At teacher convention a couple weeks ago a woman spoke on the passage in the Bible where Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed Jesus with expensive oil. She zeroed in on the verse that said, "She did what she could."
Last weekend, I worked at school on book fair things. I received an email from the company that runs the fair showing the two restock orders I had placed already and how many items were enroute.
One of the things I noticed is that I wasn't going to be receiving all of the copies of a book I needed. I was down to my last copy, so I had asked for the maximum, 8 copies, both times I had called in a re-order. In one case, the operator only recorded that I wanted 4, so I was just getting those 4. In the other case, I was getting 0 instead of the 8 I needed. I had already sold those 4, so I wasn't going to have anything to put on the shelves on Monday, even though I had been telling kids I had more copies coming.
I had personally told almost all of my 250 students about this book - it works for the youngest in 1st and 2nd grade as well as the older ones in 5th and 6th. And it was a well-written and fun story. I have a LOT of kids who want this book. I even sold the library's copy (it hadn't been cataloged yet) and marked it for replacement at the end of the fair so I would have an extra copy to work with. I hate the disappointed looks on their faces when I tell them I have to order more and they can't take the book with them. The more I thought about the lack of copies of this book, the more desperate I started to feel. It started to affect my sleep. I would lay in bed, wondering if I could order more copies from Amazon and sell them myself (FYI - No, I can't. They are in hard cover, and more expensive, from Amazon).
Then I remembered the words of this speaker: She Did What She Could.
All I can do is what I can do.
I can keep calling in reorders for the maximum number of books
I can call my rep and ask her what my other options are (and complain about the rep who didn't place the order as I originally requested it).
But I can't conjure more copies from thin air. I can't force the warehouse to have more copies than they have.
I can only do what I can do.
It will have to be enough.