer projects. They all blurred together but all were successful. The stream of work became a part of our family, like a third child. Boy is that child demanding!
Like some babies, this child was a really bad sleeper. Mommy was trying to get it to go to sleep at night but mostly it was wide awake all day and just lightly napped through the night.
I went from chairing a PTA fundraiser to coordinating the costumes for the school play to chairing a Junior League fundraiser. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right—that takes a special kind of crazy. Apparently, I’ve got just that!
When I said ‘yes’ to each thing, it’s because I really wanted to do each individual task. I knew they were bam, bam, bam on the calendar, but that made no difference. As it turned out, the tight schedule forced me to make decisions quickly and not wallow in the planning. (I work much better that way.)
Most of the time, I didn’t think about ever letting one thing go. I just kept moving forward.
As I was nurturing this baby, lots of other things fell by the wayside. Nothing urgent, but definitely some of the nice things that I would have liked to complete. I never wrote any thank you notes for my December birthday gifts or Christmas. The blank cards are still sitting on my desk. I missed a few friends’ birthdays and all of my siblings wedding anniversaries. I never worked on my taxes (don’t tell my husband). Breakfast with my family was nonexistent. Thanks to my friends and family for understanding that I had a baby that needed me.
That is not to say that volunteer work in this household is in its infancy or a new arrival. That is not the case at all. I met my husband when he volunteered on a committee for which I was the staff liaison. That was in 1992 and neither of us were new to voluntarism then either. I grew up with parents who volunteered and all of my siblings volunteer. I hope that we instilled this willingness to serve in our own children. They sometimes play meeting and we hope they never grow tired of that.
This week I returned to normal, sort of. I am batting cleanup with paper work and correspondence, washing costumes to be stored away, and trying very hard to unearth my desk that is piled with notes and files. Still volunteering, but the rush is over at least for now.
With each volunteer assignment, I learn something about myself. I learn that I could have handled a situation better or said thank you to a fellow volunteer one more time. I also usually learn at least one skill I did not have before.
Even though this third child of mine seems to have special needs, I would never give it up.