I recently received word my mother was having surgery to have her appendix removed. My family is scattered along the east coast, so one of my sisters was coordinating keeping us all informed on the details. While talking to her, we discussed heading to my parents to help out. To me, its a no-brainer. Who knows how long it will take Mom to recover and Dad, well, he isn’t really self sufficient. He’d rather watch Fox News and play solitaire on his computer then make dinner.
Given the opportunity, I’m the type of person who will bend over backwards to help someone out. My family doesn’t really know this, only because their definition of “volunteer” and “helping” is different then mine. I believe one should volunteer to help out of their own free will and choosing. My family believes one must do it when one is told to do it.
I also have a different definition of visiting family and vacation. I believe when one is visiting family, especially when one is on vacation, they are on vacation and should relax. I insist on this when people come to house. “Do nothing” I say. This confuses my family, who insist on attempting to do things they shouldn’t when at my house. So when I visit them when I am on vacation and sit on my laurels (after all, it is my vacation), they see that as rude. Most likely they think I am a selfish, ungrateful person not willing to life a finger to help anyone. My opinion – I’d rather offer up my help when you actually need it and don’t expect it. It means more. It means I actually wish to do instead of being guilted into it by your glaring, judging eyes.
While discussing heading to Mom and Dad’s to help out, my Crazy Spinster Sister was a bit perplexed. Roughly paraphrased:
Crazy Spinster Sister: Why in the world would you go?
Me: To help out.
Crazy Spinster Sister: What in the world will you do?
Me (sarcasm growing more intense): Oh, I don’t, anything someone would possibly think to do to help out. Cook. Clean. Shop for groceries.
Crazy Spinster Sister: Well, I wouldn’t go. I wouldn’t know what to do without being in the way. And our other sister said she’d go to cook. I don’t know what you think you could do.
Me: I am a grown adult who can take care of themselves. I think I can do that without being in the way. And, I think I’m capable of helping.
Crazy Spinster Sister: Well, that’s why I’m not going.
So, good to know you have no idea how to help out. Sometimes, I think I live on a different planet.