I GET TO
by Darlene A. Buechel
by Darlene A. Buechel
Last night, on my drive home from work, I heard a Country song that gave me a truly "Aha!" moment.
It wasn't the usual down-home twang, "I was drunk the day my mama got out of prison." No, this song was entitled, "I Get To" and had great lyrics beautifully sung by the group Blue County.
It tells the story of a boy who used to have to go to church, cut the grass, and help his dad. The boy grew into a man and, especially since his father's heart attack, says, "These days helping dad is something I don't have to do... I get to."
When he met his true love he used to have to say "I love you," until he dreamt she died. He concludes, "Now I realize I don't have to say I love you... I get to."
Wow! The meaning behind the lyrics really made me think as I trudged into the house and reached into the fridge for an OJ carton containing... 3 whole drops!
Instead of thinking I HAVE TO run to the store to spend $80 on groceries since Ben chugged a whole gallon of OJ last night, I'll think I GET TO buy groceries for my family because I have the money and I have a family, including 19-year-old Ben who inhales the refrigerator contents in Guinness Record Time
The next time I hear 21-year-old Dani bemoan the fact she "HAS TO" commute to college, HAS TO work part-time, and HAS TO squeeze in time for her fiance, I'll mention this song.
Since I regret the fact I didn't go to college, I'll stress she should be glad she GETS TO go to school, GETS TO work, and is lucky enough to have found a great guy who GETS TO help her make nine million wedding plans for the big day.
As for myself, I work full-time to provide health insurance since my husband is a self-employed dairy farmer. I put in my 40 hour work week off the farm, but Rich easily puts in 13-hour days because you HAVE TO milk those Jersey Cows twice a day along with all the other chores. Of course, he should look at the fact he GETS TO work as his own boss and fulfill his boyhood dream of owning a dairy.
Putting in those long farming days can be a challenge. Take this morning -- a cold December Saturday in Northeastern . The wind howled outside our bedroom window as the alarm clock beeps us awake at the ghastly hour of 4:45am.
After hitting the snooze a few times, Rich finally shut it off, gave me a kiss, and headed to the porch for barn clothes and boots.
But wait. He must have got my message when I talked about the song, since he turned around with a message of his own. "I know I don't HAVE TO trudge through the snow to go milk those bossies... I GET TO," he said with just a twinge of sarcasm.
Oh well. It's a start.
Speaking of starts, the Christmas season is once again starting to frazzle most folks I know. Along with work, school, or changing smelly diapers, they're expected to shop, wrap gifts, trim-a-tree, and bake tasty treats.
This year, I'll try to change my Grinch attitude of previous yuletides. Instead of thinking I was on my feet eight hours at work today and still have to wrap presents, trim the tree, and bake three dozen gingerbread cookies, I'll think, I GET TO wrap these great gifts. I also GET TO decorate this tree that will bring joy to family and friends. I GET TO bake these cookies that might make me gain three pounds, but at least we have enough food that I even have to worry about the zipper on my favorite jeans.
During this holiday season and throughout the New Year I think we should count our blessings and make the GET TO theory a part of our lives.
Remember, we don't have to cook, clean, and wrap in preparation for visits with family and friends -- WE GET TO.
-- Darlene A. Buechel
Darlene, a Wisconsin Cheesehead, wrote this story a few years ago. Since then her daughter earned her college degree, moved out and got married. Her son is still home gulping the OJ, her husband is still milking those cows, and she still GETS TO enjoy reading, writing, and life on the farm.