Finishing strong…or not

I was always taught to finish strong; doesn’t matter what you’re doing, could be a big job or a small one, but finish well. I think this is an important lesson in life and have done my best to pass that down to my kids. But honestly, sometimes you’re lucky to finish something at all, and sometimes you’re just barely crawling to the finish line.

It seems like there are some things you just have to let go, whether you’ve officially finished your business or not. Bless and release. I’m speaking of my elementary school volunteering career, so this is not applicable to any job or chore that our kids will ever encounter. Gosh I started strong back in 2005 when Charlie entered kindergarten. I was pregnant with our third, but eager to volunteer in his classroom once a week. I took a short break after Judah was born, but started right back up because I follow through with my commitments!

Because I am in touch with my limitations as a human being, my volunteering consisted of helping with whatever needs the teacher had within the classroom; reading with kids, making copies, grading papers, and under no circumstances would I go on field trips. I can handle an hour to an hour and a half in a controlled classroom with teacher supervision, but you take those same little blessings out into the wild on a field trip and I cannot. In my fourteen years of children in school, I have not once gone on a field trip. No shame here. Andy, being the selfless person that he is and having a flexible work schedule, went on every field trip that allowed him. He was known by the kids’ classmates as the funny dad and every one loved having him along. This worked out great for me.

I had every intention of consistently putting in my one-to-one-and-a-half hours year after year until Josie finished out her elementary years. Two and a half years ago I got a new job requiring me to work three days a week. I felt that wasn’t a strong enough reason to quit since that still gave me two other week days to volunteer. But two weeks into my job our lives were largely interrupted by Andy’s hospitalization for heart issues. That was a rough and scary time for everyone, but I’ll just say it; the perfect excuse to press pause on my long career as a Ridgecrest Elementary volunteer. I planned on returning once things calmed down with Andy and we settled into our new normal. Well, it took several months to adjust to Andy’s heart disease diagnosis and follow up appointments on top of our whole family getting used to me working three days a week. By then we were coming up to the end of the school year, so why start back up right as things are winding down?

That was the spring of 2017 and I haven’t been back since. Here we are about to finish up Josie’s 5th grade year with one more year of elementary before she heads off to middle school and I’ve decided to just call it. I’m done. Twelve years was a good run. Little twinges of guilt come up when Josie asks me about why I don’t volunteer anymore, but I push through it because I am persevering. Time to move on. Bless and release.