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.

Attract Him Back

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.