Why It's Okay to Say No
I'm a firm believer in family. My immediate family is the one thing that holds my life together. My mother, father, brother, and even my long haired dachshund, are the most important people--or, souls--in my life. Forever and always. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for them.
For example, one time a group of guys on golf carts decided to bully my brother. They made a circle around him and kept driving. For fear that they were going to hurt him, I began throwing rocks at the culprits and yelled some choice words at them. I looked like a complete lunatic, but hey my brother was safe.
But sometimes family is too much to handle. My grandmothers, for instance, call my Mom and Dad (each) around 4 times a day. What's sad is that I'm not exaggerating. At all. In fact, they usually call more. And what do they talk about? The weather (yes, cliché, but totally true), their aches and pains (there's always something new), the neighbors who screwed them over (usually something totally ridiculous), and my favorite: why I shouldn't attend a university. I love you Grandma but I don't care if you think that I should attend a university or a community college. I have decided to attend a university and that's that. Just because everyone else n the family has graduated from a community college with a degree in nursing does not mean that I have to. And yes, I will pass and get a degree from said university, no matter how much you tell my mother that I will fail.
My mother, on the other hand, does not believe in ever saying no to my family. She gives and gives and gives and all my family does is complain about what she's doing wrong. But she does it anyway. And this one of the reasons that I look up to her. I could never be half of the woman that she is. I lose my temper way too easily (I've made some pretty rude comments to my grandmother over the university ordeal) and I can't handle too much at once.
Over the summer of my junior year, my mother made me do my cousin's school work. I had to do it. Not him. Me. I was told that they would pay me for it, though I wasn't going to accept the money anyway. But I did the work. I spent over two months working almost everyday to finish the work and when school started up again, I handed it back to him because I had Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment classes and there was no way that I could finish his and make decent grades. Turns out, he never finished it. I spent all that time for no reason. And I didn't even receive a thank you. I didn't want any money, just a thank you. I know that I sound selfish, but it really did insult my feelings. This is the South, for God's sake. You say thank you even when someone does something incorrectly!
My parents aren't rich. Not in the slightest. They are always helping out my family outside of my brother and I. And that's okay. But when we don't even have enough money to buy groceries to stock the house, we can't afford to help constantly. My mother comes home stressed out from her job on an everyday basis. This in turn makes the rest of us in a bad mood and wedges a division between our once very close family.
Mom and Dad, please realize that you have to say no sometimes. I hate to see y'all upset and worrying about expenses. I try to help out as much as I can but I don't make much either. Help occasionally, but not constantly. We are growing apart because of the stress levels in our household. When we are eating a family dinner, do not answer the phone call. It can wait. Our family should come first. I want to spend more time with both of you. Not just one.
It is okay to say no sometimes. If your family is being torn apart, it needs to be restored before anything else can be done. When I grow older and have a family, hopefully, I will make sure that we are as close as can be. I will forever love my parents and my brother. But in marriage, you start a new life together. Your kids are your priority: care for, nurture, love, spend time with them. Family is the best life support.
**Ashlyn B. Keller**