I strive to remain humble as I enter the New Year of 2008, but the decision I made last year to publish my observations and insights in this newspaper has brought a few unexpected benefits. Specifically, I made the breakthrough of gaining real estate on the refrigerator!
The refrigerator door reigns as the most coveted spot in our domestic domain. This multi-functional message center, which doubles as a food storage device, takes precedence over any PDA, Internet blog, or cell phone text function. Emergency contacts boom out in thick, bright red ink for the babysitter brave enough to square off against our four children. Appointments are not confirmed until they are submitted for spousal review via the dry-erase calendar. Flyers for YMCA classes, after school programs and library functions compete for mounting space. Magnets are at a premium.
Flash back to March 2007 panic attack: I awoke to an almost blank refrigerator door. Did someone break into our home and steal our critical organization and information data off the cold box? One item only was on display: my first opinion column in the Forest Park Review.
I smiled at the fact that someone was actually interested in showcasing my written word. I was even more surprised that someone inside my household showed signs of listening to what I had to say. Other bits and pieces of our lives slowly worked their way back onto the refrigerator, but my columns remained a monthly staple at the prime eye-level spot.
Standing at the refrigerator door I contemplated how many of us would embrace the transformation from an Old Forest Parker into a New Forest Parkian. Would we be ready to greet the next evolution of our town, a town acknowledging a greater diversity of people? I cringed as I thought about the danger of mixing teenagers with cell phones. My first-hand account of seeing a $10 monthly phone upgrade blossom into a $280 multimedia service charge convinced me that rollover minutes were designed to roll over my budget. Turn 21 and get your own phone kiddies, tough love is back!
As Mother’s Day rolled around, I realized that I was significantly underpaid. Research showed that the organization, time management, coaching, and problem solving skills of an Alpha Soccer Mom could easily fetch a $135,000 salary in the corporate workplace. Nevertheless, I also maintained from my research that the true currency of motherhood is measured in hugs and kisses. My refrigerator door also displayed that no matter what the task, we must step onto the stage of life and embrace the opportunity to use our gifts to change the world. I do admit that sometimes “changing the world” means making it to Friday with your sanity.
During the month of July, my refrigerator had extra grocery items added to the normal list. The BUY NONE, GET ALL FREE specials included love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. Feasting on these fruits for the soul could never hurt anyone’s diet. Keeping this in mind allowed me to absorb the fact that serving as a positive role model for a child–yours or someone else’s–is the biggest contributor to developing a successful young person.
As the year of 2007 closed, my refrigerator reminded me that we could all use more of some things and less of others. More NBA basketball (says husband), less (Comcast) poor customer service, more God, less religion, more gift cards, less perfect gifts, more children acting their age, less adults acting like children, more MLK, less Britney and OJ.
In 2007, right in front of my refrigerator, I accepted the obligation to reflect upon the past in order to evaluate and apply lessons learned for the future. In 2008, I will strive to remain humble. But it’s hard to do when I have the center spot on the refrigerator.