An Interruption

I bought a rake today.

I've never owned a rake. But I do now.

I've never owned a rake because buying a rake is one of those very grown up things you do when you have a home with a yard and no one else is going to come and clean it up for you.

And because no one else is going to come, I went to the most daunting of all stores--the home improvement store--and I bought a rake to rake up all the yellow and brown leaves strewn acoss my tiny yard.

I did this despite the fact that I find home improvement stores horribly terrifying.

It all starts in the parking lot.

Where do I park? If I park near the entrance, I am so far away from the exit all the way over there on the other side of the store. If I park near the exit, then I'm so far away from the entrance. A true dilemma. A true dilemma I forget every time I go to the home improvement store. I never remember to park somewhere in the middle. I never think about how heavy the thing I'm buying is and how far I might have to lug it. I never manage to park in the sweet spot.

Out of the parking lot, into the store, and you encounter the second hurdle--the greeters. I hate greeters. Well, I don't hate greeters, I hate their job and that they have to stand at the front of the store waiting to pounce and ask me how I am and if they can help me. I am independent. I am self-sufficient and you are slowing me down. Can you help me? No, thank you. I can manage on my own.

But home improvement stores are labryinths of tools and lamps and grills and brooms and dishwashers with shelving units to the sky and banners hanging with words saying to me "Yes, this is where that item is", taunting me to walk up and down the associated aisle and just try to find the item I'm looking for.

I find myself spinning and twirling my cart looking for the orange vest of someone who can tell me. Tell me, please tell me, where this thing is. Because, madame greeter, because mister stocker, I never-ever-ever come into a home improvement store for more than one or two items and only then because my beloved Target--the store I know and like the back of my hand--doesn't have this thing I need. So please, please won't you tell me where it is so I can leave this horrible, labryintine place?

Then with an aura of superiority and condescension (ok, maybe that is my own perception) they walk me an aisle over and casually point out the needed item, already saying "Anything else I can do for you ma'am?" Yes, yes, there is something you can do for me. You can feel bad for making me feel dumb and humbling me in my independent, self-sufficient state. I could have found it. I did find it. I just walked past it six times not knowing I found it. You see, I don't really need you. I was just testing you.

The whole process reminds me of my niece who is in the I-do-it phase of toddlerhood.

Taking up a spoon to help her scoop up her mac and cheese, "I do it. I do it." Moving a chair over for her, "I do it. I do it." Wiping her nose, "I do it. I do it."

Yes, ok. You do it.

But inevitably a few moments later, "Manda, help me."

Oh, so now you need me. I see how it works.

I don't ask for directions. I don't ask for help moving boxes. I don't ask for help changing my tire. I don't ask for help with most things. I do it. And like my niece, I'm pretty proud of my I do it. But unlike my niece, when I have to back it up and admit I might need help after all, I don't handle it with much grace.

I think it's true for most of us. We're not very good at asking for help when we need to. We just keep pushing through, spinning down aisles of sky high shelves not finding the thing we're looking for, somewhere in the back of our my mind knowing we ought to just ask.

***

I'm sorry. I've got to stop in the middle of this poignant post I'm writing.

I've got to stop because in a matter of minutes, rakes and home improvement stores and relying on your fellow man for a little help matters a whole lot less than it did a few minutes before. I've got to stop because I got a little brain cramp and went to check the mail. I've got to stop because a very, very important certificate was in the mail from The Department of Homeland Security. A very important certificate saying my i800a application has been approved and I am approved to adopt one child from South Africa.

I am approved to adopt one child from South Africa.

Let's try that one more time...

I am approved to adopt one child from South Africa.

And again...

I am approved to adopt one child from South Africa.

One step, one important big step, to Hannah home. Hannah home forever.

And asking for help is suddenly so much less scary because you've helped. You've written reference letters. You've recommended doctors. You've notarized documents. You've donated to adoption fees. You've encouraged. You've prayed.

Thank you. Thank you for your help.

We're not there yet, there's still several big steps to go, but one big step is complete. It's stepped.

And I have no more words for how that feels.

Time to go do another dance of joy!


*Hannah is a pseudonym. In order to protect her identity until she is fully and legally mine, I use "Hannah" in all online activity regarding my someday daughter and her adoption.

____________________

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1. Buy a t-shirt from AdoptionBug.com.

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    PO Box 28362
    San Diego, CA
    92198

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