One day to go until fair, and I have spent entirely too much time pondering the mysteries of the volunteer universe, or more specifically, how can I make this work without my family imploding?
The reasoning goes something like this:
Kids, and especially your own kids, want to be in a great club.
Having a great club takes a lot of work and dedication.
The only ones usually willing to do such ungodly amounts of work are those with children in the club.
Children whose parents are leading the club often get the short end of the stick as a result.
Parent-leaders are stressed and overwhelmed and guilty about this conundrum.
Parent-leaders find themselves thinking, Am I really doing a darn thing for my kids as a result of all this? Or am I just making everyones' lives miserable for absolutely no reason at all?
This may sound familiar to most volunteers, or at least the vast majority that I know. I am in awe of the ones that manage to walk this tightrope year in and year out and not have their house come crashing down around their ears. It must require a mastery of line-drawing exercises that I have failed thus far to master, and this will be our ninth fair, so I don't know if I will ever get it.
If Terzo stays in until the end, it would mean eight more fairs. I am not sure I have it in me but I feel guilty (there it is again) for not hanging in there for him—although technically, he has been at nine fairs as well, even if he may have been too little to remember the first two or three. I tried very hard to put him first this year, to not let the minutiae overwhelm his first year of full membership in the club (4-H technically starts in fourth grade). He wanted to be in the costume contest, so I worked on a costume with him, instead of just making sure that the costume contest could take place for everyone else. It was his first year doing a record book, and we walked through it together, without anyone else around to distract or dismiss. He was the first one in the house who finished, a tremendous source of pride and accomplishment for him.
I already know I will miss times like this, working with the boys, even if getting them to sit down and do the work was an exercise in frustration. Which begs the question, why do I have to feel like I am the one that has to make them do it, and why am I the one who gets so frustrated? Which leads right back to the original issue of why this all has to be so miserable.
Those of you who are reading this and nodding your head in recognition, I have no idea how this ends. Right now, I just need to get through another fair.