School had been in session less than a week and Jack was already filing a classroom-related complaint. I encouraged him to talk with his teacher to see what they could work out. After an attempt, he told me “[his teacher] needed to talk to an adult.” This was hardly an issue that required parental involvement. I (correctly) assumed he’d approached his teacher with poor timing, so I insisted he tell me word-for-word what his teacher had said. Suddenly, his memory got fuzzy.
He danced around the issue and finally said “Mom, I’ve been doing a lot of lawyer-ing. I think you should take this one.”
I don’t blame the kid. He’s tired of doing his thing. Wants someone else to take over. And I get it. I really do. I get tired of doing my thing, too. Whether it’s full-time ministry-ing, fundraising, home-ownership-ing, housekeeper-ing, cooking, parenting, wife-ing, daughter-ing, friend-ing, Christian-ing, American-ing, even writing, I can lose steam. And when I lose steam, I just want to be done. Or, at the very least, I want a break.
And it’s healthy to get a day off.
Even if a day off means I just need to go in a store, pick out a shirt (or ten) and try it on without three-foot monsters pressing faces against a dressing-room mirror, announcing awkward observations about my body to all who can hear and escaping under the divider wall.
Even if a day off means I take a short bit to ignore notifications, messages, texts, emails, calls, voice-mails, door knocks, subpoenas…well, you be the judge on what’s ignore-able. Ignoring them sometimes means people have to contact me a second time AND I DON’T HAVE TO FEEL BAD or hand-write a note explaining my absence.
Even if a day off means I drop some balls. Balls that matter. And need to own up and apologize to some folks because my “day off” had consequences.
Why? Because, there is grace. Enough grace for me to take a day off and the world won’t fall apart. Because I don’t hold it together. #notmyjob.
Sometimes, it’s not enough for me to just take a day off. Sometimes, I need someone else to pick up the slack. Sometimes, that is wildly inappropriate. That whole “poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on my part” bit. Blah blah blah. Yes, great quote. Cute meme. Truth. Preach. But, if you are a hard-working, own your adulthood, generally responsible person, there are times where you deserve to take a break and let/invite someone else to stand in the gap. For a hot minute.
Community is good for that.
Maybe it’s having someone by your side as you tackle a mundane or dreaded task. Maybe it’s saying yes when someone offers to help. Maybe it’s inviting someone into your need for a day off. Being vulnerable with someone who will hear you out without trying to solve your issue. Maybe it’s getting perspective that reminds you why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. Maybe it’s noticing someone else setting aside their -ing for a healthy pause.
You have to know yourself. Some of us are prone to lazy. Some of us are prone to workaholism. Neither is pretty. Neither is sustainable. Neither is adult.
Sometimes you need a day off, sometimes you need a dose of community, and sometimes you need to take a look in the mirror and get motivated to do what you do.
As for my son, his days of lawyering are just getting started. Being in campus ministry, our kids often attend the student organization kick-off event. It’s a swag fest, replenishing their supply of water bottles, cozies, coupons and key chains. This time around, Jack brought me a catalog from the WMU Law School, begging me “Can I? Can I? Can I?” as if it was a brochure for summer camp.
Many are the days he wants to tackled the world with his opening defense and closing argument. But, there will always be those where he just wants the job done without all the effort.
I hear ya, buddy. Sometimes, you just want to take the lawyer out of #childlawyer and just be #child.
Most days, however, you have to remind yourself who you are and just lawyer up.