A Useful Woman
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
Something Obi-Wan said to me when she and I last talked keeps whispering in my ear. I’m not hearing it.
I am standing in my front yard with a small chainsaw and way too many power tools at my disposal and not enough testosterone. My muscles ache. I’m drenched, exhausted, dirty. The evidence of my labors isn’t just on my body but in the heaps of trash and limbs behind me. I’ve made tons of progress but all I can see is what’s in front of me, and it’s not pretty. I’m to the point where I’d like to just sit and cry but I hurt too much to wipe the tears.
I’ve been struggling to find the time and daylight and sunshine to get this job done but the truth is, I just don’t have the upper body strength to do it all. And I have never had a man in my life who would or could do this job for me, and I’ve always done it myself. Except that it’s grown bigger and bigger until I am overwhelmed.
Later I take a walk with Shannon after she arrives from her latest forensics competition and Aislinn is napping after I wore her out helping me today. This isn’t a power walk. I don’t have the energy left for a power walk. It’s just an amble.
She started back to work for me last Friday, to earn money for gas and car insurance. If things go well, she might manage 15 to 20 hours a week as my assistant, and I’m so looking forward to it because she’s a wonderfully hard worker. As I discussed different jobs that must be done this month, especially state taxes, royalties, 1099’s, and more, she reminded me that she can help with all that. I admitted that all the projects (wands in the air, so to speak) have me feeling overwhelmed at the moment, but especially when looking at the yard work today.
She doesn’t understand. She tells me she sees how much I do, how much I accomplish, how productive I am, and how can I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface?
Something she says brings back what Obi-Wan said to me, and it’s a phrase I’ve never quite been aware of. I can remember my mom always doing 300% for my dad and it never being enough and him saying to me to make myself useful.
Obi-Wan warned me of all the work going on this month and that I must be good to myself and remember to schedule a little fun time and relaxation. She talked to me about all my responsibilities in my high-stress day-job, about my productivity and creativity in my home business and in the career transition I’m working on. She fretted over the hundred-hour work week I often put in. She talked about the time I spend with the girls and on my home. She reminded me of all the work I accomplish, the relationships I’m part of, the spiritual life I lead and friendships I have, of my writing and teaching, of my partnerships and my pushing through and making things happen and still nurturing those I love and seeking new knowledge, and then she talked of how I’m able to produce children and mother them and…and….
She paused, a smile in her voice. “You are a very useful woman,” she said to me.
What her words have been whispering all week finally sunk in. Not exactly a sexy way to think of one’s self when one would definitely like a little more attention in that department, but still hitting close to home.
I marked off only about 750 things on my to-do list for today, but I’ll go easy on myself, I guess. I am, after all, a useful woman.