Days of December #21… Little Helpers

I got your back

The helpful people who don’t understand…

My first lesson that “sometimes what I think will help someone may not be help at all” happened when I was learning to tie my shoes. Mama always tied my shoes tight on my feet so when I learned to tie my own they were never tight enough. Every day for weeks, maybe longer, I brought my shoes to either Mama, Tom or Paul. I would put them on, one at a time and tie the first knot and hold it tight. “push super tight” was always the request, then the loops were tied while a finger waited to be strangled by my attempt to finish the process. As soon as that was done, whomever was helping me that day would double knot my shoes and off I’d go.

In turn I mimicked their assistance by being right there to help them tie, you see, now i was an expert at it. That was until the day my little heart was broken when i walked into the bedroom again and Paul was untying to re-tie his shoes. I remember his face, that “Oh crap, I’m gonna make the baby cry” face. And of course I did. I wailed like I was meeting my doom, as only the baby can.

“Sssshhhhhhhh, Amy…don’t cry, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You’re going to get me in trouble, come here I will let you help me again. Don’t cry, please.”

My heart broken tears turned into “I am mad as hell at you tears” then the balled up fists and the baby slug to his arm. “I hate you” I screamed at him as Mama walked in.

“Amy Marie, apologize this second!”

“No, I hate Paul, he’s mean and doesn’t love me.”

Tears, indignation and a swat to my butt didn’t change the fact that Paul wasn’t honest with me. I was such a drama queen, I guess that’s what babies are.

I learned a hard lesson that day as I listened to Paul explain that when I helped him tie his shoes that they were always wrong and he was too old for double knots, the other kids laughed at him the first day he forgot I made him tie his shoes like mine.

I think that sometimes it is the really difficult lessons we learn when people try to protect us from the truth that have the biggest impact.

I know sometimes that is the only way we learn. People can be as honest as they want and say “It’s ok, I don’t need any help” when they really mean just what they said. But we, the helpers, know better. We  have the foresight to see any situation, we have thought things through to the end, and each scenario will play just like the movie we made up in our heads. I proudly wear my “helper” hat and am all knowing.

Ok…but seriously, it sounds wonderful and all but I am constantly telling myself  “sit back and keep your fat mouth shut, amy”. Then I try my hardest to remember Paul, untying his shoes and then wonder… If he had been honest with me, would I have listened? Probably not… after all… i am helper!!

So, if you think you are the bees knees in someones life because of what you offer to them, most likely you have not asked them what you mean to them. Their answer might surprise you and your ego may go into shock from the God’s honest truth that leaves their mouth. You may be called “a friend, a close friend, a coworker or neighbor”. All your brain wants to hear is “You are one of the most important people in my life, you ground me, you are the only one who understands me, you are the only person i trust…..”

I’m here to tell you…if you ask such an incredibly egotistical question you had best be prepared to be deflated like a popped beach ball. With a thud your ego will hit the ground, it will hurt like a son of a b… So when you think you “need” to have someone’s back…sometimes they need to do things without your help. Back away, let them fall and scrape their knees, vulnerability is one of the greatest strength we have because it allows us to fail and learn.


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