A friend of mine just called, a local friend who lives just a few minutes away from me and GH but who we rarely see due to all of our busy schedules. She'd just gotten caught up on e-mail and seen the update I posted to our Yahoo group about GH's nosebleed. She was worried about us and called to check in. It was so nice to hear from her. She's one of the most genuine, caring people I know, and she and GH have known each other for their entire lives. Their dads came over to the States from Korea together after med school, and their families navigated the difficult world of being first-generation immigrants together.
This friend offered to bring dinner over to GH and I tonight. I briefly felt guilty about accepting--we're doing fine this week--but then I reminded myself of something my dad says: you're doing someone a favor when you let them help you.
I've never liked accepting help from people. My mom--the adult child of two alcoholic parents--learned herself and then taught me well that help is for the weak. The world can be a difficult place, and a person needs to be able to get by on her own or she'll be eaten alive. Between that and being an only child, fending for myself is second nature. (As an aside, my mom loves to help and care for other people; she is one of the most generous people I've ever known. She just doesn't know how to take any of that help in return.)
I've worked hard over the years, through various channels that I'll surely someday write about, to learn how to allow people to help me. My dad has been an important part of that learning process for me. As my life has taken turns that have led me to situations that I truly can't manage on my own, I've tried to keep my dad's words in mind and let people do things for me and GH. I try to think about how I like to be able to do things for my friends, how I truly want to help them when I can and ease their burden. It only makes sense that they'd want to do the same for me.
It's hard not to let help make me feel like a failure, like I can't handle things. But I'm working on it. For tonight, I'm focusing on the fact that I won't have to cook dinner and that I'll get to see a friend. Seems like a pretty unbeatable deal.