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The Fire Truck

I've always had a hard time "asking for help"..

Lately I've been paying attention to when that could have originated from and WHY. I believe early on in my life, someone must have made me feel awful for asking help so I stopped.

I've been thinking about my random struggle with math in high school recently. I was typically an A/B student in all classes but would get a D in math when I had the same teacher for Algebra 2, Trigonometry and Calculus (Freshman, Soph, Senior year). Her teaching method never changed even though many of her students were struggling like me. My GPA was destroyed ugh! My junior year I ended up getting an A with another teacher for Precalculus!! Anyway--I NEVER asked for help. I was too embarassed and afraid to get help. I had serious anxiety about that one class. What a punishment that was for me.

I also think back to those times when Bill was deployed. I would hear "If you need anything, please ask!" Of course I wouldn't ask in most situations. I didn't know what to ask for. The times I would ask for someone to watch our son, I felt like a giant inconvenience when I would hear along the lines of "I have x,y,z to do.....I guess I could try to be there." If someone begged me to help, then I felt like it was okay to ask them to help then.

Having a child has taught me so much about how your childhood can affect every aspect of your life. There are a few struggles I just would not want my son to go through as I did. One moment would be a fear of asking for help. My son is one of the younger kids in his prek class while also being one of the tallest. There are times I worry about him struggling and falling behind due to his summer birthday. There were many times he would be so incredibly frustrated in PreK when he couldn't zip his coat or open up his capri sun water drink. He suddenly started insisting that he would leave his coat on in the class so he wouldn't have to zip it or not drink his capri sun because he couldn't do it. I'd ask if he ever asked for help. "yes, mom, but the teacher got mad at me." So he stopped asking and soon began living in such a way that ate him up inside. Eventually, he learned how to zip up his coat and put the straw in his capri sun with extra practice at home...However, I kept drilling in his head how it's ok to ask for help while trying to remind myself of that too.

So recently, while I was training a client, our fire detector came on for no apparent reason. We had just had them hardwired so I was unsure what the heck was going on, and if it was serious. I must say, when my husband is away, he is my calm. He would have figured it out in no time. I eventually called the fire dept with hesitation. (afraid to ask for help). They came ASAP and quickly noticed what was happening. Our OLD battery operated alarm kicked on. I didn't realize that.

I felt stupid for it. Then I got mad at myself for feeling stupid. I don't usually feel like that.. I wanted to comment on that...instead I spoke to myself first and said, "you're not stupid. Don't say that ever. This happens. You just feel foolish. Say that instead." So I told them simply "I feel foolish." They were the best. Really. They said this was an emergency...even though I felt like it wasn't.

As they checked every part of my house, Nikolas met them at the door wearing his fireman costume as they were about to leave. They invited him on to the fire truck and spoke to him like he was a very big deal. It made us smile so much. I wish I had a picture.

After they left, I realized how important it was that they didn't MAKE me feel stupid. I felt right.. I felt ok for asking for help.. there was no shame..i didn't feel like a joke.. so many times in my life I have had such negative experiences when asking for help or showing vulnerability...They took me seriously and made me feel like I wasn't bothering them not even the slightest bit. That makes a difference. I can only hope that this fire truck incident will encourage me to ask again with no reservations..

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