Relying on Others – It’s as easy as it seems
There comes a point in time when the light bulb goes off in your head and you realize that you aren’t as self-reliant as you formerly were, or ever was. It’s humbling when you acknowledge your limitations. Asking for help, even for a small thing may seem like second nature, but when it involves more than just time, it is intimidating just to ask. Sure, when I was in New York, I took it for granted that my parents, my next door neighbor, or friends around the corner would be there for me at a moment’s notice and lend a hand. And, I didn’t hesitate to ask them for help. When we first arrived in Raleigh, and didn’t know a soul to ask for help, it left me feeling very alone. I was determined to be self-reliant, more than I ever was before, as if I had a choice. However, as soon as I went back to work, my feeling of being the be-all for my family went straight out the window. I had to learn to rely on others for help. Those around me, my neighbors and friends have been sought out and I had to ask for their assistance. And, for me, just asking, was the hardest part.
It’s never easy to ask for help. In fact, I try to avoid it like the plague. I don’t like asking as it might inconvenience someone else. And if I did ask for help, I tried to back-peddle out of it by negating my question, saying “I think you are busy but…”, or “You probably can’t but…” It feels weird and silly and ridiculous and I know I shouldn’t be afraid to ask, they can always say no. People generally like to help and wouldn’t offer unless they meant it but calling in favors somehow is the challenging part. Accepting the fact that I needed help from those around me was a huge milestone, one, I soon won’t forget. And, after the first round of asking, it becomes much easier to accept that fact. It also makes it much easier to reciprocate and offer up your own services.
Most recently I had to ask for help when my son fractured his growth plate on his right femur playing soccer during his team’s weekly practice. To give you a better picture, he was going for the goal, the ball stayed put along with his cemented cleat in the mud, and the goalie on top. His body went forward, his leg, knee, and cleated foot stayed put. While the injury wasn’t life threatening, it certainly compromised the structured life I recently created for myself – the one I was just getting used to. For six weeks he could not bear any weight on his knee, forcing him to be in a heavy metal brace and use crutches. While this was ‘cool’ for my son as he got some extra attention at school by being able to leave his classes early, recruit some friends to help him around with his books, it was still a major pain in the knee, butt and other parts of the body. His injury was a major inconvenience and he was a trooper, handling the injury with grace, well, as much grace as a 12 year old boy can offer. The only positive byproduct of this injury was the forced exercises to his arms and biceps. He routinely examined his arms, held them up, flexed and checked the progress of the “guns”, like holding dual trophies. The outlines of his bicep muscles are clearly visible to his 12 year old frame. When he held his arms up to check his progress, it was with a grin a mile wide and pride oozed as he showed them off, like a future body builder. Not only that, he perfected “crutching” and sped past me going a mile a minute.
With all the joking aside, it was a tense time for me. Besides the ramifications of the injury not healing properly, and his leg not growing to its full potential, trying to figure out all of the logistics of getting him to all the places he needed to go was all I needed to put me in a heightened state. Images of my son being stranded at school and hopping along on one leg had forced its way into my obsessive thoughts keeping me awake on more than a few occasions. I had just started a new job, with some demanding hours and limited flexibility during the same six weeks. I didn’t want to be THAT person, you know, the one who always takes advantage right from the get-go, the one who always asks for favors, leave early for a million doctor appointments and be the one who always has something else to do besides the work at hand. I was so grateful to have a job (see previous post http://lspostyn.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/on-the-right-track/ ) that I didn’t want to blow it during my first few months. However, I was pulled in my son’s direction and rightfully so. After all, I’m still his mother and he comes first. My dilemma was real. There were many times that I thought that the job wasn’t worth the stress, if I couldn’t be there when my son needed me. I seriously contemplated leaving the job for about half a second. Then I realized how difficult it was for me to cross over the bridge to work again, how challenging it was to find the right job and how much I needed to work to save my sanity.
Then, I asked for help.
Meeting and becoming friends with families who were looking for the same qualities in their friends as we were, is incredibly rewarding. Raleigh, NC and the surrounding area happens to be one of the fastest growing places in the country and many, like us, have taken the plunge to uproot their family and start over. And like us, many re-rooted themselves in Raleigh without the special comfort of having immediate family nearby. The simple act of redesigning the family is most rewarding. To include those individuals in our lives, who act as surrogate siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents – are the ones that came in our time of need. These friends are the ones who have cared for our child as if he was one of their own. The people that we are clearly lucky to have and call our friends, swooped in and came to our rescue. These generous people pitched in, picked up, drove home, and I couldn’t have made it through the past six weeks without any of them. Life really can be so simple when you surround yourself with quality.
And, all I had to do was ask.