Tuesday, March 27, 2012

No man has an island...

We all need help from time to time...

I've been fortunate in our move that my Aunt and Uncle were here visiting from Wisconsin.

My Undle is 72. He and my 82 year old Dad have been having a good time hanging out at the house, bickering as brothers do, thinking up new projects, and practicing their interior design tools.

They've hung a million pictures, fixed strange plumbing issues, built a bike lean-to to help protect the Grandlittle's bikes and rearranged furniture while sharing strong opinions why my doing things was the WRONG way!

At first, when we were getting ready to move, I was being stubborn and proud and telling them that I didn't need any help...I had everything under control...I know how to move... blah, blah, blah...

They ignored me and helped anyway...









I tried resisting having help determined to be on my self-punishment island...


BUT...

They just tsunamied over me and did what they wanted and after a short while it started being a lot of fun.

My Mom and my Aunt weren't slackers in that time period, either. They lined kitchen cabinets, held a garage sale for two days, packed, unpacked and just listened to me cry. A lot. Even when I was telling them I could probably do it myself.

They just ignored me and didn't let me be an island even though I was determined to be one.

I am fortunate to have had family step up to help us through this nightmare of change, illness and financial struggle. I am fortunate that they watched my eyes and didn't listen to my words.

I really have no idea why I was being so prideful over all of this. I guess the perceived failure of losing a business, losing a house, losing a lot of things made me afraid to let anyone help me. Or maybe I was afraid if I let them help I would be opening myself up to criticism.


That never happened.

On Sunday I asked them all over for dinner. Things were finally unpacked enough that I could find ALMOST everything in the house.

I started meal preparation. You might recall that we had been using our laundry room as a 'kitchenette' for some months before we moved because of major water damage in the kitchen. I was preparing several things at the same time, and I found myeslf getting really annoyed. There wasn't enough counter space!...why did we have to move anyway?...might as well just be cooking in the laundry room!...yadda, yadda, yadda. At the point I was kind of slamming cabinets and throwing bowls around, Mr. Jenny hesitantly entered the kitchen.

"Ummm...having a bad day?" he asked. "Yes! This is ridiculous. I have no counter space, I'm trying to do all this stuff and it's just like being in the laundry room again and..."

Mr. Jenny looked a tiny bit afraid to interrupt my rampage but he did anyway. "Ummm...why don't you use the island to help spread your stuff out?"

Island? Island? I had a kitchen island?




OMG. I turned around and there was a wealth of space to finish my meal preparations. I was embarrassed. How could I have forgotten there was an island in my kitchen? I had been trying to do all the food prep on the very short counters to the right and left of the kitchen sink.

In my defense, I've never had an island AND I'd been using the minute counter space in the laundry room for weeks and weeks.

In my defense...

Okay.

There is no defense.

I was being an idiot.

I was being prideful.

I was being that person that can help others all day long but has trouble being gracious enough to let someone help me.

Sigh.

Moving, stress, financial disaster and illness is no time to try to 'Island' it.

That's when you let anyone and everyone help.

Receiving gracefully is the hardest challenge sometimes.

But if you don't allow that to happen, you sit on your island and never realize there's a wealth of help available to get you through.

We ate, we laughed, we talked...





Every single time I tried to say, 'thank you', to our relatives for their help I started to cry.

I seriously could not get the words out without starting to cry.

And when it was time for everyone to go home my Uncle gave me a big hug and said something like, "This is what families do, next time don't be so pigheaded."

Pigheaded?

I wasn't being pig-headed?

I was just forgetting that there were all kinds of islands around MY island filled with help...

...and extra counter space.


And...


Okay. Yeah. I was being pig-headed.


Sigh...


post signature

42 comments:

Viki said...

I know it is very hard to accept help some times. I think we have to remember though how we feel when we help someone it makes us feel good and willingly let others help so they feel good? I hope that makes sense, ha. I just hope I remember that the next time, and I'm not "pig-headed" LOL. How's the new job going?

Nonna Beach said...

TJHAT was just the awesomest post Jenny !!!

I think a lot of women think they can do it all... all the time, well, we cannot !!!

