Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I Want More

The house that built me sat close enough to I-70 that we could see the interstate when the corn was down, but we couldn't hear it. We knew if east or west bound lanes were stopped, but it required the use of binoculars to figure out why. 

To pass time in the late 80's, early 90's, we'd use Dad's commercial grade walkie-talkies to contact truckers passing by...under the condition, of course, that we never told the truckers where we were located. We'd often ask the drivers where they were heading to, coming from or hauling. If really feeling ornery (quite often), we'd taunt them and tell them we heard truck driver wore pantyhose. This is the exact reason why we couldn't reveal our location: I guess mom didn't want a fleet of semi's lining our road, trying to track down mouthy kids. 

Because let's face it:
We weren't talking to Teddy Bear. 

Time seems to repeat itself. Thirty years later, Caroline is spending her early years in a house that sits on a busy highway. A portion of nearly every day is spent in our yard, trying to get semis to honk at us. I've taught her how to move her arm up and down and yell, "HONK! HONK!", and though she's small, every once in a while, she's able to garner enough attention that a driver actually does honk at her. It becomes the highlight of her day. 



But as soon as the truck is out of sight, without fail, her response is the exact same, "Mommy, I want more!" She even signs "more, please" to reiterate her wishes. 

It didn't take long for me to notice the trend. She'd work her arm up and down for five trucks until one finally took notice. Then, as soon as the one or two honks were done, she instantly wanted more. And guess what ol’ mom did to make sure that happened? I took part in the charade – darn near throwing out my back to get the attention of a Red Gold rig. 


One or two honks more honks, then she instantly wanted more and more. 
But isn't that the world we live in? 
We get a little bit of something that we like, and immediately we want more. 

We want our kids in more activities so their time is packed with social events, constant stimulation and activity so they don't miss out on anything. 

We get numerous "likes" or reactions on Facebook and we feel the urge to post more often to get positive attention from a random sample of people. (This is where regular selfie offenders about wear me out.)

We continue to say "yes" to volunteer projects, group involvement, giving feedback, youth activities and more because someone told us five years we were good at it. Now we're edgy, can't remember the last time the entire family was around the dinner table for a prepared meal and actually quite exhausted because we're pulled in one hundred different directions because someone else wanted more. 

Sometimes too much of a good thing is not in fact, good. We deplete our resources of time, energy and attention to the point where the things that need them most (our children, marriages and families) are getting the short end of the stick. We run our bodies and minds into the ground trying to get everything done because someone wanted more of us. We forget to take care of ourselves because we’re taking care of something else less important, often forgetting:


“But we held up our end of the deal!” we tell ourselves, when the season is over or the project is done or the event has successfully passed. 
Sure – but at what expense?  

“The things that matter most should never be 
at the mercy of the things that matter least.” 
- Goethe 

At what point is what we have before us, or on our plate, enough? 

This is an area where I struggle as a parent: teaching an almost two-year-old that we can't always get more when we want it, even if we say please. Moderation in all areas in life is a positive thing, and that is a lesson I’m learning myself in my mid-thirties. 

There are several groups I’m learning to engage in less often (this means learning to say no to a commitment or not volunteering simply because no one else will) during this stage of life. They’re each wonderful groups which have a special place in our livelihood, but right now they’re just not at the top of my priority list when it comes to time, energy or attention. It is a tough lesson to learn by someone who has always been involved in so much, but the choice has afforded me more slowed, intentional, quality time with the brown eyed brunette that I live with. Actually, both of them.  

Tomorrow will roll around and we’ll continue to “HONK! HONK!” at truckers in hopes that they respond to the little girl in a big yard on the busy highway. I’ll quit putting in a lot of effort to garner “More!” results from semis, partly to teach Caroline a lesson and partly to keep my back in working order. And, I’ll continue to find ways to show Caroline that saying “I want more” won’t always yield the best results in life. 

Sometimes we have to step back and say, 
“I have enough.”

Parenting is serious business isn’t it? 
Especially when you can’t tell who is teaching whom more. 




Friendly reminder:


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