Building a Longer Table
I told you all I wasn't a mommy blogger in my very first post. If I were, I'd be actively posting catchy collaborations and witty memes on this blog multiple times each week, advertising them on social media and working to garner a following. But instead, I've been wearing overalls, using a lot of dry shampoo, and thinking.
That is, working and mothering and cooking and searching and sleeping and eating and carpooling and advocating, hugging and snuggling and loving - but also thinking. And what I've been thinking about with the most regularity is the concept of giving and sharing. It's mid-November, so the Thanksgiving holiday next week is the obvious subject matter choice for a blog post at this time, but I've actually had these thoughts for quite a while, bouncing around in my brain and rattling back and forth.
In my mind, giving is not always a donation, charitable contribution, or related to dollars and cents at all. Sometimes, that's the most meaningful way to impact an organization or a good cause. Usually though, my definition of giving is something much more akin to sharing - what can I share? My own or my family's time, expertise, heart, soul, or treasure - that might enrich the life (or day. or experience) of a fellow human? How can I do more, be more, cook more, create more today - not because I have to but because I know I have the capacity and energy to do so, where others might not.
Is a mom that I know having a challenging week sleep training her infant? And could she use a batch of homemade soup delivered so she can worry less about food, and more about her baby? Is a dear friend struggling with navigating a relationship - and would a phone call ease the weight on her shoulders and the worry in her heart? Does my career mentor seem overtaxed and mired in the details, unable to come up for air throughout the work day? And how can I best consider and support the people on my sales team, or in my house, or on our block? How can I show my children that giving ourselves and our time and consideration - to our family and our children, but also to the people who most need support in our communities - is the most noble cause we can aspire to?
I'm not naive. Nearly three decades, five cities, and two children into my life experience have taught me both that there are only so many hours in each day, and that overtaxing ourselves inevitably leads to burnout and the inability to give or do much at all, whether we get sick or tired or simply overwhelmed. And I don't subscribe to the 'culture of busyness' that we see glorified on social media and in business currently - productivity is not a measure of worthiness or wholeness, and I know this with certainty.Instead, I wonder if we can't juice just one or two extra good deeds for others out of the time we have each day? Don't I have the resources and time to simply double my soup recipe and share half with a friend, or offer to pick up a friend's child from daycare to save her a trip?
I think we can. In fact, I know that I can. I can do more of these small things that fill my soul with joy and in turn make another person's day just a little bit brighter. These tiny modes of giving and moments of thought that get squeezed into our days, between the busy moments and the quiet moments, the bedtime routines and Zoom meetings - I would argue that these are the things that most make a life worth living. What a joy to know that the little things are the most impactful way to give and share.
As my favorite saying goes, "When you have all that you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence."