I struggle with this one a LOT. More than I would ever like to admit to anyone. I find it hard to be grateful for what people choose to give me, and seem to become resentful towards them, for when they choose to withhold from me.
I can remember resenting my Momma, when she flat-out turned me down, at my offer to have her babysit Rebecca. Rebecca was an infant, and I was a tired brand-new mother. Momma was still working full-time as a teacher. After teaching 135 children all day, coming home to a screaming kid, was not her idea of a good time. I can’t say that I blame her. Yet, I do remember resenting the fact that I had no help in those days.
As the babies kept coming, Daphne just a year later. Then Bronwyn 3 after that. Each time asking my folks if they wanted to attend the baby’s birth, or to be there to help out, I was told, “No thank you.” By the time Russell came along, I didn’t even make the offer. Resentment settled in as I watched them traveling 672 miles to my sister’s side each time she gave birth, yet couldn’t travel the 23 miles to my home.
I used to joke that I could count on 1 hand how many occasions my parents had babysat for my children. 1 hand. That’s less than 5. Over the course of my having 4 children spaced 8 and 1/2 years apart. Yes, there was a lot of resentment built up there.
In recent years though, my parent’s attitude towards grandparenting changed, as well as their commitments towards being teachers of children. They have taken care of my children on so many occasions I can no longer keep the count. I know that it must look strange to outsiders, and feel even stranger to my parents when I gush and gush and gush my gratitude towards them, each time that they help me out. Phone calls, texts messages, even taking one or both of them out for a meal, to show my thankfulness. I know that had I not spent those years being turned down, I would not appreciate it half as much, as I do.
Along with that lesson I think that is why it is so very hard for me to actually ask for things. I’ve become so accustomed to being told, “No.” that I don’t feel, that I deserve very much in life. Instead I find myself just trying to do everything on my own, and having to work twice as hard, because of these chains.
Maybe the lesson isn’t so much as to be grateful for what I get, but to also keep in the forefront of my mind — don’t ask, don’t assume, just accept what you get and be thankful for that.