Only… I really can’t do it myself.

The other night, I announced that bath time would begin in five minutes. Big Brother decides that he must make a paper airplane right then. Now… I know how this will go down. He will grab his paper and paper airplane book. He will somehow find the hardest airplane to make and begin furiously folding his paper. He’ll proudly show me his first two folds, but as it gets harder, he will get frustrated and I will end up finishing what he began. I reminded him that I am getting ready to bathe the girls and I will not be able to help him. I explain to him that it would be best if he waited until the morning when we can work on the plane together. I don’t want him to think that I doubt him or that I think he can’t do it, but in that moment, I wanted him to have a reality check. I told him that if he started this little project, it would only end in frustration because I was not going to help him finish tonight.

So… he says to me, “I understand. I can do it myself. I don’t need your help.” I am in the bathroom with the girls and I hear the first sighs. I hear grumblings and several “why is this so hard” statements. He doesn’t want to admit to me that he’s struggling… so when I ask if he’s ok, he says, “yes… I’m fine… I can do it myself.”

By the time his bath was ready, I walked out and found a very discouraged and frustrated five year old with a very crumpled piece of paper. I hugged him. I told him I was proud of him for trying and that I would be happy to help him in the morning. Had he waited, he still could have done it by himself… but he would have had the benefit of my focused attention,  time, and help if needed. Had he waited, we could have saved a lot of tears and paper.

When we came to seminary, I was determined to make things work. I was angry with God for the timing of all that was happening. I was seven months pregnant and did not want to move to a new town and set up a home with a new baby on the way and my husband entering into a very intense, very time consuming graduate program. I didn’t say the words out loud, but I had a very “I can do it myself” attitude towards God. I refused to feel his comfort. I refused to share my heart and fears and tears with him. I sat by myself and sighed and grumbled and declared, “why is this so hard?” But… I didn’t want to admit that I needed him… so there I sat… spinning my wheels and getting no where.

At some point over the summer, half way through our time in seminary… I gave up… in a good way. I gave up my agenda. I stopped trying to fix things, provide for our needs, make friends, push my agenda… I just gave up and stopped spinning my wheels. I began taking one day at a time… I focused on doing school with the kids. I stopped worrying about how our bills would be paid. I started seeing how happy my husband was in the field that he is training for. … and all of the sudden… money came in for our bills from unexpected places. I started meeting some families who live in our neighborhood and are part of the seminary community as well. I started losing weight and feeling more confident. I stopped sighing and grumbling and realized that I, in fact, could not do it myself… and that’s okay.

I will not beat myself up for pouting and “doing it myself” last year. I can’t. I can only make the most of what I have now. The school year will end soon. My husband will graduate and we will move on to the next chapter of our lives. I am not ready to think about all that entails. So.. for now, I will enjoy this new found freedom of being dependent.

Confessions of a Seminary Wife- I Can Do it Myself

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