Friends have a way of keeping you connected and grounded. They can also teach you a great deal. This week I learned how to make a delicious rémoulade, baked rice and that stuffing garlic butter and herbs under chicken skin isn’t so gross if you do it with a friend. I co-hosted a PTO progressive dinner (not here – thank you, R & G) and spent a day prepping dinner, running errands and ironing table linens. My co-host (and an amazing cook) did that and much more. I will post the full recipes under the recipe page. All wonderful.
My favorite part of the day was, well, all of it. Prep-work flies by when chatting with friends and adding special ingredients and fielding a flurry of calls for add-on items while shopping keeps things interesting. The connections are wonderful: a local florist, the fabulously organized friend (and the point person for last night) who delivered gift bags to the hosts on her bike, and the other interesting parents we got to meet and re-connect with last night. There was a nice balance of quiet and busy time, I ironed while watching an old movie with my children and later our children and a family friend helped serve the dinner and clean up.
Connecting with the school community is more of a challenge when middle school years start. There are no hallway conversations at drop-off, pick-up or on the playground so you have to make more of an effort to connect with other parents and the school community. Not to worry! There are always plenty of volunteer opportunities, both large and small. Help with a teacher appreciation lunch or Principal’s coffee. Heck, if you have more time – volunteer more!
It is true. I have a problem saying no and it seems pretty pervasive among my friends. This results in over-booking (you know, sure I have to get the kids to school by 8 but I can still get that batch of cookies I promised for the teacher lunch in). When the idea or project is worthwhile, which they all are, it is really hard to say no.
I remember saying yes to my first committee before I even knew what a committee was. My children were very young at the time and I was thrilled (!) to be asked to contribute. It was a great experience and I met some amazing women. All of the other things I have worked on since have been wonderful experiences, too. It isn’t about not wanting to help. It is about making it work for you and your family. Here is my new intent – I will say “I would really like to but am working on quite a bit now, can I think about it and get back to you?” It isn’t a no, it is a delay until you can truly assess what the time commitment entails (If I say this to you, you saw it here first). I am working on the balance that I need to make good on all of my intentions and not over-book (a family tradition).
Last night I went to a fundraiser for Web of Benefit which is a nonprofit organization that helps women affected by domestic violence. It was a wonderful presentation and their philosophy is unique. “Web of Benefit operates under a “pay it forward” philosophy, where each woman assisted contributes to the Web of Benefit network by doing three good works, on whatever level she is able, for other women in need.” thus truly extending the web. The founder’s clear statement about women achieving their dreams was impressive.
Go to their website http://www.webofbenefit.org/ or find them on Facebook – Web of Benefit. It was a lovely evening put together by a group of women committed to finding non-profits that are exceptional and focusing their own grassroots fundraising on these organizations. More about them later.