Archive for February 14th, 2010

Swallowing My Pride

When I was about 11/12 weeks pregnant with the triplets, one of the perinatologists in the practice I was going to said that the best thing I can do for myself is to ensure that I learn to delegate.  “If someone offers help, get out a piece of paper, have them write down their days and availability, and TAKE THEM UP ON IT.”  I nodded.  I worried.  I still wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole triplet thing in the first place.  I was just terrified.  Plus, I knew it would never work.  Why?

Because I’m a terrible delegator, that’s why.  I can delegate to my husband when necessary, but even then I don’t like it one bit. I never know which tasks I can surrender and not worry about whether it’s done “my way” or not.  I hate having other people do my laundry, I can’t stand people in my kitchen (it’s a small kitchen), I couldn’t let people just feed my babies – because I was the one equipped for that, yet that was the thing most people wanted to do to “help” back in the day.

It’s one thing when someone says “how can I help” and I have to wrestle with my inner self to take that person up on it and give them something to do.  That’s hard enough.  But worse – the worst thing in the world for me is asking for help.   I hate asking for help.  It’s hard for me to admit when I can’t handle everything by myself, or I don’t know how to, or I can’t make something happen.  I suspect most people are like this to a point, so I doubt that it’s me being too far off the societal norm, but every now and then, asking for help becomes inevitable.

Much as I don’t wish to admit it, asking for help has become inevitable.  Poor Seth is doing too much, and as a result, I’m doing more than I should be – despite my bed resting status.  Keeping everything together is becoming an impossible task – and sometimes I feel that we’re holding on by a thread and anything I can do to relieve some of the stress around here is now absolutely necessary.

So I finally gave in and wrote to the woman who coordinates meals for people in our synagogue community when there is a need (birth, surgery, hospitalizations, bed rest, shiva, etc.) and asked if she could arrange meals for us a couple times per week, including Shabbos dinner.  Shabbos was the most important thing for me – because the kids can eat PB&J for dinner every night if they have to, but I’d still like the family to have a nice Shabbos dinner, even if I can’t spend all night Thursday cooking it.    I hate making this kind of request (mind you, the coordinator had offered multiple times and told me to just say the word, so it’s not that it was unexpected) – I feel that we’ve been on the “take” end of the “give and take” system that works so well in our community.  When I was pregnant with the triplets, my husband was sitting shiva, but I couldn’t help in any meaningful way, because I was on bed rest – so people came to help get set up (cover mirrors, etc.), others came twice a day to provide (and serve) us meals (the person sitting shiva isn’t supposed to serve themselves – but I couldn’t do serving either, so it was challenging).  Toward the end of my pregnancy, knowing that I would probably still be in the hospital over Rosh Hashana (and hoping that I would’t deliver before then – I ended up delivering between RH and Yom Kippur), people brought literally baskets full of food to stuff our freezer with so that the family would have nice meals.  After the babies were born, people brought us for two weeks upon my return from the hospital, and then again, when the babies came home a month later, we had meals sent to us for three weeks.  This past October, when I was in the hospital, once again, the community rallied and made sure that my family had food to eat each night – and I never had to think twice about it.

And now, here I am, a few months before I’m even due, and already asking for help.  I know that there are some kindnesses one can never repay – you simply have to turn and do for someone else what was done for you, and that *is* how we try to live our lives.  I *do* bring meals to other people who need them, and I make sure to give back as much as I can – but I’m beginning to feel that I have less and less ability to give back, and therefore have less right to take from the community, particularly over the long-term.

I know no one minds it – certainly I don’t mind when I make meals for other people.  Still, it’s never easy for me to ask for help.

Maybe this is the lesson I’m supposed to learn from all of this.  Or maybe G-d’s just being snarky again.  😉

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