Sunday, December 10, 2006

A woman I admire highly

Yep. I admire Sarita highly. Highly. She's my wife. "The wife of my youth."

This post has to do with her ability to set goals for herself. To set goals and stick to them. To set "boundaries" for her life in ways I have never yet succeeded.

Setting Boundaries of Time

This has always fascinated me. She gets to a point in her day and she says, "I'm done."

  • "I'm done working."

  • "I'm done reading."

  • "I'm done . . . whatever."

And she just stops!

I don't tend to operate that way. I find it very hard to stop whatever I'm doing. To "turn it off."

I want to keep going.

But I don't. Not really. I want to stop. But another part of me says, "No! You have to keep going!"

I've learned--partially with the help of Sarita (she was raised this way; I was not; but I discovered the principle at the very front end of my Freshman year in college when I read a book called Ten Great Freedoms; and I had acquired the discipline)-- . . . I have learned to take a Sabbath, a rest day. And that has provided at least one kind of boundary for me when it comes to time.

But it's this daily boundary issue that has me flamboozled.

And I admire Sarita for setting and keeping daily time boundaries.


Another area:

Spending Time with the Grandkids

Sarita and I were talking last week about how she came to enjoy our grandkids so much. For some reason I had never become aware of the truth of the situation before.

When our daughter first mentioned she was pregnant with her first child, Sarita's initial response was not joyful. --I have always remembered that.

I was modestly happy. Sarita was moderately dismayed: "I'm too young to be a grandmother! . . . "

With that memory firmly in my mind, I was shocked, then, a year or two later, not when Jadon was born, but . . . I don't know . . . maybe six months or so after he was born . . . --I was shocked when Amy and her husband Phil and Jadon came to visit, and Sarita seemed almost to shriek with apparent glee at their arrival and the wonder of Jadon's appearance.

This wasn't the same woman who had seemed to bemoan the fist announcement of Jadon's approaching birth.

What happened in between?

I hadn't heard the story--not truly, with understanding-- . . .until last week.

"I was talking with Jan (a woman from our church)," Sarita told me. "I asked her what she did during the week.

"'Oh,' she said, 'I work at my job a couple of days a week, but then the other days I get to spend with my grandkids!' --And she said that excitedly, as if it were some kind of privilege or something: she gets to spend the time with her grandkids.

"I couldn't understand that. That wasn't the way I was raised. I didn't have those tapes running in my mind.

"My mom told me, when I was pregnant with Amy, that she had done her work when raising [my siblings and I]. She wasn't going to be available to babysit. She was done."

So grandma never did take our kids. When the kids were born, no grandmas (on either side--mine or Sarita's) . . . No grandmas ever appeared to "help out."

The "tapes" that Sarita had playing in her mind said that grandkids are a burden. You leave them alone. You've done your work when you've gotten your own kids out of the house.

"But when Jan said that she got to spend time with her grandkids, it made me have to rethink my paradigm. Could grandkids be a joy? Could I enjoy spending time with them?

"I told Amy about my conversation with Jan and said I wanted to try it. I wasn't sure if I could handle it. But I wanted to try."

And I will confess with Sarita that "It has worked out great!"

Sarita loves spending time with the grandkids.

She is absolutely exhausted when they leave at the end of their visits. But she loves having them around.

. . . And I am challenged to consider--or reconsider--how I ought to be operating. Can I--am I willing to--"come out of myself" enough to spend significant time with them . . . especially when they are young? . . .
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