Unexpected Evening at Home

I planned my whole day around the fact that I was going to escape my house and hang out with adults in the evening. It was all arranged. Kiki was going with Howard. Link would babysit. But then the scout camping trip changed locations from a campground somewhere to my neighbor’s back yard. Link heard the news and suddenly switched from being glad to miss it, to being excited about going. I could not look into his bright, hopeful eyes and say “No you can’t camp out with your friends, you have to babysit.” (The fact that a resentful babysitter is not a particularly good babysitter also played into the decision.) I gave permission and Link gleefully ran off to camp while I canceled my plans. Since Link being excited about camping is the far more rare event, I know I made the right choice. But I still wish I were headed to Salt Lake right now.

This story could be a lead-in to a discussion on parental sacrifice, or a personal pity party. I don’t really want to go either of those places. Loving someone means that sometimes you put aside the things you want for the things that they want. This is true for any loving relationship, not just parent for child. In my case, the kids have had to miss lots of things they wanted because of the needs of the business or the fatigue of their parents. It is only fair that I take a turn sometimes. This need for sacrifice is true in a larger sense as well. I often find myself attending or planning events that I’d rather skip because I value the organization or people involved. I think everyone does this at times. The trick is to do so with my eyes open, knowing that I am giving a gift of time and effort. Like any gift, I need to make sure that I give it with an open heart, not resentfully. And so I am glad to stay home so my boy can camp, even though I’d rather be elsewhere.