Earlier today I read a post that reminded me of a topic I had wanted to discuss many times, but had never gotten around to. Amanda, at Walk a Myelin* My Shoes wrote this post today, that I think everyone who has to ask someone for help, myself included, should remember. BE Kind and Thankful for the people that are there for you. But not only that…. REMEMBER to THANK them.
I reblogged this on my page a few minutes ago, in an effort to share her post, but I don’t know if I did it correctly. If you have a minute, please take a minute to visit her post on her page at the link above.
We’ve all held the door for someone without receiving thanks. Maybe you have let someone with a smaller cart checkout in front of you? Doing those things and helping people for the most part makes us feel good about ourselves, when it is our choice to do them, and it’s an added bonus when the person you help Thanks you.
I’d like to share a story that while I am not ashamed of, I am not particularly proud of. I’m not going to go back and “fix, or undo” it, but I do try to be better than that now, and I really try to remember to thank the people I have to ask for help.
Ok so here’s the story….
When Thing One and her husband started dating, he lived in Michigan and she lived in Il. I am so thankful that the kids have decided to make Illinois their home. I felt bad for Z’s mother, who has several physical limitations, that she would not be able to see the kids as easily. Once the kids decided to get married, Z’s mom, (we’ll call her T) decided that she wanted to move to Illinois to be closer to our kids and potential grandchildren. She asked for my help.
I have learned the hard way in the past, (and I am still learning) that it’s important to set boundaries when you help someone. One boundary I try to place is that I will happily TEACH you how to do anything I can, but I won’t do things FOR you, if you are capable of doing them yourself and chose not to.
I helped T find maps, handicap accessible apartment websites and phone numbers, and offered to take her to the buildings if she did all the other prep work of reviewing the websites, and scheduling appointments. That process wasn’t without it’s issues, but we did it. She came to Illinois to stay with the kids for 4 days, and Friday was the day I would show her around and take her to her appointments.
When I arrived at Thing One’s to pick T up, they (Thing one and T) weren’t quite ready and neither had eaten breakfast, so I offered to make eggs for them both. I asked, T how she wanted her eggs, ( which is more than I did for Thing One) and she replied “Over medium”. Ok, I will give it my best shot. I made her eggs first, and when I placed them in front of her she made a face and said, “I guess I can work with that”.
Deep breath Grace!…Deep Breath! ( no I did not throw the plate in her lap)….. I did look at Thing One though, who instantly gave me an apologetic look. ( l love that my kiddo and I can communicate through facial expressions and body language so well) Next I made Thing One’s eggs and placed them in front of her. She replied, “Thank you.” (Yes I had to point out that my daughter has simple manners). Finally, I finished my own eggs. (the same way I made T’s) eggs. I sat down to eat and T immediately said, ” well that’s how I wanted my eggs, that looks good.”
WOULD YOU LIKE MY FUCKING EGGS?!?!?!?
What I actually said was, “If you would like my plate, I will happily trade you.” She dismissed me and began to eat from her own plate.
Several times throughout the day she barked at me that I was doing something wrong, or this wasn’t what she wanted. I really really tried to be patient, but after seeing 4 different apartment buildings, and constantly being told I was incorrect, I made up an excuse that I needed to be home for Einstein for something, and took them back to Thing One’s. (sorry kiddo, I did what I could….but she’s all yours) and yes I did say that in her ear as I hugged her goodbye.
For the remainder of the evening I tried to offer Thing One appropriate responses to her future mother in law (via text ) as she got on Thing One’s nerves more and more. I was also supposed to hang out with the kids and T on Saturday for a couple hours.
When I got there on Saturday, I told both of the kids I was only staying for one cup of coffee, and asked which excuse they would like me to give about why I wasn’t staying longer. Since the kids were “entertaining”, I offered to make everyone coffee. Thing One wanted hers with creamer, no problem. Z wanted his with a scoop of sugar, also no problem. I don’t even remember what T wanted in her’s because I honestly I had had ENOUGH of being told how many things I did wrong…
Here comes the not proud part
I placed T’s cup in front of Z and told him, “Here, YOU fix her coffee for her, because if she tells me I did ONE MORE thing wrong, she will wear it”. T gasped and looked up at me saying, ” Oh do you mean about yesterday?…. I was only joking!!!!”
Uh huh. I quickly drank my coffee, made my excuse to leave, and wished T an enjoyable rest of her trip.
Yes I know that was wrong and very passive aggressive of me. As I said I’m not proud. But I think it illustrates my point.
A year has passed since that day, and while I have not been MEAN to Z’s Mom, I have not been helpful in ANY WAY. Normally I would have spent some time at the kids wedding in March with her, making sure she was settled in ok etc. I didn’t, other than to make sure the obligatory newlywed’s with their mom’s picture was taken. I have not shared any of the kid’s ultrasound pictures with her (as I would have in the past). I know that it’s not my job to do those things, but that is who I normally am. The one who tries to treat everyone like they would like to be treated.
I’m sure I will have more dealings with T in the future, and any help I give will be because I chose to help not expecting anything (even a thank you in return) I know that this is the way it is supposed to be, but I am human, and would at least like a Thank you.
Thank you for reading along today. Do you get bent out of shape too, when a Thank you is not spoken? I think we all do a bit. PLEASE remember to thank people who are kind to you, or that you rely on for help, it can really make a huge difference.
**** I didn’t realize until reading some of your comments, that I neglected to add that at this time, T still resides in Michigan.