I’m not good at accepting help. My parents have told me, teachers have mentioned it, heck, the man who bags my groceries even knows it. I get it. But it’s never been a negative thing to me. I like doing things on my own. Stretching, pushing myself to see what I am capable of handling. A smile even spreads across my face when my two year old daughter pushes my hand away. And oh how my heart burst when I first caught her practicing how to walk when “no one was looking.” I love this independence, this stubbornness (ok not always). But this month…this month I was hit with a terrifying and unforeseen obstacle. And I was forced – forced to just suck it up and accept the help. And it has been a game changer.
At 19 weeks pregnant I went to the ER with severe stomach pains. More than 12 hours of extreme pain later and multiple tests I was finally diagnosed with appendicitis. It wasn’t until I heard the words, “if we don’t act quickly this will be fatal to the baby,” that I realized my worst nightmare was happening. And I went numb.
That’s when it began to happen. My unraveling and people putting me back together. Out of fear I accepted prayers, out of necessity I accepted childcare, out of hormonal emotions I accepted the “drop everything” visits. The chinks in my independent armor were beginning.
And finally with a successful surgery and a healthy baby growing in an appendix free belly, our prayers were answered and we went home. But the physical pain now moved to emotional torture. I could not lift or hold my child. I could not help my husband with the house, the dogs, the tantrums. And so finally, with resistance, the armor was off. We needed help and it flooded in. Meals, play dates, cleaners. And when the dust settled and I sat down to write my thank you notes tears started streaming down my face. The list was truly overwhelming. My husband quietly hugged me and said, “it’s not for no reason you know? It’s because these people love you.”
-Photo by Amanda Grace Watercolors-
And there it was.
I believe things happen for a reason. And I believe this reason is so I can teach my daughter what help really is.
Help is not a sign of weakness. Help is not a sign of failure. Help is not because you can’t do it (although sometimes it is). Help is a sign of love. Help is a sign of friendship. Help is a sign of gratitude. Help is a sign that humanity is still good. And accepting help is a gift to the one offering to help.
So yes, I will continue to foster my daughter’s spritely independent nature but I will also teach her the joy and love that is found in accepting help. For it is not because we are weak. It is because we are loved – and that’s worth teaching.