Everyone needs loving hands and words to lighten their burdens. I am bookmarking this post so that when I'm on my little 'island', pity pot or am being 'pigheaded', your experience and words will straighten me out and diminish my silly pride to a teeny vapor so that I will ask for help when I need it !!!

Hugs,
Nonna

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I could totally see you being pigheaded about the whole thing!

lol...

I just love how your family ran over the top of you and did what needed to be done. I am in the middle of a similar situation right now and I am the one running over the top of someone's objections. Sometimes, it's just the right thing to do...

Hang in there sweetie. There are lots of us who love you...

xxoo,

RMW

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Jenny Sweetie...
A beautiful and heart felt write. Isn't FAMILY the best? Where would we be without them?

In your case, sometimes NO means "YES". They saw right through you and stepped up and got things done, all in the name of LOVE.

Thank you for sharing your island, your little oasis, in this desert storm that we live in here in the valley. I still hope one day that we will meet. You are such a gem. Many hugs and much love, Sherry

Sue (Someones Mom) said...

When we found out we were moving here (almost 9 years ago), my husband was facing major cancer surgery and it was a forced transfer. My daughter was a senior in high school, number 1 in her class and I had a job, church and friends that I truly loved. We did not have the business/financial issues, but I cried all the time. My daughter and I stayed behind for her to graduate, my husband had his surgery, got better and moved into a hotel and we did have movers...but we did all the unpacking etc ourselves. My husband ended up having hernia surgery from doing too much too soon after the first surgery and I cried all the time. I don't know why it is so easy to give help and so hard to ask for it. It is for us too.

It is nine years later and to be truly honest, I am not as happy in my life as I was in my "old" life. I've adjusted. I still have those random days when I cry over my old job or my old friends, but I've just decided to look at this time as the next step to the next thing. We never know what is coming around the corner.

This really made me miss the days when mom and dad would hang out at my house!

Theresa said...

Hmmmm, I think I am looking in the mirror... listening to YOUR words, watching my mouth move! Yep, I am pig-headed too:) I would drop everything to help family, BUT absolutely HATE to ask for help! I just like to handle my own stuff! With that said, sometimes we just need help and family will always help! Your Uncle is RIGHT, that IS what families are for! Now... my oldest Sister will volunteer her husband to help everyone:) He has come to my aid MANY times and I sure appreciate it! My oldest Brother has jumped in to help me before and although I would rather NOT have help at the time, I NEEDED HELP! SO, my sweet friend Jenny... use that Island, make yourself some new memories and LIFE will be great in your new home!

BIG HUGS!

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

Oh I so know how you felt Jenny, been there too and probably have a "stubborness" t-shirt to prove it. I think it is a self preservation mechanism that is built into most of us that tends to take over in those most stressful times in our lives. Glad you had family around to give you a "nudge"!

Jo said...

Jenny, what a wonderful post ... sometimes it's hard to be on the receiving end, isn't it! and lucky you having family who wants to help and who will help and who love you enough to be there for you ... sometimes you have to build a bridge, so you can escape your island and let others in!

Simone said...

I guess I'm just as pigheaded then. I was unemployed for almost two years and during that time, I had to rely on family many, many times. I cried in shame that I couldn't do it on my own. Even when I moved away from all that I knew in California and came here to Oregon, I was a crying mess until I realized something. The reason why the family has helped me is because they are giving me a gift called love. If I rejected all that they did for me, I would cause them to be hurt and take away their abilities to reach out to me. I hope that you will embrace your new life and recognize the good things that are there for you.

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

I wish I had an island. And that's all I'm going to say about being pig headed : )

Dana

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

A great post. You'll need time to grieve for your old life, and time to develop pathways in your new life. When you have that kind of pain, it's hard to welcome witnesses, even when they can make the whole process much less painful.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Jenny if you saw how small my kitchen is you would laugh! I'm sure it is smaller than your former laundry room. I'd LOVE to havea kitchen island one day.

t is so nice your aunt aunt and your parents came over to help you move. Family is more important than material possesions and money...they are what really count in life! Enjoy your times with them and let them help you always--they love you!

Nezzy said...

Oh darlin', please don't be so hard on yourself. You under just a 'wee' bit of pressure. You'll settle in and make this place your home.

