04 February 2008

All about Me, Me, Me

My weekend was awesome. (Well, minus the Patriots' loss, although I had fun watching the game with friends and eating Thai takout.)

While lots of fun things happened over the weekend, Saturday was the crown jewel in the weekend's events. A few of my amazing friends (none of whom blog, alas) had told me to arrange for babysitting for the twins (at their expense, but my choice of who) from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. They had planned a belated birthday celebration. That's all I knew.

I dropped the twins off at their daycare with their beloved R, was picked up by my friend S1, and we rended-voused with S2 and E at E's house. I was presented with one of these to wear, and then we were off to Pyara Spa and Salon for massages. MMM. I had done something painful to my lower back on Friday, so a massage could not have come at a better time. I love Aveda products, so between the back work and the glorious scents, I was in heaven.

There was plenty of time left until 4:00 p.m., and knowing my friends as I do, I figured lunch must be part of the plan. But where? They managed to totally surprise me by taking me to the Langham Hotel downtown for the Deluxe Chocolate Bar. Chocolate soup (aka hot chocolate), crepes, ice cream, donuts, mousse, cake, bread pudding, cotton candy, cookies, tarts, truffles, sauces, you name it, all chocolate, all the time. It was so good. So good. We lingered there for two hours, and must have taken five trips through the buffet. I thought I would feel disgusting after eating nothing but chocolate for lunch, but I'm happy to report that I felt just fine. Great, in fact. I've actually been having recurring lusty fantasies involving large amounts of the chocolate bread pudding. Wow. That stuff was just . . . wow.

It was a great, great day.

I have a lot of good friends, both IRL and in the computer. I feel a little bad sometimes because I used to be the person who did things for people. I'm having a hard time being the person for whom things are done.

People have been bending over backwards doing things for me since we found out that John was sick, which was three and a half years ago now. There's a part of me that feels guilty about all the taking that I do, and that part of me shares space with the part that wishes I did more for people. I know that people aren't expecting me to give, give, give all the time, but the way I see it, I have two choices: (1) make peace with the fact that this is my time to take, and my time to give will return someday, or (2) find a way to give more.

At its heart, this is just another example of how expectations mess with your mind. I expected that after 3.5 years of taking, I'd have things more under control and be ready to do more giving. Or if not more giving, at least less taking! But I'm not there yet, and because that's not what I expected, I don't have a lot of peace around this.

Expectations are a bitch.


Klynn said...

I think you may have an unrealistic view of how much you actually are giving...on a daily basis. Being a single working mom to active twin babies/toddlers is an enormous burden, and you manage to pull it off with grace (more of the time than most of us with easier child obligations). By allowing others to help you, you are giving so much back. You and the twins are happier and more rested, and your friends are happy because they can share in some small part of it.

I am also a giving-type person. I, too, struggle when the tables are turned and it's other people taking care of me, so I completely understand where you're coming from. But when you look at it from a different perspective, I hope you can find peace with the ratio of give and take in your life.

Giovanna said...

Well, Happy Belated Birthday to you! Sounds like you have great friends! Well, I'm glad you enjoyed your day. You definitely deserve it. Trust me, if you truly knew how special of a gal you were, you wouldn't feel so guilty....And I don't even know you that well....so all I can say is enjoy every second of it.

Laura said...

I know, to some degree anyway, how you feel. I've always been something of a graceless receiver - I don't like taking from people and I'm usually awkward about it. But at the same time, I have to be honest with myself and realize when I have nothing left over to give anyone else, or when giving more of myself means taking it away from others who need it (like your children).

Hopefully you can find the balance, but my advice - completely unsolicited by the way, so feel free to ignore it - is to know where your own limit is, and make yourself feel good by giving within those limits. But beyond that, learn to accept people's help and have faith that you will be giving more than receiving sometime in the future! It will make your life so much easier to let go of the guilt and realize that you deserve the help you get.

On an unrelated note, I also sympathize about the Patriots. What the heck, right? I STILL can't believe what happened. It was a good game at least.

django's mommy said...

First of all, YAY for your friends for giving you such a wonderful birthday gift!

Second of all...ah. I was previously a giver, too, and I so struggle with this new 'role' I have in most, if not all, of my current relationships (and I only have the ONE kid!). I really like what klynn said above- that by allowing others to help you [me], you are giving. I have also noticed that when I allow people to help me/give to me, it helps them grieve my husband, too. So I try to feel better about it that way.

Thanks for your post.

Melissa in TN said...

I'll bet you are way more of a giver than you give yourself credit for. Go easy on yourself. You deserve it!

Rachel said...

Your friends rock! What a great birthday surprise, and if anyone deserves it, you do.

I think you should look at it this way: it probably makes them feel good to do things for you, so you shouldn't feel like you are only taking right now.

Jolene said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I'm catching up on your posts right now so oh so happy you enjoyed yourself with your friends. Your day sounded just lovely...I hope this year continues that way for you. Happy Birthday Snick. :)

Anonymous said...

well i've been following your blog awhile so count myself a blog friend and i think you've given me heaps! heaps of blessings, inspiration, laughter, sad times too .... so keep on giving i say!

as to receiving, right now your little ones need to receive from you so in order to fulfil their needs and yours, you need to accept from others - in time, as in the past, will you give back. i only have to reflect on all that you gave to John, bless him.

try to relax if you can - be at peace - it is a joy for others to be able to give to you - their joy is in helping you - allow them to do just that, so that you can share their joy.

you are a star!

Anonymous said...

