Monday, June 20, 2011

A Little Help is a Hard Thing to Ask For

I am not one to rely on others. I usually feel that one should not rely on someone else to do what they can do themselves. In fact, I have a hard time trusting others to follow through. Way back in the time I like to call BK, or before kids, I was a highly organized person. I could juggle numerous projects and get them done weeks before deadline. I was the person people called to get things done.

You read in all those baby books to take a break when you have a newborn, as often as possible. To hand that baby over to someone else. To ask people to help you clean and cook. Because I knew practically no one when I had Cookie, I had a hard time asking anyone for help. I am not the one to ask for help. I am the person who can handle anything. I am the person who keeps it together. My neighbor had to beg me to let her babysit so Hubby and I could have a date night. I think Cookie was like a year old before I relented and let her.

In a one week span I have asked for help three times. From friends, acquaintances, and even a stranger. A move completely out of the ordinary for me. Completely uncomfortable for me. A move that makes me feel vulnerable and not in a good way. But, when hubby was in the E.R., when I could see that Cookie was worried and stressed, I knew that I needed help. I reached out to anyone and everyone I could think of who might take her. Friends and classmates of Cookie were e-mailed...I was begging. Not a position I like to be in. But, the response I received was encouraging. The fact that a friend came, picked up my baby, fed her lunch, and remembered to bring extra socks for her, made me feel better. But, not well enough that I didn't show my appreciation in the form of a gift bag of stuff.

On Thursday, while hubby was out of town, I decided to take Cookie to Summer Camp via the bike. What an enormously bad idea. I had that intuitive feeling like, maybe I should just drive, but I can not make excuses for not exercising anymore. I was determined to get some exercise in while hubby was away. The flashbacks of the last time he went out of town, me taking a bike ride, getting a flat, and the ensuing hour of trying and succeeding of changing the tube was echoing in my brain as I set out.

But, I went anyway. I kept thinking, what are the chances, I mean I go out all the time, when he's home, why would I get a flat now? But on the way home with just Jelly in the trailer, I got a flat. I was nowhere close to being home...I was some 3 miles away, with my almost two year old. And I was not in the best neighborhood in town. My town is relatively safe, but we are not immune to theft or murder, or all the bad things that happen when humans come into contact with other humans. I knew that I could take a bus home, or call a taxi, but where would I leave the bike and trailer? They would be gone in minutes. So I pulled up to a not so nice apartment building's front lawn to try and fix my flat.

Normally, under good circumstances changing a flat would take me a little time, but when you don't have the right size spare tube, the pump is not working properly, and you have a crying 22 month old....things can go south quickly. I must have been trying to fix said tire for about an hour before someone stopped to help me. A few bike riders, runners, a couple walking a dog, and even the local police went by without asking if I needed help. Picture a disheveled bike rider sitting in front of a crappy apartment building with a relatively expensive piece of equipment (the bike trailer), with a toddler running around crying, covered in dirt. But, finally a girl named Megan stopped on her bike to ask if I needed help.

My pump for some reason was not working, I couldn't patch the tube, as I couldn't pump it up to find a leak, I replaced it with another tube, one slightly thinner, made for hubby's bike, but it would work, but couldn't pump it up. She proceeded to pump up my tire, and then asked if I would like to follow her to her house down the street, as she had an air compressor and a bolt for the tube's valve. She seemed trustworthy, I mean she did stop....and she helped me put the tire on, and even held the bike while I put Jelly back we proceeded to her home. She fixed me up, we went on our way...about one block, and the tire went flat again. I turned around, went back to Megan's home and rang the bell. She let me park my bike and trailer in her garage and even gave me her garage code, so I could come back whenever I needed to for pick up. She was incredible and I am more than thankful to this stranger, who went above and beyond for me.

Now I was still 3 miles from home with a toddler. I racked my brain. I could walk to the bus stop about a block away, call a cab, or call someone I knew. The problem with calling someone, is that again, I had a toddler, and she needed a car seat. So, I was left with a limited group of people. Who would have a car seat without a child in it. The only people I could think of, were those whose kids were at Summer Camp with Cookie. So I called one of the Moms...who came and picked us up right away, like we only had to wait two minutes, she was down the street.

In less than a week I had to swallow my pride and ask for help, not once, but three times. I wish I could say it will come easier, but I don't think it will. In the meantime, I am thankful for the people who came to my rescue last week. I know that I could never ever return the favor.

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