It had been an obnoxiously busy weekend: out of town family, sleepovers with friends, early morning soccer games and surprise parties in Baton Rouge. You know the type. (It is fall after all.) So, there I was, laying in my hammock, talking to my husband about how nice it was to finally relax when my phone rang. I didn’t hear it, it was inside. But then HIS phone rang and he immediately handed it to me, his face had lost all color. The next few hours were consumed with a family emergency that I never saw coming. Do you know what they say about ‘the best-laid plans of mice and moms’? Exactly.
The rest of my day was filled with desperate, prayerful pleas and then moments of relief. As the crisis subsided, there were tears of gratitude. At the end of it all, I was back home with my kiddos and my husband was out the door for a non-negotiable business trip. (Can you say worst timing ever?) I felt like I had been hit by a train, and fast food was the only answer that I could find the energy for.
Then, I heard my phone.
A text message came through, and it became one of the most significant I ever received. “Hey friend, we know today was hard. Don’t worry about supper tomorrow, we’re sending pizza over for you and your kiddos.” Since most of you don’t know me, I should pause to explain. My motto is ‘If you can’t fix it, feed it.’ I love cooking and/or delivering food for my friends and family when times are tougher than normal. I’m a nurse by trade and a caregiver by design; most moms I know are. We mother everyone we love from a cellular level. When someone is crying, we have a tissue and a shoulder. We step up and do what we can when those close to us are struggling. If life throws curveballs, we throw casseroles.
My family, immediate and otherwise, has been blessed with good health for quite a few years. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to serve others; I had not, however, been on the receiving end in quite some time. It was a strange feeling, and my friends were just getting started.
A car pulled into my driveway.
The next afternoon, there she was, a ray of sunshine holding a six-pack of beer (my heart), chocolate chip cookies, flowers, a card and the instruction that ‘Pizza will be here at 6.’ It was no less than a thirty-minute drive on a Monday evening from her house to mine, and she had a toddler in tow. It was humbling to know that I needed someone else. My nature was to get embarrassed that she went so far out of her way. Even though I can quote Brene, my head was filling with negative self-talk about ‘being too dramatic’ or ‘letting others see you struggling.’
Thankfully my thoughts went immediately to a recent experience I had with another friend, and it shifted my thinking. On that day, I was the one driving to her house, grateful she took me up on my offer to send supper. She commented on how strange it felt to receive, and now I knew exactly what she meant. So, I chose at that moment, for probably the first time in my adult life, to let others catch me when I needed it. I put away the self-inflicted armor of “I’ve got this” and let those girls love me. They knew me well, better than I even realized. (She had not just any beer, but my favorite brand.) Most importantly, they taught me a valuable lesson.
It’s okay to be seen.
I know that every time I’ve ever had the opportunity to serve others in a time of need, I do it out of love. I don’t want the friend in question to tell me “no.” There’s no secret resentment. There isn’t even any second-guessing. I’m 100% convinced that’s the same for you. We, as moms, are the epitome of ‘caregivers,’ but so few of us probably know how to receive. It’s probably best my husband was away. Being solo with 3 kids took whatever remaining wind there was in my sails and stole it away. I couldn’t have found the words to argue if I wanted.
What I’m trying to say is this … when you find yourself in the middle of a tough season, and your girls rally around you … let them. Let them love you, right where you are. Save yourself the trouble of trying to resist. It’s not the time to be polite. If you turn down their offer to help, you’re robbing them of a chance to love you, and yourself a chance to be loved. It doesn’t matter if it’s inconvenient for them. You shouldn’t worry about the logistics, they’ve already got it figured out anyway.