But I don’t WANNA ask for help

Image from telegraph.co.uk

Got back Thursday night

After four nights on a business trip.

Took a taxi home from the airport through the

Dark streets of my city.

I came in the front door

And stood for a moment in the dimmed, quiet living room.

Then I went into my son’s room and let myself

Wake him up a little–

I couldn’t resist–

By rubbing the warm back under the shirt.

My son speaks in complete sentences

When you wake him up,

As if picking up in the middle of a conversation:

“Will you sleep down here tonight?”

“No, but I’ll check on you before I go to sleep.”

“Do I have school tomorrow?”

“Yes, tomorrow’s Friday. Go back to sleep now.”

And he does!

I hate being away from home overnight because

Yes, I miss my family,

But also because

When I’m gone on a school night,

I have to ask three or four people for help.

And I hate asking for help.

I have to ask Joe to change his schedule,

I have to ask my brother or dad to

Come over in the morning to

Get my son to the bus stop,

I have to ask a neighbor to take my son after school once or twice.

And of course I have to ask my son

To be good, don’t be sad

While I’m gone.

So many people inconvenienced,

I always think.

So I call Joe the second night and ask about my son,

“How is he?”

Expecting reports of tantrums and tears.

“He’s fine,” Joe says.

“I think it’s good for him to get some time with me.”

I get a voice mail from my brother:

“Hey it was nice to spend some time with him.

I don’t want to wake up at 6 everyday to do it,

But every once in a while,

It’s really cool.”

And the neighbor:

“Yeah, the boys played cars and it was great.”

And my boy after I got home:

Perfectly normal,

In fact, particularly well-behaved.

Unaffected, it would seem

By my absence.

(I forget:

I’m not as important as I think.)

The fact is,

I don’t want to ask for help.

I don’t want to owe you,

Or have you balk at my nervous request.

“No, no, we’re fine. I got it,”

Has been my mantra.

But,

If I don’t ask for help,

You don’t get the chance to help me.

It’s selfish to

Not

Ask for help.

I need to give you the opportunity to be of service,

And give my son the opportunity to have a

Different experience–

Without me.

It’s scary though.

What if you say no?

Well I guess I’ll find out on my next overnight trip:

The day after Halloween.

All Saints Day.

Give my brother the chance to grope for sainthood by

Waking up an hour early to come over and help get

My son to the bus stop.

You’re welcome, Doug.

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