I followed a link to your journal, and spent half the rainy California weekend reading your posts in chronological order. It was like reading a really entrancing piece of literature ... I hope that doesn't sound shallow, because I cried and laughed along with you as the story unfolded, and I am amazed at the person you are.

I think I am hooked...


Anonymous said...

Oddly, I'm just starting to struggle with this. My Mom passed away suddenly last Monday, and since then, people have been reaching out to help in the kindest of ways. I'm just accustomed to being the caregiver, not the care-given (especially where my mom was concerned).

I'm trying to be graceful about it, like my Mom would have wanted. Thank you for this post. It helped.


spare teeth said...

Expectations do, truly, suck. But I agree that sometimes accepting the help is the best gift you can give someone.

And I also think that the birthday celebrations sound extremely kick-ass! I'm salivating over here...

And also? Happy Belated Birthday Day!

Megan said...

Well, I for one believe that you are giving by taking. I think about you and your situation often. It just makes my day to read a post like today's post. Those of us reading, who don't know you IRL, probably all feel a bit the same: there's not a whole lot we can do other than read and comment. So to be able to read how your IRL friends are taking care of you just makes me so happy. Happier than if I went to the spa myself and ate chocolate for lunch. Thank you for taking and please keep taking and sharing. Knowing how your friends give to you inspires me to look for opportunities with my IRL friends. You sharing is definitely giving something to me.

Rev Dr Mom said...

What awesome friends! Sounds like a great weekend.

Happy Belated Birthday!

buddha_girl said...

I think it sounds like a completely delightful and well-deserved weekend of celebrating with those who love you.

Like you, I'm a doer and have a tough time accepting kindnesses from others. Two of my closest friends are working to help me see that I GIVE to them when I let them give to me.

As a mom who has a friend who enjoys taking my kid and giving me a break, I love that your friends were so thoughtful to foot the bill for the babysitter.

debangel said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Nothin' says love like massive quantities of chocolate!

I have a two year-old begging for applesauce so this will be short, but I just wanted to say...it's not taking, it's receiving. And I really feel that you bless the giver by letting them give to you. Don't worry...it'll be your turn to give again too, but you have to recharge your tank, first! If it makes you feel any better, I went through the exact same thing when my mom died. I used to be all about "what can I do for *you* today?", and for what seemed forever I had nothing, absolutely nothing to give to anyone anymore. Plus I had a newborn and it made it worse. And there were "friends" that didn't like me anymore because I wasn't there to constantly give, give give to them. Learning experiences suck, no? But now you know who your real friends are...and you give to them just by being in the world. Don't forget!

halfmama said...

Happy Birthday again! I think #1 is the way to go. You clearly deserve to be pampered and to TAKE right now, or else your friends would not have done all of that for you. They know you and love you and know that you are always there for them. That's friendship. Sometimes we take, and sometimes we give, and true friendships don't question when or how much, ever.

You are lucky, but I suspect your friends feel just as lucky. Honestly? It feels good when your friends need you and when you lean on them. Your friends are happy to give you such a wonderful, pampered day. It makes them feel good too because they love you that much. :)

And it makes me happy to hear that you had a day all about you, you, you and fully enjoyed it!

Cair said...

Snick - i too just followed a link to your blog this weekend and spent way too much time reading - though it was well worth it. First I need to say, I'm sorry for your loss of your husband. It sucks. Cancer sucks. There are no adequate words.

Now, on to your post. You have given so much of yourself to your friends and strangers through your blog. Through your writings (which are so stimulating to read) I came up with several ways to help friends who are struggling right now, and some to file for later use. So your giving to others may not be the way you've thought about giving in the past, but trust me, you are giving a lot.


winecat said...

Belated Happy Birthday Snick. Mine was 2/2.

Chocolate Buffet, we visited one in Vancouver, BC alas it was after eating dinner so I didn't get to partake as much as I would have liked but, YUM

And make choice #1. This is indeed your time to take. You're still trying to deal with John death, being a single part to TWINS and being a working mom.

Your time to give will come again and I'm sure you will be more than giving and loving.

Remember you need to take care of yourself first otherwise you can't take care of any one else.


Anonymous said...

Chocolate for lunch? That sounds like my fantasy. So glad to hear you had a lovely day.

Flicka said...

Happy birthday! I'm glad your friends spoiled you; they sound first rate!

As much as you love giving to others, others love giving to you. Let them have that blessing. :-)

Christine said...

Happy birthday! And the chocolate bar rules all that is holy. Although when we went a few years ago, I was disappointed at how full of chocolate I got so fast. Gotta pace yourself. Sounds like a rocking weekend!

Angela said...

Happy Belated Birthday Snick! I am so glad you got some me time and the pampering you deserve. You are a wonderful friend and that's so awesome that your friends are so amazing. Keep letting your friends give, the fact that they do is indicative of how much you also give to them.

Amy said...

Your time to give will come again. Take the time to enjoy what your friends give you at this point in time. You deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Delurking to say this:
You deserve to take from the people who love you because you need it at this time. When you are ready, you will start giving again. It is cosmic karma balance. If you were not so giving, people would not want to return the favor.
My 2 cents.
Take care of yourself and the babies!
xo Annie (a New Englander in AZ)

Julia said...

Our rabbi once had a sermon at high holidays all about how important it was to let others help you. Not only for yourself, but for them, for letting them do the giving. About how important it is for a community that each member do both, and not necessarily at the same time. As a person not too comfortable with the taking, I have returned in my mind to that sermon many many times since. This is how I make peace with the taking that I find I must do these days.

That celebration sounds divine. Glad your friends did this for you.