A girlfriend and I recently had a conversation regarding the self-empowering use of the word ‘No’ on a more regular basis. Chances are if you’re a parent (most specifically a mom) you understand this struggle.
Saying no to our children can be difficult, however it is not always the struggle which challenges us the most. As moms, friends, spouses and family it’s often hard to place ourselves first and recognize what we may need ... first. In order to live true to this, we must embrace the notion of saying no or I’m sorry I can’t.
As we spoke, the friend shared that this was a goal she was truly striving for. Overtaxed by four active kids, a husband in a demanding job and endless school volunteer obligations she noted it was ‘time.’
“I need this for myself,” she shared. “I’m just tired.”
Such relatable words, felt by so many of us as we try and be everything for everybody in our lives.
I came to peace with not being ‘that’ mom a few years ago. I still say yes, but now I’m just very careful and cautious on what and when I choose to.
In honesty, I’m just real with myself. I’m a single mom, working full-time and caring for two young kids. I realize there are plenty in my same boat and some manage what I do and then some with flawless effort. I think this is fantastic, but I’m not them.
That is after all what we try and teach our kids, right? Be your own person? I’m learning to live and love who that person is, in me.
This is a very long segue into a valuable lesson I learned in the span of three months. As I type this I’m still overcome with pride and joy for the one volunteer opportunity I did say yes to.
On April 18, 2015 the 6th Annual SOS (Support Oakdale Schools) Fun Run will be hosted at Cloverland Elementary School. This annual fundraiser will once again offer the community an opportunity to gather, walk or run a bit, all in the name of fundraising for our schools.
To this commitment, I said yes. Well, truthfully I first said no and then it weighed on me.
This event was begun as a grass roots effort by a few educators and community members looking for a fun, affordable activity to include the community and raise funds for its students. The partnership with Oakdale Education Foundation proved to be a good fit. Since that first event in 2010 over $70,000 has been raised and contributed to Oakdale schools.
The no came first as I thought, how could I ever help with something so big. The shoes of the past committee, I was well aware were big. How could I ever?
One morning in late December as I headed out for a long run my 7 year old asked, “When is the SOS run, mommy? When do we sign up?”
It was somewhere around mile 7 that I stopped dead in my tracks and shot an email to the OEF Board member who I initially said no to.
This event, the SOS run was the event that started me running. This event, was the one which I first heard a tear-filled runner share with me (as a journalist) the pride she felt in herself at completing her first 5k. This event is more than ‘another race.’
So now, each week we as a committee gather and plan. We look to our friends, family and community members in seek of help and guidance. We hope that the new date still finds its way onto the calendars of community members to Support Oakdale Schools.
The notion of filling shoes as a new team is just plain silly. We of course hope to see tons of shoes, filled with runners, walkers, skippers and joggers; whatever it takes to get them to the Finish Line.
As a group, aiming to fill the shoes of those who preceded us is not necessary. The ground work has been set. The leg work established. Now we take the baton. We strive to bring the community a morning of fun, fellowship, memories and yes, raise a few dollars.
So for the community member who has yet to pen in this event, please join us Saturday, April 18 at Cloverland Elementary School for a 1mile/5k Fun Walk/ Run you will not soon forget (volunteers are also encouraged and welcome). To register just visit the front office of any local campus or visit www.sosfunrun.com
Those interested in volunteer opportunities can contact me directly at email@example.com
Hope to see you all soon, for the kids’ sake.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.