It has been a looooooong week since my ankle surgery.
Unfortunately, my initial tendencies lately are to feel sorry for myself, sitting around on my bed all day. For those of you who think that sounds wonderful, sitting in bed having others attend to you 24/7, it is pretty overrated; especially for someone like myself who likes being independent.
I will admit that the sweet little bundle of beautiful baby boy who rests to my right and shares my confinement does make it more bearable. But still. For example - I used to have free access to the multitude of snacks in my kitchen without anyone having to know of my terrible treat-eating habits. Now if I want one, I have to ask someone to get it for me. This is all fine and good, except that after asking a couple of times I can't bring myself to ask again. "Could you go get mom another plate of cookies from the freezer downstairs? Oh, and a bowl of ice cream?" It just doesn't seem right. I'm sure this is a good thing... but when I just want a chocolate crinkle cookie from my stash in the downstairs freezer and have to ask someone to bring it to me I can guarantee you my stash is being depleted when I'm not looking. Revealing the places where my stash is hidden really stinks.
I think that I have learned a few wonderful lessons this past week, however. It has been a tough one, but a good one. I have mentioned before that we live in an awesome neighborhood. It's like an extension of the family, really. And when something like a broken ankle and a newborn baby happen in the same week, people really want to help. Usually when I have a baby and someone offers to bring us dinner I will tell them that I appreciate the offer but we are fine and have plenty of capable cooks around. Even if I want to accept their offers of baked goods and delicious meals this just seems like the right thing to do. Just say no, a little voice inside my head whispers to me. You are independent! You can do it all! You don't need any help.
That voice is me, the part of me who wants to do it all. The part of me that wants to show the world that no matter how large our family is or what happens to us, we can handle things ourselves. It has been difficult to admit to, but that voice is wrong. Sometimes, it takes a village to love and support a family during a tough time - and this is one of those times.
Not only do I want to accept any and all offers of food and assistance, I sort of need to. I can't even stand for more than a few minutes at a time and even that about kills me, trying to precariously balance on my good foot while holding my broken ankle off the ground. I'm stuck in bed pretty much all of the time unless I am feeling up to making my way to the couch. Allen is busy being mom AND dad when he's home, tending to the housework and the kiddos, and as soon as the teenagers get home from school he's off to his other job - the one he gets paid to do. (Love that man!)
I'd ask the teenagers to pitch in and make dinner but it seems they are in a constant state of doing homework or tending to my other little needs during the evening (changing diapers, helping littler kids with homework and getting PJs on, helping me make school lunches for the next day, maintaining the house, etc.) not to mention the nights they have their own obligations (church activities, basketball games, practices, etc.).
So I've changed. I have learned to respond to offers of help not with, "I appreciate that, but we're fine" but instead with this new phrase:
"That would be awesome. Thank you."
I am not sure why it is so difficult to let others serve us. When I am asked to help others, I love to do so. I want to be the first in line to bring in a meal for a family with a new baby or whatnot. I love the feeling of being able to fulfill a need for someone. So why do I have a hard time letting others do the same for me? They would not ask to help if they did not want to do so. It has been a good lesson for me to accept these kind acts of service. I am filled with overwhelming gratitude for the wonderful neighbors and friends who have done so much for us in the past week.
To everyone who has sent well-wishes and amazing food and sweet little gifts our way, thank you. You have all helped make this much more bearable and we are so grateful for everything.
A million times, thank you.