Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Soft, pink underbelly

I'm independent. Fiercely independent.

My mom has told tales of me as a toddler, thrashing in my sleep, firmly saying "NO. I do it myseff, mommy."

I earned my first paycheck at age 14. Minimum wage, about 15 hours per week at the neighborhood pharmacy. Financial freedom. I would not hear the word "no" when I wanted to buy something.

At age 21, I brought my fiance home to meet my parents -- a man 17 and a half years older than me. Did they freak out? Nope. They knew that to tell me I was crazy was a guarantee I would not be in their life for a long time.

I knew it all. I needed no one.

I. was. strong.

When I found myself emotionally and financially on my own for the first time in my adult years after realizing I was, in fact, crazy for marrying him, I used those ol' bootstraps to make a career out of a rather lazy path of working for a paycheck.

I. was. strong.

When I was done living in southern California...a place he dragged me...away from my midwestern family and friends...I was methodical about deciding where to move. I interviewed several cities, and the one I chose became the centerpiece of a 6-month plan to relocate. I was here 6 months and 4 days after making the decision.

I. was. strong.

Kissing a helluva lot of toads, I persevered until I found my prince. He was settling the details of a divorce, building his career, and figuring out how to mesh his life with mine. I handled the joint finances, weathered the storm of his father's losing battle with cancer, managed our rental property (his former home), and eventually sold it in a challenging market.

I. was. strong.

We found ourselves unexpectedly expecting after he got laid off. I was suddenly the [pregnant] chief breadwinner, facing maternity leave, with the prospect of reduced pay. He got a job with three months to spare, I worked during maternity leave, and went back to work full-time when our baby girl was 12 weeks old.

I. was. strong.

We started a business. We found ourselves, um, again, unexpectedly expecting. I was hit with a lawsuit. We lost the business. We lost a bunch of money. We couldn't count on knowing where our next week of groceries would come from. We had to work to make money, but that brought about a whole new set of complications.

I. was. not. strong.

I'm not used to asking for help. I don't know how to ask for help.

Guess what? Moms, with their built-in radar, know when help is needed. Moms arrive, no questions asked, and help.

With the kids. With the laundry. With the housekeeping. With rebuilding self-esteem.

And somehow, I found it in me to say that I needed help. I needed her. She, in her Loving Mom Way, said she was glad she could help. And? That she was glad I asked.

Love you, Mom. Thanks for helping.


Cath said...

Love. this. post.

Your soft, pink underbelly is something your mom has always understood. So glad she was able to help you when you needed it the most. So glad you let her. So glad you shared this with all of us.

WWW said...

To ask for help requires strength. To accept help requires even more strength. You are strong!