Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fundraisers, Funerals and Post-its

Can I tell you what is on my desk right now?  A little stack of candy-colored, heart-shaped post-its, unopened.

The other day, I went to a funeral and it was beautiful.  The thoughts that were shared and the stories that were told made me want to live a better life.  I haven’t been to many funerals, but it was striking to me that during the short service, more than one speaker believed that the purpose of life was to love.  Love.  What a fabulous (and you’d think, relatively easy to accomplish) task. Our highest goal, the Big Kahuna of what we should strive for while on this earth, is being loving.

Hand in hand with that is that nothing feels as good as being loved by another. 

My best friend’s father growing up was in sales—very quickly he climbed up that corporate ladder until he became like a lot of the middle class dads of our peers, which meant that we didn’t really know what they did other than wear a tie; but he started in sales.  And he was terrifying.  We could have set up a haunted house, charged admission and merely opened the door to her dad sitting in the foyer and children would have run screaming and scarred for nights to come. 

He didn’t mean to be scary; he was never outright harsh-- he was merely more burly ‘dad’ than most of us kids were used to.  I tell you this only to better illustrate some of what made him a very successful salesman.  Once, for a school fundraiser, his daughter Cara and I had to go door-to-door in an attempt to sell various items and this man gave us a crash course in how to make a sale. Rule Numero Uno was never get embarrassed.  If a buyer says no, you just ask again.  Rule Numero Two was don’t care what others think.  This brings you back to rule one— buyer may continue to say ‘no’, but if you’re oblivious to the eye-brow raises and nonverbal cues, you’ll feel fine about directing them to the page offering the 5 gallon tubs of popcorn.

In the end, Cara and I managed to sell a cheesecake to my mom.  We met a lot of the neighbors, but we just couldn’t do the whole stone cold salesman routine.  We just couldn’t. 

We wanted to be liked.

This is one of my first memories of being aware that I cared what people thought about me.  I really cared.  And it wasn’t a bad thing.  In fact, I believe caring what people think about you, being embarrassed, being shy, even backing down when people give you strange looks are all extensions of that deep, soul-rooted desire to be loved. 

Today I made my kids their first-day-of-school lunches and right now I’m feeling awful because I forgot to include little notes written on the heart-shaped stickies that I bought just for this occasion.  I totally forgot.  Juice was packed, dairy, starch, veggie and fruit were all represented in their sacks—I remembered their physical well-being, but…

I don’t even know how to put it into words, this admitted confession that I spaced on the part of their well-being that matters most--  I forgot to do something to make them feel loved.

Why couldn't I be the mom who occasionaly forgets the food, but always remembers the note?  That would never happen.  And I’m sad that this is the case.  

I think about what we’re supposed to take away from funerals and failing and forgetting to put in sticky notes and I think it’s that Love really is the answer. 

With all the excitement the first day of school holds, I know my kids won’t even notice the absence of a note from mom.  But I also know, that it’s because I love them that I’m saddened when I miss an opportunity to show them Love.

Little heart-shaped post-its will be waiting on the door when K and C get home because I know they’ll think it’s cute.  But more important than that, I'm going to be waiting with hugs, ready to hear about their day
because I know that dopey notes are just that.



Katie and Lane said...

Thanks for the reminder. At the end of the day when I'm yelling at my kids to get to bed as I am trying to nurse the baby- I need to take a deep breath and remember that i love my kids. I shouldn't let them go to bed with me angry at them for doodling around. You are such an awesome mother and thanks for being such a good example. I love that Charlie likes his homemade Yankee t-shirt. And would wear it to school.

Tiffany said...

love this. because that's what it's about anyway. we need to talk. I have more to say about this. darn us for living far apart. I didn't know you are keeping up with your blog now! hot dog! I need to get back in the zone.