Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ask Me If I Need Help

My pet peeve is women (er people) who can’t do for themselves. You know the ones, the stereo typical female who cries at the drop of a hanky when something goes wrong that is totally fixable, a mere bump in the road of life, but they turn to tears and mush. Oh, they grate me to my very core. Yes, everyone has hers or his strengths, and of course the flipside are those darn weaknesses.

Fully equipped, I totally suffer the superwoman complex, the Baby Boomer woman who has a full time career and a full time household (okay truth, now that the girls are on their own a part time household.) I make dinner, keep a clean house, help with the outside chores, and still have time to write. I’m pretty independent, and I’m willing to try most anything that doesn’t involve snakes. I’ve been through two and a half husbands (Ducky is intending to hold on) so that independence has served me well. This trait of mine drives my Bestest Friend insane.

Earlier this week my mom, now into her 70s, called and asked if Ducky could come and take her hot-water heater to the dump. Not a problem, we packed it in the truck and hauled it to recycling yesterday afternoon. Just a few short years ago my folks would have done this themselves, but my dad now is in the advance stages of emphysema and while he still does A LOT for himself, this was something my dad and mom shouldn’t have even attempted. In retrospect last night I realized just how far my parents have come. They have limitations, they realize those limitations, and now can ask for help without shame. This struck me with a full frontal force blow that should have popped my shoes right off my feet. Not only that, they did it with laugher and happiness to see us (not that they shouldn’t I AM the joy of their lives, ahhh huh! You’re buying all this right?)

Back History….My parents come from polar opposite backgrounds. My mother was born with the tarnished silver spoon in her mouth (a fast fading fortune, it’s the other side of the family that has all the investments fortune, but that is another story.) My father was born in the back hills of West Virginia, one pair of socks, made it through the 10th grade (because that is all they offered) and became a self made man. They are both self-doers, both self starters, both self reliant, both strong willed, and they are both very intelligent. They are both my heroes.

They passed these wonderful traits on to me (along with a love of arguing) and I have used them well. In the past when two husband’s walked out, after the prerequisite tears of anguish, self flagellation for being unworthy, I came the realization that life and I must go on, and I did. Then came Ducky. When our house needed a new roof, Ducky and I looked at each other, talked with a brother in law, and said, “We can do this.” And we did. There is a spot in our front yard that never grows anything so we decided to put in flagstone, we talked with my dad about it, and we said, “We can do this.” And we did. When we decided the house needed new flooring we said, “We can do this.” And we did. Then we looked and saw that we needed a whole new room, and damn, why not a covered deck? We said (after the foundation and framing were done by someone else), "We can do this" and We did. Kind of Godly don’t cha think?

Epilog: Through these accomplishments came the realization that I am allergic to baby sun block, not tar paper. I am allergic to cement, ate the skin right off my fingertips (and please don’t notice the hump in my flag stone.) Note, pay someone else to sand the mud.

Someday I won’t be able to do these things. Heck, I may not want to do these things for myself. But I am stubborn and my daughters will make me wear the Sandra Bullock sign that reads, “Ask me if I need help.” I’m hoping before that comes to pass I will learn to accept help gracefully, learn to ask for help gracefully when I need it. It won’t be an easy admission and will be a weighty burden to bear when the appointed time arrives. I’ve being doing for myself since right after the earth cooled. I don’t’ want to be a burden, I don’t want to give up early in life (when is early and how do you recognize the right time?) Lord, please grant me the grace to recognize, in time, my limitations without being a bitch about it. I have time, (what about forty years, I figure I should being asking, hmmm around 90 or so.)

So tell me, what is your strength? What is your weakness?



Anonymous said...

You don't ask easy questions, do you? :)

I've sat staring at the screen for 5 minutes now, waiting for the answering to get easier. It's not. The flippant answers have died down - I'm ready.

My strength is being able to focus and concentrate on a given task, conversation, project, task, exercise, moment, etc. I can block out other sounds or people or events and do what I need to do.

My weakness is being able to focus, losing sight of the big picture. If it's a project, then I start over-analyzing and second-guessing, which leads to a round of perfectionism and being super-critical. If it's a conversation, I'm reading nuance and tone and evaluating words versus actions and making sure the person is "walking the talk." If it's exercise, I can focus too much on the allotted time instead of listening to my body, which could be cramping or in pain.

Funny how our gifts are curses, and vice versa.

Cele said...

Oh, mi gosh, I totally agree our strenghts are oft times our weaknesses. Thank you for the compliment I want what I ask to be thought provoking, your answer to be insightful, and therefore I want to make you delve deep within for the answer.

Anonymous said...

My weakness is procrastination. It gets me every single time.

My strength is....harder to say. :) Get back to me on that one.

Cele said...

Lisa, I am a main line procrastinator. I found in business you can be a procrastinator and survive...especially in radio. So I leave the majority of the procrastination at home, and do things
NOW at work. It drove my boss crazy. He'd tell me, you don't have to do it now, and I'd tell him
back if you want it done, now is your only option, because THERE IS ALWAYS A TOMORROW.