Light Pressure

My son’s first grade teacher asked me to do a small project this week.  My kid isn’t even in his class anymore.

Apparently none of his current parents responded when he asked for help.


Fifteen kids…two parents each…thirty grown-ups who can’t find a moment for a teacher?  That’s kind of pathetic and sad.

It’s also just the sort of thing I have no defenses against.

“Help you?  You’re asking me to help you?”

I’m a pushover.

“Yes, of course, anytime.  Hand it over.  I’d be happy too.”

Unfortunately, the project quickly turned into a nightmare for me.

It ate a day and a half (hence no blog posts), it cost me $26 and it exhausted my supply of spicy expletives.

Maybe those other parents are smarter than I thought.

In the first ten minutes, I was reminded of how incapable I am of administrative busy work at this point in my life.

This project really freaked me out about getting a job again one day.

Administrative busy work is all I’ve ever been qualified to do, and apparently I have forgotten how.


Insert important pause here to applaud working women who had to re-enter the workforce after a child raising hiatus. Bully for you. Don’t know where you summoned the courage.


The project is done and I gave it back to the teacher today, but I’m nervous he will replace it with another.

I will have to tell him I can’t handle it.  How exactly will I do that?  No, I’m asking you.  How will I do that?

My mom and I got to talking about my “niceness” at dinner last night.  She thinks I have too much of it.

I am consumed with the guilt ridden belief that I don’t have enough.  I feel that I never do what I could for my family and friends.

I am worried that there is not niceness at the core of my personality, or at least, that there is none at the core of my involuntary facial expressions.

(I’m sure I’ve explained to you before that my default face is “bitch.”)

I think people who don’t know me might assume that I am a heartless sort.

I don’t smile easily and I’m a socially anxious person who prefers to observe and evaluate from afar than to get involved immediately.

And I’m terrified of appearing stupid, so I keep quiet, or I talk too much about something unimportant.

Is that the essence of bitch?  Failure to assimilate?  Maybe.

Back to my niceness.  When I told my mom about the last few days, she said she worries that I will take on too much and then crack under the pressure of it.

The project from the teacher proved the validity of her concern.

I had such difficulty completing this “simple” task, that I lost myself for a day.  I felt old, unattractive, and unsuccessful.  I cried a bit to my husband.  I whined on Facebook.

The project was heavy and oppressive, but only until I finished it.  Then I was fine, or at least, back to normal.

That’s beside my mom’s point anyway.   She was talking about bigger things.  And she had the worried mom brow.

Stuff that can make you really lose it is the stuff that doesn’t go away, but I’ve proven I can deal with that stuff.

I assured my mom that if my life hadn’t completely cracked me already, that it probably wasn’t going to.

I think that made her feel better.  Maybe it didn’t.  I’m not sure.

What a realization though.  It made me feel better.

I mean, really, look where I’ve been.

I can get anywhere from here.

2 thoughts on “Light Pressure

  1. Well said! As for school volunteering, after years of finding myself in the same situation, I now offer up only what I want to do…ie: art projects in class.

  2. Don’t kid yourself. You are one of the nicest people I know. Your comments did make me feel better, however. I don’t know what I would do without you and never want to find out. Life is short so save a few minutes for yourself! Much love, Your Mother

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