Just Jennifer: Lean on Me

Just Jennifer Lean on MeJust Jennifer: Lean on Me

My daughter had her chorus concert last week. She had tried out for a special part of chorus called Major Minors, which is basically the elite of the chorus group. She tried out, but didn’t get in. My husband and I told her that what mattered most was that she tried out, and not to be disappointed.

So you can imagine our shock when we were watching the chorus concert and saw Elizabeth make her way down the bleachers. I thought that she had to go to the bathroom, but no, she walked straight up to the microphone and sang a solo! She sang the intro to “Lean On Me.”

She was sooooo awesome.

I blubbered throughout her song, and truth be told, right through the rest of the concert.

After the concert, parents and kids alike came up to congratulate her. I grinned like the Cheshire Cat, basking in her glory and the utter pride and sheer happiness I felt for her. It was her moment, but more importantly, it was a moment for our entire family.

I believe that every experience, both good and bad, comes with a life lesson. For Elizabeth, she learned something crucial that night. She learned that if you want something, you have to go for it. And you can’t give up. She had tried out for Major Minors in the past and hadn’t gotten picked. While she still hadn’t been selected for Major Minors, she got something even more important — a solo.

But then, as I am wont to do, I thought about it some more. I watched the video of the chorus concert, and I listened to the lyrics. Suddenly, I realized that there was a message in those lyrics, in those words.

Lean on me.

When you’re not strong.

And I’ll be your friend.

I’ll help you carry on.

For, it won’t be long

Til I’m gonna need

Somebody to lean on.

I realized that there was a message geared directly towards me…and it was coming from my daughter.

Ever since I was little, I have been fiercely independent. I learned early on that if I wanted anything, I had to make it happen. No one was ever going to help me to get there. If I wanted something, I WENT FOR IT. Sure, I faced rejection, but I also achieved so much success.

What I wasn’t successful doing, though, was asking for help. I am just not wired to do it. I will find any means possible to do anything on my own without having to ask for a favor, or be at anyone’s mercy. That’s not to say that I don’t help others; in fact, I am one of the most helpful people you’ll ever meet. I love doing it; I thrive on it. But to be on the receiving end of a helping hand? Well, it just makes me feel uncomfortable.

But here’s the thing. I am now 6+ months pregnant. This pregnancy has been wonderful in a billion ways, and similarly difficult, too. I have found that I can’t keep up with myself like before, and there are some things I just need help with. It has been a bitter pill to swallow to learn how to ask for help with seemingly simple tasks, but I’ve had to learn how to.

I learned that I had to lean on my kids and my husband like I never had to before. And I have learned, slowly, that asking for help doesn’t necessarily make you weaker.

In some cases, it makes you stronger.

I also realized that it’s important for my children to understand that Mommy is not a superwoman. This is much to my own chagrin, though. After all, who doesn’t want to possess superpowers? The problem with that is that you are unwittingly setting the bar way too high for your children when they themselves become parents. My daughter in the future may think, “Well, my Mom did everything. Why can’t I?” It’s not healthy or natural for kids to think that parents can do it all, because in reality, we can’t. And we shouldn’t promote an unhealthy standard of what being a parent is.

In essence, your kids need to see that you are HUMAN.

I have never been through a more humanizing experience than this moment in my life now. My kids have risen to the occasion, and have been more awesome than I could ever have imagined. And in turn, it has made us a stronger team and a stronger family. When our baby girl is born, the kids will (hopefully) be prepared to pitch in even more!

Because at the end of the day, as much as they lean on me, I know I can lean on them, too. And that’s a good thing.

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