Nothing will stop a mother in her tracks faster than a scared voice on the other end of the phone saying "Momma, I need you."
Yesterday, on my way home, in the middle of a freak out over having to deal with something I work on that's behind schedule...in the middle of tears and swearing.... my 15 year old daughter called me to tell me that her boyfriends mother had died. Her boyfriend is almost 16 and his mother was just 36.
My world stopped on those 4 words.."Momma..I need you."
See, I love what I do. I help and/or run volunteers for two fairly big alternative lifestyle events in the South East...on top of about 53 other things yearly (not counting, home, actual work, kids, family etc etc). I have a passion for it and it gives me massive amounts of pleasure even when it's frustrating and tiring. I love working with the volunteers and they give me back so much, most of the time without even realizing that they make it worth my while. I don't do this work because it pays a dime, I do it because I love it. If I actually calculated the hours, days, weeks, months I put into what I do, the numbers would be astronomical. I don't say this to brag..I'm not big on the recognition and part of the reason I love what I do is that it's behind the scenes. No, I'm not the only one who does things because gawd knows it's takes a lot of us to get it all done.
But lately the actual cost of what I do has taken it's toll on me. I've allowed and accepted things that are costing me dearly, in ways most people don't seem to realize. It's easy to do really, because for one, I make it LOOK easy (or so I'm told), I rarely (if ever) say NO and Just because someone says "I need X to happen." they don't always realize that A through W has to happen first to make X even possible..and even if they do, they usually have their own alphabet soup of things to get done too and don't have the time or capability of worrying about yours.
But it doesn't really matter what I do...what matters is what it's costing me.
I've missed my 11 year old softball games because I had too much work to do.
I've missed conversations with my 15 year old because I had a phone conference.
I can't tell you the last time I went to bed with my husband instead of after him...Hours after him usually.
I've lost weekends with my boy and my girl because of the work I've had to get done and couldn't leave the house or because my head was somewhere else.
I've sacrificed more sleep than most people can imagine and far more than is healthy for me.
I've gotten sick from it.
I've cried over it.
I loose parts of my house for months at a time.
I stop cleaning because I don't have the time or the energy.
I stop serving because I don't have the time or the energy.
I've sacrificed the stability of my job, choosing to do conference work while on the clock so maybe, just maybe, I don't have to take that time away from my family later on that evening.
I've spent days, literally, covered in paint and glue, sweat and tears.
From January until June, every year, I am owned by this. By the time May is here, I don't even try to plan anything because everything takes back seat to what I do.
And yet, when I'm told that someone else can or will pick up the slack, it rarely if ever, happens.
Note: I started this and never finished it because it had me in tears the entire time. Now that the event is over and I've resigned my position, I thought it best to come back and hit "publish". I've done whats best for myself and my family...and I am content with that.