I am not a religious person. I never have been, and I did not have a religious upbringing. I do have some very religious friends and family, though. I assume that one of them is the source of a phrase that has seemed very useful to me lately. Honestly, it has seemed useful to me since the fog of early parenthood cleared enough for me to remember things like useful phrases.
The phrase is "offer it up." It is used to refer to something that can't really be avoided and has to be endured, so the speaker is going to offer it up to the Lord. Or at least that is my understanding of the usage. As I said, I'm not religious, so I may not have that completely right, and if so, I apologize.
Anyway, when the phrase comes to me it is in that sense, except I don't believe in a God to which I can offer anything, so I'm not entirely clear to whom I am offering it up. I just gloss over that part and say it anyway.
Since having kids my life is full of these moments that aren't all that great, and can't be avoided... so you just endure them. Don't get me wrong. My life is also full of moments that are delightful and wonderful beyond anything I imagined before I had kids, mostly because it would never have occurred to me that watching your kid do a puzzle could be that awesome.
Then there are the other moments. The poopsplosions. The "Mommy, I threw up in my bed" moments. The "the kid has a fever so one of us is going to reschedule our big meeting" moments.
This week, I am adding the Mother's Day Tea Party at school to my offerings. I suspect that for some moms, this is on the list of awesome moments. I am sure it won't be terrible. But for me, this week, I think about it and hear a voice in my head say "just offer it up."
The tea party is on Friday. I already have a doctor's appointment scheduled on that day, and it took me literally 6 months to get that scheduled so I won't be rescheduling it. However, this means that the entire day is essentially a write off as far as work is concerned. Unfortunately for me, I have a huge list of things to get done before I leave on vacation exactly one week from Friday. I have a conference at which I am a volunteer organizer all day on Saturday, so there will be no making up the work time on Saturday. I guess I could try to do some work on Sunday, but that is actually Mother's Day, and while we don't make a big deal out of it, we do try to spend it mostly as family time.
I could probably get past the lost work time. I think the real problem I have with this event is that fathers never get asked to do this sort of thing. There is no "Daddy day at school" event. There are some fathers who volunteer at our school, but there is no event that essentially guilts them all into showing up in the middle of the work day. Probably, if they'd scheduled this day just a little bit differently and called it "Parents Day" I'd be roughly 90% less grumpy about it.
And don't even get me started on what this sort of event does to kids whose mothers can't get time off work or are just absent from the child's life.
But Pumpkin is excited about the event. The kids have been asked to dress up, and she has picked out a dress and asked for (and received) permission to wear the fancy high heel shoes she mostly only gets to wear for dress up games. (I have insisted that she take a more comfortable pair of shoes in her backpack, just in case she is not too stubborn to wear them when her toes start to hurt from the heels. I am secretly hoping this will be the end of the begging to wear high heels.) I'm supposed to dress up, too, and tomorrow night she wants to help me decide what to wear.
So I will go. I will smile and do my best to be gracious and not worry about the work I should be doing, and to enjoy the chance to spend some time with Pumpkin and her classmates.
I will offer it up.