Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm so over wrapping paper

Today I spent a goodly amount of my day wrapping presents. Our cup literally runneth over. I'm just so astounded by the good will of so many people, known and unknown, that stepped up to the plate to help our family have a holiday. Unbelievably, not one package, card, or phone call from anyone in my family, but the friends, the many agencies involved in our family's business (wanted or unwanted) and you internuts out there, you did something that I just couldn't on my own.

Someone recently asked why it's so hard to ask for help. I've struggled with this for a long time. I come from the dysfunctional family to end all dysfunctional families, and one of the things drilled into my head from early childhood is "what goes on in the family stays in the family". In other words, do not think of telling anyone how dysfunctional we are. Nobody in my family asked for help, ever. No matter how bad it got, asking for help was verboten. Somehow, this stuck with me for a very long time, long enough to get myself in a lot of trouble because I just didn't believe in asking, no matter what. Through serious depression, through anxiety disorder, through agoraphobia, I was afraid to ask for help. I was unable to take care of myself at times, after a major knee surgery, but I kept myself quiet and never asked my friends to help me. I turned to the red cross before I would ask anyone for a ride to the grocery store.

Being sick this year has changed much of this. One agency that helped us out and is now long gone convinced me to ask for certain things to make my life easier. One was getting a home health care worker. I was so sure I didn't qualify that for months I wouldn't fill out the application. But finally I realized that I couldn't keep the house clean unless I had help, and so I bent over and asked. Lo and behold, Mary arrived and my house is in order. What was it that made me so afraid to ask for simple help with cleaning? I think that once I admitted I couldn't take care of us anymore, bad things would happen. But bad things haven't happened.

This year, as money got tighter and tighter with mounting heating costs, I knew that there wasn't going to be anything extra. A simple movie was out of the question when we didn't even have enough to pay for food through the month. Then, the whole wish list thing came about. I didn't think we'd actually get anything. I figured most of the wish lists you see on blogs were for family members to know what to buy for the grandchildren and nieces and nephews. But I was wrong. I just put it out there, and people were so gracious and so kind. This is unlike anything I've ever experienced in my life. Mostly, I find that people aren't all that interested in helping, but we know that's because I want them to offer and I'm afraid to ask. But I've learned that it isn't such a bad thing to ask for help. Honestly, this is one of those lightbulb moments for me. Sad that it took so long to get over the conditioning of my childhood, but I'm getting there, step by step.

In the meantime, we have so much to be thankful for, and this year my kids are going to make out like bandits. It's going to be the best holiday ever!
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Blogger Belinda said...

Awwww. Touching post. You may be related to my husband!

20/12/05 9:43 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Awesome. It's awesome to know that there are so many good people in the world. And I feel you on the heating bill. Our natural gas bill is effing outrageous! My husband showed it to me last night and we both said, "How are people paying these kinds of bills?" It's no wonder the average American family is $30,000 in debt!

Merry Christmas!!

21/12/05 6:09 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

I mean, duh, did I say Merry Christmas? Sorry, it's the gentile in me! ;)

Happy Chanukah!!

21/12/05 6:10 PM  
Blogger Celena said...

Good people deserve good things.

21/12/05 10:51 PM  
Blogger nita said...

it's all about the kids. they're lucky to have you. better to be brokeass with a mom who cares than to have everything 'look just right' and live in hell...

22/12/05 8:54 AM  

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