Put Away the Milk

Brooklyn - Hudsonville, Michigan
Entered on January 23, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

In the fall, my Saturdays are spent at swim meets. In the spring my Saturdays are spent at Water Polo tournaments. In the winter, my Saturday’s are spent sleeping in. Winter Saturdays are all mine. I look forward to waking up whenever I want.

On one particular Saturday, my youngest brother was the only one home besides me. Generally, he enjoys waking up at seven a.m. and planting himself in front of the television all morning.

As I ambled down the steps, I noticed a gallon of milk, half full, resting on the table next to an open box of Frosted Flakes; a bowl sat beside it with milk still saturating the bottom.

“How long has the milk been out?” I asked. There was no reply for several moments. Then:

“I don’t know.”

The cap to the milk was off and the condensation emanating from the cool liquid inside was long gone. Unfortunately for me, the milk was lukewarm, seeming to have been sitting on the table for at least an hour.

Replacing the cap back on the jug and setting it back in the refrigerator where milk belonged, I asked my brother what you do with milk when you’re finished using it.

His eyes, looking slightly glazed over, never moved from the screen and, his selective hearing kicking in, he ignored my question, letting me know he had no clue where the milk was supposed to go.

I believe you can’t always be concerned with only you.

The responsibility of not worrying about only yourself all the time, though, goes farther than making sure the milk gets put back in the fridge. It’s not when your brother thinks that just because he emptied the dishwasher two nights ago, he doesn’t have to empty it again for another month. It’s not when your family leaves for vacation to Florida and all you do is pack your own pillows, leaving the rest of your family pillowless.

I believe in not being selfish.

In the words of my mother, “The world doesn’t revolve around you, Princess.” Being the oldest, as well as the only girl in my family, it’s very easy for me to think only about myself; when I was younger, I achieved the nickname “Princess” for my consistent desire to always be the one with all the attention and always wanting things for myself. The attention soon went from myself to my youngest brother, of which I was thankful; the nickname ceased soon thereafter.

I believe in not being so preoccupied with yourself that you don’t respect the needs of others.

Much to my frustration, the dishwasher is still fought over who will empty it; the lights get left on in the house because my brothers think that the other person will be the one to shut them off instead of taking the initiative to do it themselves, and my youngest brother, without fail, still leaves the milk out while watching Saturday morning cartoons.

I believe it’s human nature to be a little selfish, but sometimes the needs of others outweigh the needs of ourselves.

If we sometimes think of that, maybe we’ll remember to put away the milk.