Monday, October 1, 2012

No rest...

 My grandpa used to tease me by saying, "There's no rest for the wicked...I'm just teasin' ya, Em." He would always break out this saying after he had asked about my schooling and later my work.  I think he loved that I was busy with what sounded like (and what I believed to be) important work.

In graduate school years ago, we were asked to reflect on our personal biases and to use this self-awareness to improve our ability to counsel students.  We were prompted that often our personal biases are based in expectations and values instilled by our families.  I recognized that laziness (or perceived laziness) was a bias, and this perspective was passed down from a long line of hard working, determined men and women on both sides of my family.  My parents embodied this tradition and both my brother and I are cut from the same cloth - I think, at times, to a fault.

Last weekend was really awesome and I don't think I could have worked harder.  After a long, long, long and frustrating week at work, I was so glad to have two days to refocus.  My brother, nieces, and my dad were driving up to finished a project at our rental - pouring sidewalk.

I have never really helped pour concrete, but knew it to be hard work.  My brother is an accomplished professional who worked his way up the ladder through education and his own hard work, including several jobs doing manual labor and pouring miles and miles of concrete.  The nostalgic part of me also knows that my grandpa poured concrete for years and years.

We started at 7 a.m. which meant a 5 a.m. departure for my family.  God bless them.  We hurried to finish the last minute preparations and then waited for the concrete to arrive.  We got lucky, according to my brother, that our concrete driver was helpful (and not a know-it-all), respectful, and (fairly) prompt.

Once the truck arrived and the concrete started to be poured, we all pitched in to fill all the forms.  My brother used his experience and expertise to do all of the finishing work.

As my brother left for the day, he told me, "Happy Birthday!"  His help (hours and hours of labor) was my birthday gift and I was thrilled.  It wasn't about finished the project or saving money by roping my family into another DIY project.  My happiness was from working hard, side-by-side with my hard working family.  What a gift.

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