Friday, April 10, 2009

Don't Know How I Feel About This...

This week I was confronted with two dilemmas. I am still trying to process my feelings about both. Ugh, it's so confusing!

First, on Wednesday night my husband and I attended parent orientation at the middle school our firstborn child will attend in the fall. Holy hell, when did my baby girl become an adolescent??!!! As we sat in the auditorium of this enormous, cavernous, immense, and overwhelming facility (that absolutely dwarfs the high school I attended, by the way...), listening to the administrators give a breakdown of the schedules, options, policies, and whatnot, I started to cry.

Yes, I was the blubbering mom in the back of the crowd. I'm sure my husband was mortified when I started tearing up, mumbling "I don't know if I'm ready for this."

This sweet little baby girl... now this young lady.

Crap, that was too soon!

Oh, and her "baby" sister...

follows just one year later...

Sooooo not ready for this. Trying to breathe...

Dilemma #2 is one of a more ethical nature. First a little background husband is a full-blooded, enrolled member of one of the Native American tribes indigenous to the state where we live. Growing up, there were many, many times his family had to make do with very little. The poverty present on Indian reservations throughout North America cannot be overstated. (Those "casino tribes" are the exception by the way, and my husband's tribe is opposed to gaming for ethical and spiritual reasons, so don't even try and go there...).

Anyway, several charities and churches provide assistance to children and families on the Rez. At Christmas time, gifts from Toys for Tots may be some of the only presents a child there receives. A box of staples from a charitable organization often means a family gets to eat dinner tonight when otherwise they might not. Serious stuff.

So, how does this pose a dilemma for me? Well, for the third time since we moved back to this state, my mother-in-law (who does live on the Rez) picked up donated items for our family...two huge boxes of canned and dried foods, toiletries, books for children, paper goods, cosmetics, etc. this time. She picked up a similar bunch of donations on our behalf last year, and also a bunch of Toys for Tots items for our kids at the Holidays.

We do not live on the Rez. We live in a solidly middle-class suburb, in a comfortable home with running water and electricity. We do not rely on a wood stove for heat in the winter, and we don't have to hike down the side of a mesa to get to the outhouse when nature calls.

I don't think the generous folks who donated canned food, toys, and personal care items had my family in mind.

To be fair, there have been times when money was tight. Painfully tight. As in trip-to-the-foodbank-tight. We've been there. It sucks. I hope life never puts us back there again.

We have also made a point of being the people who donate to the local resource center. We know the need is real, and we feel it's important to do what we can to help those whose need is greater than ours.

(CVS certainly helps in this department, by the way, but that could be a whole post of its own.)

I know my mother-in-law's intentions were good, but I am extremely uncomfortable receiving these items. I feel guilty accepting them, but don't know how to decline without offending my MIL. These kinds of donations are such a part of life where they are from that I don't think I could explain my feelings without hurting hers or insulting her.

I packed up the boxes and sent them on to my brother-in-law and his wife, who live down the street from us. They are actually in a pinch at the moment, being one of the many families who's experienced first-hand layoffs and unemployment. I figure they could use it, and if not, they will hopefully forward the items to the local resource center.

What to do, what to do... I just don't want to be in this position again.

Oh, and I don't want my babies to grow up so fast either!

1 comment:

Joannah said...

If I were you, I would graciously accept the "gifts" your MIL gives your family. But, then I'd find a way to discretely pass it on (like you have) to someone else in need. You can't change your MIL's perspective on the whole thing, but you can make sure those items get in the hands of people who really need them.