Dear Little Ben,
(Not that you are so little anymore, but I call you that to distinguish you from my Big Ben. You are already a nine year old in fourth grade! Doesn’t seem like that long ago that I encouraged you to try using a straw in your front tooth gap.)
This morning, when you asked your mom Erin what she was doing today, she had to think. As you know, she was not going to a job where she oversees multimillion dollar contracts for a large company or develops programs for the handicapped. She does not have a job performing surgery, teaching high school math, administering city government, or running a small business. These are all notable professions, but not what your mom has chosen to do.
Did you know that your mom has a college degree in education and that she used to teach fourth grade? Can you imagine having your mom as a school teacher this year?! Instead, her teaching career is on hold; she and your dad dedicated her efforts to working for your family at home and in the community. Their budget might pass on items other families find essential, like the latest electronics or a vacation home. (Your sister thinks she is the only seventh grader without a cell phone!) Instead, your family focuses on time spent together, like “organized dinners” as you named your home-cooked evening meals.
Remember this year’s school book fair, mile run, vision & hearing screening, school pictures, fall party, and the field trip to the Science Museum? Your mom was involved in all of those; the school secretary even counted on her to recruit other parental help. Well, your mom would not have been available if she was working elsewhere. The fun that you and your friends enjoyed with your mom at those events would never have happened.
Here is a list of what your mom did today, although she is so humble that I had to force her to list it all:
Bank chores – pay bills, balance checkbook, send emails
Work out – staying healthy is on her daily list
United Way “Packing for the Weekend” food program – your mom develops menus and orders food for 86 families to feed 233 kids from our town 3 meals per day, plus snacks and desserts each weekend. She also coordinates this for two other towns. On Thursdays, she spends hours organizing the food, packing bread/milk vouchers, and setting up backpacks for other volunteers to pack the food. (She says you and your sister are great helpers!)
The usual housework – pack lunches, clean kitchen, load dishes (I hear you are a good dishwasher emptier!), vacuum, laundry (only one load today)
Breakfast for all of you, drove your sister to middle school, got you to the bus
Dinner of taco pie and salad
Drove for the two basketball carpools she set up
Ran errands – post office, library, gas
Read a book for 30 minutes – also on her daily list to keep her mind healthy
Plan to welcome the new neighbors with treats, a card, and introductions
That list does not mention the activities your mom plans ahead for, like the Sunday school teaching and classroom volunteering. She even offered me a ride to pick up my car when I needed help today. Your mom is available and helpful in the neighborhood, and many of us appreciate that.
Ben, keep asking good questions like that, and I hope and pray that you can recognize and appreciate all the incredible things your mom does for you, your family, our neighborhood, and our community. She is quite the professional mom and thanks, Ben, for sharing her with us!
God’s grace to you, Ben, and to your Mom Erin.
P.S. My kids tease me that I will buy anything from you when you sell for fundraisers because you are so adorable! Yes, that is true, but that will have to stop when you start selling things like cars, computers, stocks, or whatever when you grow up. I might vote for you, though.