is it worth it?

I’ve been having ‘issues’ with one of my babies. Sadly, I knew the problem was beyond my realm of understanding or ability to fix. I got lots of recommendations from friends I trust and I loaded up the car to meet a woman who could hopefully help me. Before I left I told Chris I really wish she had a NannyCam so I could check in throughout the day to observe what was happening. Driving to her place I was so nervous. I didn’t know her. Could I really trust someone I don’t know with a part of myself? I pulled in, parked the car and slowly walked to her door. I could see her smiling through the window. She was petite with little hands and her face was full of wisdom. I explained the issue we were having and she said she could help. I trusted her. With a bit of sadness and hope for a bright future I left. She said she’d call me soon to let me know what will need to happen…..I miss my camera.:)

Yeah, my LCD went out on my main camera. My point and shoot went for a little unprotected dive in the Pacific Ocean so I don’t have it either. I do have a backup dslr, but I get frustrated with it (yes, I know that is totally snobby to say, but I’m just being honest). A friend gave me an unused iphone. It isn’t connected to phone service, but it takes a fun little picture. I’ve been using it a lot lately.

Thanksgiving is around the corner. Our church is collecting food for Thanksgiving baskets to pass out to those in need of a little help on the holiday. The boys always enjoy shopping for the food to donate. This year we invited Chris along. I try to be very intentional about including the boys on things like this, but I’ll be honest it is so much more work to involve the kids. There are moments I question whether it is really worth it. Not whether it is worth it to donate food (because it obviously is), but is it worth all the hassle to include my kids in the process.

As we pulled into the parking lot a DOWNPOUR started. We had one semi-broken umbrella for the six of us. We made it in the store completely soaked. Is this really worth it? The boys were so excited that instead of walking down the aisles, they were dashing to see who could get to the food first. Is this really worth it? Littlest Brother wanted in and out, in and out of the basket. Is this really worth it? “You’ve sure got your hands full,” a well meaning lady said. Is this really worth it? They boy’s argued over who got to unload the shopping cart. Is this really worth it? The kids had fun, but I was stressed. Is this really worth it?

After getting everyone dressed and the food bags packed on Sunday morning the boys all decided they wanted to carry a food bag. Instead of 2 heavy bags I now had 1 heavy bag, 1 medium bag and 2 nearly empty bags to carry into the church…along with diaper bags and a baby….without Chris (he gets there before we do). Is this really worth it? A friend saw us and he offered to help. Littlest Brother sat his bag down in the middle of the parking lot because he changed his mind and didn’t want to carry a bag. Is this really worth it?

We dropped off the food in the first grade classroom. Later my son declared his class did not win an ice cream party for bringing the most food. He was bummed about ice cream. Is this really worth it? I reminded him we didn’t take food because of an ice cream contest and asked him why we took it in the first place. “We took it so people that don’t have food can have some. We took it to help others.” It was worth it.

*****

I know this post might seem a bit negative, but it just realistic. Getting my kids involved in things that make them aware of their world and ways to impact it is of crucial importance to me. However, just because it is important to me doesn’t mean it happens easily and we always have rosy experiences. With young children it involves work, patience, dedication and usually a bit of stress. A lot goes in right now on my part and it usually doesn’t feel like much comes out….but I am confident what is hard work today will be more than worth it in their tomorrows.

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  • andy - thanks for being authentic

  • Tonia - You shop at Aldi! :) I knew I liked you for a reason! :) Thanks for being genuine.

  • Mirys - Dear Ashley!

    It´s TOTALY worth it!

    Here is an idea for you (as if you needed ideas… silly me…). It is very typical in Brazil to have fun theme birthdays parties when you are young. And, of course, it´s very usual to receive gifts from friends…

    So twice a year we have a lot of kids toys, kids clothes, kids shoes and an incredible amount of other new stuff at home = result of Gui (6 years old) or Nina (4 years old) birthday party. It was so much more than what we needed that I decided to create a new kind of party: with SOCIAL GIFTS!!!

