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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fertilizer for the Soul

I said, "yes, " today, and it made all the difference.

I'm so good at saying "no."

No, I don't need you to watch the boys. 


No, I don't need help moving. 


No, I don't need you to bring anything to the party. 


No, we don't need any meals. 

Then, I always say, "But it was so nice of you to ask, thank you." As I've lived in the South for awhile, I sometimes find myself adding, "And bless your heart for thinking of us."

I say "no" for several reasons. Sometimes, I don't need the help.

Other times, I'm like Owen as he strains to put on his own shoes. It takes an act of will for me to step back and let him struggle, because I know that if he moved the Velcro this much, the task would be done, and we wouldn't be late. Again.

Yet, he is militantly independent, and my interfering hands would hurt as much as a slap in the face. When I short-change his developing skills, I slap his sense of self,  and steal his sense of accomplishment.

So, I let him struggle.

I recognize this quality, because I also need to do things by myself. As soon as Joel was home from the hospital, I wanted to get down to this mother-of-two business. I wanted to load them into their car seats, feed them, comfort them, and take them into the world, all by myself. I needed to know that I could do it, and that I could do the job well. There was no point pussyfooting around with extraneous, temporary help.

How selfish of me.

Yes, you heard that right. I denied others the right to take care of me. Ms Moon wrote about this very eloquently, and I encourage you to read her thoughts.

People long to take care of others. I long to hold my babies when they fall, resting them against my shoulder until the heaving sobs dissipate. I enjoy making meals for people when they have new babies because I believe in the Church of Casseroles and the grace of tender care. I am grateful to watch other people's children so that parents can rest, or take care of their business.

It's fertilizer for the soil, this caring business.

So, today, I said, "yes," when a friend of mine asked to take Owen for the afternoon. Paul took Joel to the doctor to remove the dressing from his surgery, and I suddenly had an afternoon to myself.

I got my hair done, and allowed Olivia to wash my hair with lavender shampoo. I imagine, in Heaven, there will be a whole room dedicated to hair washing and foot rubs. Then, Sarah cut my hair and colored it an almost magenta-red.

I arrived like this:

I left like this:




And now, because I said, "Yes," I feel beautiful and light.

I am once again ready to care for others.

If they let me.  

34 comments:

blueviolet said...

I'm so glad you let go and let it happen! It looks fantastic and I can tell you're happy! :)

Robin said...

That was really beautifully said..it made me think a lot of how I am that way too..Ive read it twice already..sometimes things just go unnoticed within..I forget about all of that good stuff inside..and go about each day..unconscious..or unappreciative of what we..as women are made of..thanks for reminding me tonight...I Loooove your hair and your joyous glow..!!

Bethany said...

Good for you!
You look FABULOUS.
Letting others take care of us, isn't easy. It's wonderful that you allowed yourself that today.
Here's to more, yeses to offers of care.

Rebecca said...

What a nice after photo! Looks great!!

Cat said...

You look beautiful! I'm so glad you said yes and got some time to yourself. Your after picture is radiant.

Daffy said...

Love the cut! And i don't know why I didn't think of it before, but I bet you are spot on with the foot rubs and shampoo in heaven. I bet there will even be I'm Not Really A Waitress Red OPI nail polish! *wink

Beautiful post

Beautiful You!

Ms. Moon said...

Beautiful.

Marla said...

Such wisdom in this post and you look beautiful!

Naomi de la Torre said...

You look gorgeous! I love the new cut. And I love what you wrote. I know what you mean about wanting to be the one to do things. I am the same way. I want to be the one to comfort my kids when they fall. I want to be the one they turn to when they are happy or sad. I want to hold them in the night when they are afraid. But sometimes, it is good to say yes to help. Even if it is a little hard to let go. I've been struggling with this idea lately, cuz I have been homeschooling this year. I think the reason for my decision to homeschool emerges out of this very idea you were talking about. I want to keep the control myself, I want to know that I am happy with the experiences and schooling my son is getting. But lately I am feeling like it might be overboard. At least where the school aspect is concerned. I have to think more on this. Thanks for the great post. Lots of food for thought!

michelle said...

Wise words to remember.
You look awesome

Coby said...

Absolutely beautiful - your words, your hair, and you.

erika said...

