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Saturday, February 24, 2018

What Our Children Teach Us About Asking for Help

Nine months into his precious little life, Johnny discovered a new game.

It's called Cry For Toys. More accurately, Cry For Toys, Get Mom to Pick Them Up, Throw Them on the Ground and Cry Again.

We're both getting really good at it. Maybe they'll offer scholarships for it by the time he's ready for college.

We're not strangers to this game at all. Anyone who's ever watched a baby for more than 30 seconds knows the routine. They're discovering gravity, exploring their world, and learning that they can't do certain things without enlisting help from their Big People who love them dearly.

Johnny has this little orange ball that he loves. And last night, when we were sitting on the couch he dropped it onto the floor.

He made this adorable little helpless face (I know all Moms think their kids are adorable, but mine seriously takes the cake). He looked so distraught as he peered over the edge of the couch. That orange ball may as well have rolled halfway to China, because there was no way he was going to reach it.

Not on his own.

Without thinking, I plucked it from the carpet and handed it to him. He resumed inspecting it closely, as usual, not realizing he'd solidified a lesson I'm learning as I approach my 30s: accepting help when I need it most.

Because we all drop the ball in some way or another.

I don't know what it is about me - maybe it's because I'm the oldest of three, or maybe it's a defense mechanism of sorts, but somewhere along the way of three decades on this planet, I learned to go at it alone.

I hated group projects. I hated doing anything, really, in a team. I had to do it all, or I was a failure. Relinquishing tasks off of my to-do list - even today - is not as simple as a letting-go gesture that gets more stuff done in the grand scheme of things.

It's an admission of weakness. It's a submission to the fact that I'm a human, not a robot. And that someone...somewhere...may have a better idea or be more talented than me. 

Sisters, the struggle is so real.

I don't look down on my son for not being able to spring off our red, pseudo velvet couch and scramble for his toys. What kind of mother would I be if I did?

In the same sort of way, I'm learning that asking for help, for not depending on solely myself to do ALL THE THINGS is okay. Healthy, even. 

Somewhere along the way I learned that doing things like putting pans in the dishwasher, listening to audio books, or even scrubbing the shower while I was taking a shower was cheating somehow. That asking my mom to bring me wrapping paper for a bridal shower gift meant that I couldn't handle it all on my own.

Here's the rub, though: life is a whole lot more pleasant when you learn that you actually can't handle it all on your own. Admitting you're human and don't have time for it all isn't the same thing as admitting you're weak.

Some of the strongest women I know hire cleaners, babysitters, buy baked goods for the office birthday party from the local grocery store` and purchase gifts on Amazon Prime. God bless that two-day shipping.

Doing it all is great. But when you have moments where something flutters to the floor, like a busy house of cards, it's nice to know that there are people in my life I can count on.

Who I can look at square in the face. Distraught. Confused. Tired. Have my eyes ask for help all on their own.

And without thinking, they pick up the ball. Without judgment. Without even thinking twice.

Because, what kind of friend would they be if they did?

Is it hard for you to ask help? What would your life look like if you gave up trying to do it all on your own?


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