Friday, July 16, 2010

things my Two-Year-Old Taught Me: Part XVI

I’ve given up on a lot of things over the course of my life.  When I was about four I gave up dance lessons because the class interfered with Smurfs.  I mean, come on, I’ve got priorities, people.  I was cast in a community theatre production of some obscure children’s show as an extra along with about 75 other kids when I was 11.  That lasted all of one rehearsal and I couldn’t take the scary lady director yelling at us.  Much more regrettable upon looking back, was quitting violin when I was in high school, after playing for 6 years, because of a personality conflict with my new orchestra teacher.  This was after I had already quit the city-wide youth symphony I had to audition for and was directed by the same personality disabled woman.  (not that she’s solely to blame...)  I’ve quit project after project when they became time consuming or overwhelming (hence my scoreboard).  I’ve quit running followed closely by quitting excessive physical activity altogether (isn’t having a toddler enough exercise?).  I’ve quit watching my weight, I’ve quit cleaning my house every single day, I’ve quit watching the news nightly because it’s depressing, I’ve quit acting out of necessity and kids, I’ve quit trying to grow my hair out long, and I’ve quit big long classics of novels that I know as a “literary” person I SHOULD read.  Sometimes I just feel like a quitter.  If only I observed Lent.  Then, for at least one week (or is it six?) this would be considered a good trait.
The other day at the park I watched bug with interest as I pushed mini in the swings.  A short distance away, he was attempting to climb into the tire swing - which hung about level with his shoulders.  He gripped the tire and tried to pull himself into it, only to have it swing out from beside him and land him on his backside.  I expected a cry, or at least a plea for a kiss (since he can’t brush by anything without “getting hurt” and “needing a kiss to make it better.”)  He got up and considered the swing.  And then he tried again.  He swung his foot up and held on for dear life, clinging sideways to the tire with his arms and one foot, his other leg dangling helplessly.  This time he landed on his side.  He tried again.  Time after time he tried, unsuccessfully, to mount the tire swing that was clearly out of his reach.  Each time I expected him to throw in the towel.  I thought he would run to me crying and whining.  I thought he would yell in frustration and then sulk off to some other toy.  But he didn’t.  He persisted.
I thought of other things that had seemed beyond his grasp, things that I would perhaps have quit after trying half as hard as he did.  Getting his shoes off by himself, pushing a chair to a new position, stacking toys in just the right way, turning light switches on and off when they were soooo high... how did this kid develop his determination??  Especially with the world’s biggest quitter for a mom?
I remembered triumphant victories over struggles he’d tackled.  The way his face would shine and he’d excitedly point out, “I did it!”  He was illustrating for me an important principle:  The victory is always sweeter when you have overcome obstacles to attain it.  And the obstacles?  They seem pretty inconsequential when you've finally stretched and wiggled and pushed that light switch into the “on” position.
Finally, I called to him, “bug, do you want some help?”
“NO!” He shouted in true two year old fashion.  “I do it!!”
There was a pause as he stared at the insurmountable goal ahead of him.
“Can you help, please?”  He looked imploringly at me.
I smiled and walked over to him, hoisting him onto the tire and giving it a push.
And that’s when I realized:  sometimes, all the persistence in the world still isn’t enough.  Sometimes we still need a hand.  And most often when (and IF) I get to that point (like, if I haven’t already given up) I will obstinately insist that I can do it myself.  But asking for help is NOT throwing in the towel.  Asking for help isn't quitting, it's just human.  

How fortunate I am that I have so many people willing to hoist me up when I need it (even when I'm unwilling to admit it) - a loving and supportive husband, an amazing family with brothers and a sister and all their spouses, incredible parents, and (most importantly and unfortunately often overlooked) my Heavenly Father and his Son.  Yes, I’m very lucky indeed. 


Lise said...

Ahhh, wise beyond his years, as usual.

Amy said...

This is such a wonderful post. I am so glad that I have others to hoist me up, too. And I am so grateful for the lessons that I have learned from my kids.

linda said...

I understand this totally.
we called our youngest daughter 'bugaboo' when she was little! Her oldest sister still does and bugaboo is now 31.

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