Hmmm... I think you've been secretly talking to my husband and my best friend and they put you up to writing this post. Maybe not :) But I'm so glad you wrote it, and you put it so beautifully. And I love the new cut and the new color, it looks stylish and sleek and awesome. (I kinda like the "before" picture too, though.)

Sonya said...

Oh yay for you!! you look awesome!! Im so loving that color and cut on you.

It IS hard to say yes..I never say yes. I dont want to appear weak or in need. Im always doing way more to carry the load and not letting anyone else help with it. I can see I have ben a bit selfish in that. Loved your post as always:)

Eternal Lizdom said...

You look beautiful!

It's an important lesson- and so timely for me right now. Someone offered me a gift, someone I hardly know, just this week. Someone who felt moved by my own stress that I've shared. And, like you, I said yes. And would you believe I've felt guilty for it ever since? Countless friends have told me it's just the universe paying me back for all the generous things I do for other people...

So you got your turn for all of the things you do for others!

Caution Flag said...

Years ago, after I had a miscarriage I was refusing all help. My SIL said, "You don't even know how much you need some quiet time and you won't know until you get it." Now I'm feeling guilty about not helping more people!

Your cut? Amazing!

noisycolorfullively said...

Beautiful!!! I'm a little jealous of your hot new look. Sometimes it's near impossible to let someone else take your burdens for a while. Glad you found the will to take some rest for yourself! Have a wonderful weekend :)

Eyegirl said...

What a wonderful post! I'm not very good at accepting help either.

And I love your hair!

Jen said...

Love the new do...and congratulations for starting what will hopefully be a new era in saying "yes"

therextras said...

Going to pass around this message. And your improved look!

Barbara

Traci said...

You look gorgeous! And I'm not just speaking about your hair. You are glowing. So, yay for you for saying yes! You deserve it lady.

By the way, thanks for stopping by and wishing me well. I'm slowing making my way back to say hi. :-)

Unknown Mami said...

Yes! You look fantastic! Glowing even.

Michelle said...

Yay! Sometimes it's nice to let others take care of you, I'm so glad you took some time for yourself.

4 Lettre Words said...

I have to work on curbing the "no" thing, myself. It's tough.

LOVE the new do!!

Maggie May said...

beautifully said and beautiful woman!

linea said...

Just like the flight attendants say, "put on your own oxygen mask first". It's awfully hard to cater to others without first taking care of yourself. It is so important to make that time for you, and as you said so beautifully in your post, now you are "once again ready to care for others". Good for you and keep it up!

Corrie Howe said...

As my husband says, "Its a pride issue when we don't allow others to help us." I don't like to admit I need or want help once in awhile. But the Lord has taught me how it does open doors when I do all people to help me.

Love the hair!

AudreyO said...

I love the new haircut. And I'll bet it smells wonderful. Lavendar is great.

For me, it's such a balancing act. I always feel like I "owe" the person who helped out. And I don't like owing. What's awesome is when you each do things for each other, neither one of you counting who did more or less.

Kiera said...

i tend to say no too often too! your hair looks beautiful! you're beautiful!

Mama Zen said...

You look gorgeous! I might just try saying "yes," too!

Life with Kaishon said...

You look absolutely radiant! It is always hard to let someone else do something kind for us. So needed though. Don't be a joy robber, right? : )

kys said...

I'm glad you let someone help you out. You look terrific!

Busted Kate said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the haircut, you look amazing!!! You go girl!

Julie said...

You write exceptionally well, with a natural flow and ease which for me, would take much crafting, or much practise. Whichever, the result has a ready flow which carries its meaning along seamlessly. I like this in a writer.

I like the phrase "the Church of the Casserole", and will borrow it, if I may.

Two things about content. It took me considerable years to understand that we are there to aid our children's growth, not to do it for them. This becomes harder, not easier, as they grow up. The hardest is when they leave the schooling system and go out into the world.

Secondly, just a few days ago, I had a similar colour finally cut from my hair after about ten years. It is a glorious, transforming, colour which looks spectacular on YOU as you exit that salon door out into a refreshed world. I am now a natural "salt'n'pepper" with an idea in my head that I want to age gracefully. That I prefer to be realistic about my age, yet to show my youth in what I do and how I think, rather than in how I look.

This is an excellent post, which I appreciate very much. Thank you.

Mrs4444 said...

This is a wonderful post, and you look like a new woman! Keep saying yes!!