I'm so glad the kid are as stubborn as you and flooded in to help.
(I soooo understand, I do or die before I ask for help, what's with that?)

God bless and enjoy your day sweetie!!! :o)

Linda @ A La Carte said...

It is what family is all about. You would not hesitate to help someone but when it comes to letting others help, well it's hard. Glad they just bulldozed you and were there anyway. Oh and the island thing...it could happen to anyone? Nah! Just you! Hugs, Linda

Polly Janos said...

Oh Jenny, I just want to hug you! What a wonderful family you have!

anitamombanita said...

Oh Jenny Jenny Jenny. I feel your pain. I'm a busy busy bee and love doing for others, but I have a hard time asking for help and I'm not a very gracious receiver. It sucks because there are lots of great people who want to help and when we don't let them, we're kind of taking away the joy that they might find in giving. OK, lecturing myself right now.

What a blessing to have a great loving family. I'm happy for you in that respect. ... and things will settle down to a dull roar.

oh, and that cool phone...we have the same one... I love it!

Jeanie said...

I am forever grateful to the person who made me let her do more for me than I could ever possibly repay. It was one of the hardest lesson I have ever had to learn. All that you are going through is a process and I have no doubt that you will come out victorious as the process evolves.

Wanda..... said...

Nothing better than a happy group of relatives helping with a 'house warming'....your bad attitude was normal, but short lived, because you are Jenny Matlock, woman of wise words, many friends, talents and dearly loved by family!

It's All Connected said...

You could not possibly be less gracious than I am about accepting help! I am determined to do things myself and not be troublesome to my male relatives and friends. All it does is distance people and isolate you. Shall I print out your post and tape it to my mirror? Thanks. ~ Maureen

ImagiMeri said...

Knowing you personally, I can only say "now I know why we're friends"

We're so much alike! You are very special to me Jenny, and I was so happy to spend time with you last week. Thank you for coming to my garage sale, thank you for purchasing the bike, and I'm glad you're happy with your mixer sweetie, but you didn't buy it from me, so no need to thank me for it. I am glad you love your little lamb, I just love it when I get something right, especially for wondrous friends like you.

God Bless, and let's try to get together more often,
Meri

Annesphamily said...

Phamily! I love 'em! Do they drive me nuts? Yep! But I would not trade the whole mess of them for one snobby famous person!
You are so loved! Your friends love you! The relatives love you! You have it made in the shade girlie! Give yourself some TLC and carry on!
I hated losing my home. MY kids hated it! But we did what we had to do and now life has mellowed for a moment or two!
I love knowing you! I love that kitchen island! I love that sweet aunt,uncle,mom,dad you have! I would love to have my favorite aunt and uncle and mom and dad right this minute!
Now I am going to go cry!
Love and Hugs,
Anne

Ms Sparrow said...

Ah, what luxury it would be to have an island in my kitchen! Then I wouldn't have to scurry back and forth along the cupboards when I work.

Jim said...

Hi Jenny ~~ NO HELP WANTED! I put out that sign a lot but not often is it minded. Sometime I'll tell you about all the help one gets when they fall down. Generally I just want to lay there and recover but all the help gets me up.

I love your phone. Will it work for your regular calls? We had one like that while I was home on the farm. After I left for the Army the tel co people gave it to Dad when they changed to dial.

He kept it on a table in his office. A customer stole it. Dad said he knew who it was but he never did anything about it nor did he tell who it was.

Just wondering, does your uncle read your blog?
..
Thank you for peeking in on my Saturday Centsus. Although I am honored that you came catching up, I for one wouldn't mind if you just did spot checking on us. You have way too many comments to return every one.

And your island. They are soooo nice and handy. But since our kitchen is small Mrs. Jim wanted to get rid of hers. The builder talked her into loosening it from the floor and puting it on rollers. She likes it that way.
..

Ames said...

Sweetie you should watch some of those House Hunters International shows. Those people live in closets over there for half a million. They just live with less space, and less stuff. We are so spoiled here in America.

I had an island in my last kitchen, I miss it. I keep telling my husband I need a center island or a butcher top and he says no. He likes the open space. I guess since my arthritis put a top to my Martha Stewart cookie making business I don't really need the island. But gosh darn it I miss it!

