Learning About Less of Me From My Children
I have told this story before so please forgive me if you have heard it, but I just had to share it again in honor of “Less of Me Month.”
My daughter’s name is Rachel and when she was in high school she played on the volleyball team. It was a small school and there weren’t a a lot of players so most of the girls got equal playing time: all but one. I really never knew why the coach didn’t play this girl. In my opinion she was as good as the rest of the girls and on some nights she played better, but if you have had children involved in sports you know that sometimes (okay a lot of times) parents don’t see things the way coaches do.
Rachel was a good volleyball player. We knew she wasn’t destined to play after college but that was okay. She enjoyed being part of the team and we enjoyed watching her. One of the last games of her senior year was Senior Night and all the girls parents were there. My elderly grandmother even made it to the game to watch her great granddaughter play, but to our surprise she didn’t play.
The first half of the game passed, no Rachel. By the time the game was almost over I had steam coming out of my ears. It was all I could do to control myself at the end of the game. How dare that coach not play my daughter on Senior Night! I was livid.
When I got home I sat down on the couch to wait for my daughter to console her. She came in, took one look at me and asked what was wrong.
“What do you mean what is wrong! You didn’t get to play and it was Senior Night!”
“I know,” she said.
My mouth fell open. She wasn’t upset.
“I told the coach to play Susan (the girl who never played). Her parents were there and she hardly ever gets to play. ”
My heart literally melted from such a rush of emotions: shame for my evil thoughts about the coach and love and pride for the fine young woman my daughter had become.
That incident happened years ago. Rachel is married now and lives in a nearby city. We talk daily and she’s a loyal NanaHood reader. Recently we were talking about Less of Me Month. “All those women make me feel so inadequate,” she said. “They do so much for others.”
Rachel is a sixth grade teacher. I’ve seen the way her student’s relate to her. At Christmas she and her husband coordinated a gift giving project with his business where each child received a large stocking full of gifts and treats. For some of them it was the only Christmas gift they received. She made pictures of them with their stockings and taught them how about the importance of writing thank you notes.
Rachel and her husband live in a busy neighborhood near a college campus. Down the street from them is a resident who has been there since time began (well maybe not that long). Her name is Bessie. She doesn’t drive any more but the lady can walk. During warm weather (and sometimes cold weather) I often see her out pushing her walker up and down the streets. She knows everything about everyone and isn’t afraid to give you her opinion about anything. Rachel and Gabe (my son -in-law) have adopted Bessie. They take her to the grocery and the Dollar Store. They take her food and out for ice cream. Gabe changes her light bulbs for her and Rachel calls her often just to check on her. The morning of the day Rachel told me she felt inadequate when it came to doing for others she had been to take Bessie to the Dollar Store.
When I reminded Rachel about Bessie she said, “Yes, but that’s really not anything. I love helping Bessie.”
Is there more we can do…always, but that doesn’t mean we should over look the small things we do for others. They matter. Just ask Bessie.