    The first experience with it was at Gui´s birthday (theme: soccer) and we wrote at the invitation “there is no need of gifts for us. Thanks to God we have much more than necessary. But there are some kids at an orphanage near our home that needs clothes. Please, be part of our TEAM and bring an used clothe to donation.” I thought just few people would embrace the idea but I didnt care: “if we collect 10 or 12 Tshirts it will be OK”, I thought.

    BUT OUR FRIENDS WERE SO SO SO SO SO AMAZING THAT WE COLLECTED ENOUGH TO GIVE TO 3 DIFERENT PLACES (orphanat and elderly homes)!!!!! Some friends brought 20 pieces of clothing with a perfect red ribbon! Some brought adults cloths as well! Some brought towels, sheets, blankets! Some buy many hats and other kind of warm things to use in the head (it was our winter and it was very cold here).

    Next birthday party all the friends asked “so Mirys, what will be the social gift this time?”. I answered so many of those questions that I decided to ask for cookies (it was a “tea and cookie” party with “Strawberry Short Cake” as theme). And again we received to many packets of cookies that we´re able to share with 4 institutions.

    But I usually go to the institutions only with the birthday kid! So we can comment the experience, share thougths, I can explain the meaning of what he/her is doing and say that I´m very proud of him/her. And he/her appreciates very much this “exclusive” getting out with mom!

    Maybe you could try TWO visits to the supermarket next year: with the big ones and with the small ones. There are a lot of friends and family who will perfectly understand and support this idea and (more important) be the baby-sitter to the others that will not be on the supermarket tour!

    See you soon!

    Mirys – http://www.diariodos3mosqueteiros.blogspot.com

  • delish - thank you for being so real and sharing your experiences. many of us moms can identify with that post, and it’s good to be reminded that yes, it is worth it…and maybe not even in the way we think it should be. thanks again!

  • kristiina - This was a lightbulb post for me…..something clicked. Mine are 3 and 4..Putting in the effort NOW is the most important thing we can do for our kids. I’m going to start with saying ‘yes’ when they ask if they can help me make dinner. (Baby steps…….) Thanks Ashley!!

  • Sarah Hill - What a great post! I have been reading your blog for about 7 months now and I absolutely love it everyday. I have 3 children 4,2 and 9 months and I can’t tell you how much I have gotten out of your posts, from things to do with them on rainy days to important messages to teach them like this one. Not only that but the sheer realization that they are only young once and it is so important to create memories. I wish that I was half as talented as you but you have inspired me to try and be more creative and I think my children really reap the benefits so thank you for that. Also I have realized how much I love pictures of my kiddos so thanks to you our camera now goes everywhere with us. Keep it up! Thanks a million:)

  • Ruth - In the middle of a completely disastrous trek to SuperTarget today to buy food to donate to our church’s Thanksgiving dinner, this post came to mind. My 18 month old managed to fall out of the cart, conk her head (much to the horror of all the other shoppers), then, after I had soothed her wounds and strapped her down, proceeded to scream hysterically and without stopping for the entire trip. Towards the end, I finally couldn’t take it anymore, so I let her out to walk with her sister, where she proceeded to throw everything within arm’s reach onto the floor and dump my cup of water onto the floor. As I reached the check-out, I was about to lose my mind, and then suddenly I remembered what you had written, and I just had to laugh. It’s worth it. (And thank you!)

  • Sara - awesome post, thank you for this. On a random note I have a naive question about your camera…you mentioned that your backup is a dslr…isn’t the one that broke also considered a dslr? I am new to learning camera technology so I really have no clue. My husband surprised me witha dslr for my bday, and although it is a VERY simple,basic model I thought a dslr was as good as it gets. Like I said, it’s a naive question.:)

  • Kathy Stell - Don’t forget…..Seed, Time and Harvest. No one said the work was lite or the road was smooth, but the Harvest will be grand!

  • Abby - OMG! This post is totally us…minus one …all the way down to the mildly annoying “you sure have your hands full” well done!

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