Ok I'm back. Isn't it a wonderful thing to have friends and family surround you with their love? Life is what you make it and a home is where you make it. Get crackin!~Ames Hugs!♥

Ms. A said...

Jenny, how lucky you are to not only have family, but have family that's willing to help! That's a blessing!

Stef said...

What a great family you have!! That really is where it all ends up. Family. And you know you would be there doing the same thing for them. And guess what, if I was there I would have been helping out too.
So glad you are loved by so many wonderful people!

H said...

It's much harder to accept help than it is to give. We always want to think of ourselves as the strong ones, in control, able to cope. At the end of the day, that's what families are for and I'm really glad that yours were there to help you when you needed them.

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

Where to start? First, I have that same vintage phone in my phone collection.

Second, I am charmed by your dad and your uncle jumping in and working together. So glad you snapped some pictures of it. What cool memories to have and to share.

And, while I would never remarry if widowed, I would consider spending time with your uncle if he was widowed. His idea of family ROCKS! He speaks my very language. Okay, and you could then call me 'auntie'.

Also, dang! Yay for the ladies hard work too!

vivian said...

YOu are very lucky to have your parents and aunt and uncle alive and healty and nearby! I'm glad they were there to help you. we all need to rely on others.. I truley think thats why we're all here on this earth. to help and bless each other and to carry each others burdens.
sometimes we have to be a little pigheaded so that we can suddenly come out of the dark and really see are blessings shine!
You tell wonderful stories and your blog is always a fun place to visit. You should have it printed someday to give to your grandlittles someday.
have a great day!
xoxo
vivian

J. Kwiatkowski-Schuler said...

I can see by these pictures that you're a rich woman.

Rosalind Adam said...

So glad your family listened to your eyes and not your mouth. We all need to accept help sometimes, to remember that when others want to help we hurt them as well as ourselves if we say 'no'. Unfortunately not all of the photos came up on my screen but I saw enough to get the feel of your family and they look truly lovely.

Terra said...

I think I like your uncle! One thing I have definitely learned this past couple years is that it really does take a village and if you are blessed enough to have a village you are truly blessed and that village will be your rock, but only if you let them in...

taylorsoutback said...

Remember that song Lean On Me? Family & friends do those kinds of things because they want to. You are blessed. Wishing you & your family a bright new direction

Busy Bee Suz said...

It makes me so happy that you are surrounded by such a wonderful family to help you out...even if you really DIDN'T want the help. They knew better Jenny.
This explains why you are such a lovely person...you came by it naturally.
I love your kitchen...and that island is just asking to be a work horse. ;)
I am sure you know this...but you are so blessed to have your parents and your aunt/uncle around...and in good health too.
xoxoxo

Willoughby said...

What a wonderful family you have! I'm glad you them help. Sending some hugs from my island to yours!

Sue said...

Oh, how I love a good family! And you have definitely got one!

(And by the way, this is wonderfully written, Jenny!)

=)

pasqueflower said...

Change is hard. I'm glad your family has been there for you at this stressful time. And I'm REALLY glad you have an island in your kitchen.

EG CameraGirl said...

How honest of you to tell this story! You have a wonderful family!

Anita said...

Of course, your story reminded me of a time when I needed help and resisted. My girlfriend just dove in like your uncle and dad and ignored my whining.

That is just one of a thousand memories I have of her. She passed away in 2009.

As I scanned through the comments, I see the care and concern that our blog friends have for you and each other. As my kids would say, "It's Awesome!"

Splendid Little Stars said...

"Receiving gracefully is the hardest challenge sometimes."
I am grateful that my mother taught me to receive without feeling I had to reciprocate. that is over a period of many years. I could never keep up with her abundant giving. And that's okay. It wasn't expected...or needed. SHE needed to give.
I'm so glad you had such wonderful family around during this stressful time and that they never gave up in helping you.
May your new home be filled with abundant blessings and happy memories.

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

i have a hard time accepting help, too, sometimes so i understand. your lucky to have a family that cares for you so deeply. you'll get through this!

upinthecosmos said...

I have a hard time accepting help myself... mostly cause I always think there's a price to pay for it cause of past experiences I guess. When you find those willing to help & they really expect nothing in return, those are the great moments in life:-)