August 25, 2013: Friday I had to take our dog and kitten to the vet. I thought it would be a great idea to just hold the kitten on my lap and drive there without a way to contain her. I had a box, but it was from a beer distributor. My other idea was a backpack, but then I worried someone might be offended if my backpack was meowing. In retrospect, I don’t particularly care what anyone may have thought. Holding an uncontained cat in your lap while driving in the rain borders on stupidity.
She was fine at first, but then it began to rain. So I turned on the windshield wipers and that was the beginning of the end. Apparently, windshield wipers are terrifying, because every time they wiped, she clawed her way further and further up my shirt until she was over my shoulder. The only part of her I had a grip on was her back hips. She dug in to my flesh with her tiny razor sharp claws and I ran off the road. If any of you were on the road while this was occurring, I apologize. I wasn’t drinking. Just bleeding.
When I arrived at the vet’s office, I had to calculate how I would get both the cat and the dog successfully to the waiting room. Luckily for me, I still had Avery’s fall jacket in there from last year, so I opened the van door and captured the kitten, wrapping her up like a mummy while I grabbed the dog’s leash. When we got inside the cat had shimmied her way up my collarbone and the dog had walked around my legs three times rendering me immobile. I was slightly more than mildly irritated when the vet noticed how dumb I am, came to my rescue and loaned me a cat carrier.
That one tool made the whole event go smoothly from that point forward. And it made me think. I can’t even successfully handle a dog and a cat without help. What makes me think parenting is any different? Sometimes I feel like I can handle it all myself. There are times when I’ve needed help and refused to ask. There have been times friends have offered to help but I like my way better, or I don’t want to seem needy (or worse…weak) so I refuse. Then something so far out of my plan happened and I had a choice: turn to my friends for help or sacrifice my kid’s best interest because I was terrified people would see my inadequacies.
We were not made to be afraid of authenticity – quite the opposite is true actually; we are made for relationship. Social media has the power to make everyone feel like complete failures, and there is a stigma to so many problems that makes being real very risky. But slinking away from an issue does not make it any less an issue. Many times the denial complicates the problem by refusing to address it at its core.
So while I am certainly no expert in absolutely anything, one thing I know is that we are better together. The smiles on Facebook may not be a lie, but they do not tell a complete story. Everyone needs support. Literally everyone. I invite you to be part of my journey, where I will celebrate God, make fun of my children and maybe expose some of my deepest insufficiencies. Why? Because we are ALL inadequate and none of us is immune from adversity, but it is nucking futs to try to do this life alone.