Recently I was picking up a child from her after-school activity and another mom asked me,
“Hey are you guys gonna go to [fill in name of interesting and worthy cause]?”
My answer? “Uhhhhh…”
The event was two days away, not counting the current day. It required registration and a 15 mile drive. It truly was (is), a worthy cause. Why can’t I just say “Yes” and commit?
Because at that moment, my parking lot was full. Yes, full. You see, I have this parking lot in my head. It has a limited number of spaces for mental, emotional, and organizational tasks. If the parking lot is full and a new event, opportunity, or issue pulls in, it has to circle around ’til there is an open spot. Sometimes there are a few cars circling around. Sometimes there are a LOT.
My parking lot, I fear, is much smaller than everybody else’s.
It is the end of the school year. Spring is the time when all of Queen Bee’s medical and benefits evaluations occur. Her annual ARD is in the spring and she had an additional ARD this May for transition to Jr. High. All of the kids are in after-school activities (some require volunteer hours) and had spring camps. I got a new job. We’ve made a lot of new friends this year (so fun). I had a procedure in December that took me out for months. I hired and trained a new respite helper. Volunteer opportunities at the kids’ school ABOUND (and that is not my strong suit). One of my children applied for a special program that took several weeks of multi-step actions to go through. My son has terrible allergies requiring a nebulizer and sometimes all night coughing jags. Shall I go on? Never mind considering spiritual matters on intense topics (I do this often) or current news events or having an argument with my spouse or making time for extended family and treasured friends…pets have had “episodes”, the hamster died, my best friend’s mom has cancer, I have two tweens whose lives and bodies are, uh, changing. Whoa!
There ARE two accessible (formerly known as “handicapped”) spots in my parking lot. They are reserved for emergencies. Every once in awhile something that is not an emergency pulls in “just for a sec”. It makes me nervous. I need them to go and wait for a spot like everybody else. Emergencies can happen at any moment. I’ve got to have reserves.
Sometimes jerks come in and park crooked and take two spots. That’s tough. I try to be patient and understanding. Cars are circling after all…
So, what about the [fill in name of interesting and worthy cause]? Did it circle around the parking lot until it had to just leave (the date passes sometimes)? I am happy to say, the answer is “NO”! A little motorcycle-sized spot opened up. I sent out an email blast to see if my child could jump in with someone else. Registration was still OPEN the night before. Someone responded to my plea and off they went at 8:00 am on a Saturday while we went to flag football where my husband is the coach and they have had a tough season.
And since then, several spots have opened up. The ARD is over. The special needs benefits came through. I’m settled in to my new job. I’ve recovered from my procedure. The spring camps are behind us.
I responded to some volunteer requests– I think some people probably fell out of their chairs when I said, “Yes! I can come this, this, this, and this day!” [Note: I swoop in at the end of the year when everybody else is burned out. Consider me your sweeper.] I just dropped off some donations at Savers and some supplies for one of the girls’ service projects. I am saying “Yes” to play dates again. I might actually get to some “thank you” notes for Queen Bee’s birthday IN MARCH.
Still, unless I get up and get going right now I will miss a wedding reception. I might have to limp through Teacher Appreciation week. The end-of-the-year events could pile up VERY quickly and spots may soon be full. I may have missed out on a critical spring summer-prep task: registering for day camps. They get full and you snooze, you lose. Those camp flyers circled around my parking lot for weeks…
I have shared this analogy ad nauseum this week. Most, if not all of my friends have said, yes! Me too! I know it’s not just me. This summer there should be lazy days with open spots. We have no travel plans, no summer camps (see above), no major deadlines. Oh, except my daughter having major surgery in June. Yea, I think that week we’ll block off the entrances and re-pave the lot…except for the accessible spaces.