|In the 23 years that I’ve had dogs as an adult, my current apartment is the first place I’ve had my own backyard. I’m sure my awe and excitement will wain, but I hope I always appreciate the private space Gavin and I can enjoy together.|
The other night, I was reading in my lounge chair, intermittently looking up at my smiling dog, tongue hanging out of his mouth while he slithered on the astroturf, then grabbed his balls, when I saw a bee crawling towards him. I love bees, but I didn’t want Gavin to get stung. So, I grabbed a leaf to help guide it elsewhere when I noticed one of its wings was broken. I escorted the bee to my anise hyssop (one of two plants I haven’t accidentally murdered), hoping to help it survive its injury.
The next day I saw what seemed to be the same bee crawling on the mulch, so I helped it to what I hoped was sustenance, my purple minty-smelling flowers. Maybe because I wanted so badly to save the bee, Gavin’s needed a lot more nurturing these days, or perhaps because I just attended my high school reunion, I’ve been a little nostalgic about help and vulnerability.
This time last year, after signing a lease, I transformed two rooms into a kitchen and dish room in four days (with the help of all three of my siblings, my mom, a Task Rabbit, and Fred, the plumber). And, ten years ago, my beautiful friend Kate gave me the most selfless gift, her entire basement, so Finn didn’t have to climb six flights to my condo anymore. Unlike Gavin, who’d happily let me carry him everywhere, Finn hated needing help.
I’ve learned a lot about accepting help in recent years. And, as Gavin and I settle into a rhythm that works for both of us in our apartment, I’m learning how to give to everyone I encounter wholeheartedly and when I need to retreat, to fill my cup.
I’m learning that, sometimes, even if I perceive I’m being patient, I can always be more gentle, compassionate, and loving. I’m learning to graciously accept, with love, when someone doesn’t want my help. And, I’m learning to cut myself more slack, that if I don’t get to my Quickbooks (again) because Gavin needed an extra half hour of petting and sweet talking to eat his morning pills, it’s ok.
May you be gentle with yourself today and ask for and accept help if needed.