Your Kindness is Killin’ Me!

dog-with-wine.jpg 

When Hubby and I got married, only two months later my parents moved into a much larger, nicer house.  When anyone ohhhed and ahhhed about their new place, they would just smile and say they had gotten a “financial windfall” — no more kids at home!

Anyway, they moved next door to a very nice older lady, Mrs. R.  Mrs. R and Mama became friends over the years and loved to talk over the back fence, mainly about the roses they both grew.

One day, after my parents had lived there about 10 years, Mrs. R brought a new member of her “family” out to the fence for Mama to meet — a beautiful brindle boxer puppy, Max.   The next time, we were over there, Hubby and the kids and I got to meet Max too. 

How Mrs. R LOVED Max.  We didn’t see him often because he wasn’t an “outside dog” — translation, very little exercise.  But, once in a while, Mama would ask one of us while we were there to run something over to Mrs. R or we would see Max out in her back yard. When we DID see him, it became quickly obvious that Max was becoming BIG Max.  And I don’t mean taller.  Mama would tell us that Mrs. R fed Max like he was a human.  Anything SHE ate — HE ate.   In fact, one time when I was over there to pick up/deliver something, while we were chatting, she got a wine bottle and REFILLED the saucer out of which Max was drinking!

Long story short, Max didn’t live very many years, and was, as they say, “morbidly obese” when he died.  It was pretty obvious that Mrs. R had literally Loved Max To Death!  Something I KNOW she would never have intentionally done, because she was heartbroken when he was gone.

Going back to when I lived at home — Mama loved me, her surprise late-life baby, and enjoyed spoiling me in a way that she would have loved to have done with their four older children, but wasn’t able to do.  This was mainly because money was easier now because Daddy had moved up the ladder in his job and, also, because there was now only ONE of me!  So, she SPOILED me.  That’s nice when you are on the receiving end — until you have to go out in the world and function as an adult. 

When Hubby and I got married, I didn’t know how to cook, clean, write a check, iron clothes or do laundry!  My guess is that it didn’t take long for Mama to regret not having made me learn more of these life skills, and that may be the reason (besides that she DID love me) that she continued to be a great source of support for me. 

 I called Mama right after we got married and asked her how I would know when and to whom I should write checks out of our brand new checkbook.   She chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, the people who need for you to write them a check will let you know — it’s called a bill!”

For the first two years we were married, on Friday night, we would bundle our dirty laundry up in the dirty bed sheets and take it all over to Mama and Daddy’s house.  On Sunday, they would have us over for the one good meal we would have that week, and when we left, we would carry home our clean laundry and sheets, all folded and stacked in brown paper sacks!  After two years, when we told them that I was expecting our first child, Mama memorably said, “It’s time for you to get a washer and dryer — I don’t do diapers.”   I always say that if I had known things were going to take THAT nasty turn — we might never have had children! 

I did eventually learn the things I needed to know, with varying degrees of success, but my point is that my start in “adult” life would have been easier if Mama had MADE ME learn some basics when I was still at home.  Did she intentionally make my entrance into adult life harder?  Absolutely not.  But, that didn’t change the results.

So, my point is — be wise with your love — predict the consequences of your actions.  Don’t love your children so much that you aren’t willing to MAKE them learn to do things for themselves.  And, I’d like to say, “They’ll thank you later.”  But, they may not!  So, don’t do it for the “Thanks” later — do it because it’s the right thing to do.

A quote from General Norman Schwarzkopf, “The truth of the matter is, we always know the right thing to do.  The hard part is doing it.”

May God grant all of us wisdom in the way we show our love to those around us, especially to those He has put in our care.

9 Responses to Your Kindness is Killin’ Me!

  1. Hmmmm….that this post comes on the heels of a weekend with my kids is not lost on me.

    DD

  2. Sandra says:

    Hmmmmm. . . DD . . . I did notice that your girls weren’t enthusiastic about the “jobs” I gave them to do while they were here. Coco seemed particularly annoyed when I made her write checks! :D

    I’m sure you are preparing the “princesses” better than Grandma prepared me!

    Love, Mom

  3. Chrissy says:

    So much truth in this post! Now we laugh when my dad or mom tell the story of spaghetti dinner, sauce made with tomato paste and nothing else and to find out my dad ate it and said “this is good honey” so he wouldn’t hurt her feelings! Needless to say, my mom felt the exact same as you do when I was growing up and even though I got upset about “chores” it has done me well now!

  4. milkandhoney says:

    This is a wonderful story, every piece of it.

  5. “May God grant all of us wisdom in the way we show our love to those around us, especially to those He has put in our care.” I really like this prayer, and your message is a good one. As you know, parenting well is not easy. My kids do chores…Kyle has been doing his own laundry for about a year now (when I’m not getting to it fast enough).

    When I was a little girl (7), my sister (4) and I had to do the laundry, because my mom had had a new baby. The bad part was we had to use the old wringer washer in the basement and hang up all of the clothes. It was very hard work (I still remember how it felt to have my hands in the ice cold rinse water and how it felt the time my fingers got munched in the wringer), but we survived and are better for it, I’m confident.

  6. cathy says:

    I learned to clean and iron when growing up, but my mom didn’t like to cook, so she never taught us – just did it herself – guess she felt guilty for making us do something she hated so much! It created some interesting moments when I married – like the time I wanted to try cinnamon rolls but had never seen them made. I cute the strips 1st and then added the raisins and nuts, etc. – individually to each strip and then rolled them up! I was so embarrassed the next time I watched Sam’s mom make cinnamon rolls – wow – so much easier!

  7. Sandra says:

    Cathy — I love that picture of you assembling each individual cinnamon roll! So, I wasn’t the ONLY one without cooking experience? Thanks. It always feels better to have company in your ignorance! :)

  8. Beth says:

    Great advice! I find the hardest thing is that it’s often so much EASIER to do things myself. Right now Chickie is limited as to what she can do–she’s not ready to use the stove or washing machine yet! :) But she can help put up toys and can even help unload the dryer. Often I do those things myself though, because it’s so much easier. Maybe your story will help me be more consistent with training my girl and later my boy to take responsibility…especially for the messes they create!

  9. Sandra says:

    Beth — I have absolutely no doubt that you will raise your children to be self-sufficient and responsible.

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