Monday, May 21, 2007

Sending Out an SOS

If that reminded you of a song by The Police, then you are of my generation. Or, you have listened to the radio at some point between 1979 - the year "Message in a Bottle" was released - and now. That's neither here nor there. What I really want to talk about is help, and the asking of help when one needs it.

I am in no way a poster child when it comes to asking for help. I would rather do it myself, thank you very much. Why? Oh, there are a myriad of reasons, part of a loooong story. Boring! It doesn't matter why, what matters is that it doesn't have to be like that.

Several years ago, I needed to search out a good daycare for my daughter. The place she had been attending was no longer working out. I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility. It was all on me to research, make appointments, go and visit places and meet people, and ultimately decide. What if I picked a bad place? I would have to take time off of work to do this, which took time away from vacation time that I could spend, oh, I don't know, with my daughter??? Besides, how would I make such an important decision? What if I misjudged and OC was miserable or, what if something bad happened?

I talked to my counselor, and she said to me, "Why do you think you have to do this alone?" I was stunned. I didn't have an answer. There WAS no reason why I had to do it alone, I just assumed I did because....because....well, because no fairy godmother showed up when I needed her. I always relied upon myself, end of story. She suggested I involve a trusted friend, and it was one of those moments where the clouds part and the heavenly music plays. It was also a "DUH" moment because, duh, why didn't I think of that?!?

This morning I went for a run while OC rode her bike. I am training because I have signed up to do a 5k. I've been training since mid-April, and this week is to be my hard week, where I run the longest distances. OC has been fine riding her bike the 4 miles of basically flat, paved, pedestrian/bike path in the dry canyon. Being my usual self, I thought that OC on her bike and me running made sense. Except, it didn't work. She was cold, then she was tired, then she got off to walk her bike and fell. There was crying, I was sympathetic but also, annoyed.

When we got home, I called another mom whose daughter played soccer with OC this spring. I like her. She beads and is talkative and funny. Anyway, I thought I'd ask her to help me out this week by having OC over for the two mornings I need to go running this week. Do you know what she said? You probable knew the answer all along, didn't you? Well, she said yes. Holy Toledo! Now, I can get my long runs in, and OC can play with a friend. Everybody wins! It's an damned ABC afterschool special.

The worst that would've come from asking for help was if the mother had said no. And, so what if she did? I could ask another one of the moms. If no one could do it, we'd try the bike again. It wouldn't be the end of the world.

This asking for help thing is The Shit! In a good way.

Someone answered my SOS, and it would not have happened if I hadn't asked. My counselor would be so proud.


melissa said...

Cory's been back from the middle east for...almost four months and I'm still trying to remember I don't have to do everything myself. Especially on days he works (12-hour shifts). I need to rely on people more, too. I guess since my mom passed I've just gotten even more isolated. Hmm.

Wow, holy therapy comment batman! ;) Sorry.

Lady M said...

I have half a post written on exactly this (well, different examples, of course). I'm still learning to let the "village" help.

Glad that you're getting friendly helpers!

andrea said...

I can relate to that! Not only do I have a hard time asking for help, I can barely receive a compliment graciously. It actually takes a conscious effort on my part to accept things from others. I have recently come to understand that giving and receiving are opposite sides of the same coin in this universe. If you don't allow yourself to be open on the receiving end (really I don't mean for that to be as lewd as it sounds!), then I'm pretty sure it screws up the equation, making it harder on your giving end to be generous with others--and more importantly, with yourself. Sorry for the diatribe, but I'm learnig this one the hard way myself. I'm convinced that not allowing others to be good to you goes hand-in-hand with being hard on yourself. I for one can certainly do with a little less self-criticism. So share your burden, OG! It will pave the way for positive energy.