I can still remember the day like it was yesterday…
I was four weeks into my motherhood journey of being a mom to two and I had things to do. With my husband at work, I had to fly solo with the parenting. One kid wanted to get out and play, one needed a nap, and still there were groceries to buy. How was I going to get it all done and maintain sanity? I was nervous about managing the day and the littles by myself. I set out on my mission anyway, not knowing the gift of receiving that awaited me.
I made it through our trip to the park without a hitch…
We spent the afternoon at ARCpark (arguably our favorite park in RVA) where the three year old explored and did ALL the things. The baby nursed and snuggled while her big sister played. Then, when it was time to leave, no one fussed or caused a scene. It was glorious, and I was filled with confidence I could handle the rest of the afternoon.
Now it was time to do the grocery shopping…
I was convinced I could handle this trip on my own, because I had babywearing on my side. I got the baby all wrapped up in the Moby, three year old joyfully held my hand as we walked to get a shopping cart. We bought ALL the things, or at least all the things on the grocery list, and headed to the registers to make our purchases. I was exhausted from the day and truthfully, hoped for as little small talk as possible at the check out.
Then the question came…
The store manager asked if he could unload my shopping cart for me. I was taken aback. Here was this person, who undoubtedly had more important things to do, who wanted to unload my shopping cart. This manager guy was sitting rather high on the chain of command, but he still wanted to help me? My first inclination was to say no. I’m an independent woman who doesn’t need a man to help me. But I was compelled to say yes, to accept this offer despite not needing it. I’m terrible at asking for help and accepting it when it was offered. In this instance, I didn’t NEED the help, but who was I to say no? I was a postpartum mom trying to do it all, but why? Who said I have to do it all on my own?
This simple gesture of a kind person offering to help me unload my groceries reminded me of this kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese):
It looks like two people supporting each other; one person leaning back (almost in a trust fall), and the other holding them up. No one person can exist alone and no one person can support themselves.
We often seek independence and feel weak asking for or accepting help from another, but we all need a little help sometimes. An offer has to be accepted in order to have value, and sometimes that offer is as much for the benefit of the giver as the receiver. Receiving a gift is a gift unto itself.
Accepting the gift of receiving is simple. Here’s what you do:
- Say yes to the offers of help.
- Tell someone you need support.
- Offer help to someone who needs it
We can all accept the gift of receiving if we just say yes.