Several weeks ago I was driving home after dropping my son off for school. The sun was beaming down sharply onto the asphalt and my air conditioning system in the car was on full blast. As I turned onto a long stretch of road I saw a broken-down car being pushed by 3 teenage boys, a 4th in the driver's seat steering the car. My heart sank at the bad luck of the situation, but I immediately wondered how much time would lapse before they would look back at the memory and laugh about that time they had to push their friend's junky car down the road on that hot, sunny day.
As I continued driving down that stretch of road, I became concerned for them at the incredible distance they would be pushing this car (in the heat) before they would finally arrive at a place where they could safely turn off the busy road. I then began to wonder how the driver was chosen. I am guessing it was the car's owner.
When I was pregnant with Evan I remember approaching my due date with a lot of anxiety. We were living in California at the time and no family lived near us. My closest friends just had their newborns, so I did not feel like I had anyone to call should I go into labor in the middle of the night. Mike was working over an hour away, so I worried he would not get home in time to help us get situated if the baby came fast during the day. We were still super confused about Zane's unique behaviors and impulses, so I worried about who would be available to care for him (safely! and patiently) while I delivered Evan. At that time in his life he always tried escaping anywhere we went and knew how to unlatch a deadbolt well.
I remember my doctor asking me what my plan was and telling me that the second baby usually comes fast because my body already knows what to do this time around. She did not think my plan of driving Zane (while in labor) to a friend's home and then driving myself (while in labor) to the hospital was a good idea. It never occured to me until then that I needed to ask for some help. That afternoon I sat at my kitchen table with my ward phone book and cried. I cried for at least 30 minutes because I didn't want to ask for help. I didn't want to need it. I didn't want to burden anyone. Or be told no and be hurt. But I knew for the sake of my baby and toddler, my plan needed some people in place to help me.
I dried my tears, prayed for courage, and then made some calls to friends and grandmas of the ward. I knew they would be home during the day to drive Zane and I where we needed to go. Within 10 minutes I had a list of 8 people I could call if I went into labor during the day. I also had a list of 4 people to call if it was the middle of the night. I knew their schedules and had a pecking order of who to call in which order when it was go time. Some people I called were not able to help me, and it was hard to not feel hurt or insulted. But I got over it and appreciated their honesty and ability to know what they could or could not offer at that time in their lives. I now see the importance of that skill while I juggle the needs of my own family today.
Last year I got super sick and needed help. No one wants to need help! No one wants to be in the driver's seat in the shade while other people are pushing the car, dripping with sweat and getting tired. I think we all want to be the one helping. But the reality is that sometimes we all have a 'broken car' so to speak and need some support. Because there was no way that guy was going to be able to steer and push his car alone. We aren't expected to do that in our lives when things are hard, we get sick, or things get overwhelming. And while I hated needing to ask for specific help when I was expecting Evan and last year when I was sick, I have heard of the blessings people felt giving my family service and it made me feel very loved and supported in the process. What a great gift to allow others to experience!
And how good it feels to finally be getting back to a place in my life where I feel like I have my car running again, so now I get to look around to see who needs a push.