Every time I went there he asked me the same question, and every time I politely refused. He was persistent, never missed the opportunity to ask, but I stayed firm in my standards. I would never give in to him, no matter what.
A woman can only hold out for so long though, and one day, about four years ago, I broke. I gave into temptation.
"Ma'am? Would you like help out with your groceries today?"
First of all, him calling me ma'am was awful. I was 22 years old with a one-year-old baby, but I probably looked like a ma'am that day. Sweatpants, plus screaming one-year-old baby, minus make-up, multiplied by huge pile of groceries, equals Ma'am.
In the checkout line, tired and sweaty, with pity stares from the pretty cashier and fit bag boy, I accepted defeat.
"Yes, I would like some help?" It comes out as a question because I'm in denial. Surely this can't be happening. Surely I can manage by myself. I'm young and cool! I'm the coolest mom in this grocery store! Unfortunately, being cool has yet to grant me three arms, or perfect sanity.
I lead the fit bag boy to my car and open the trunk for him, terrified that there will be some embarrassing item in it. Thankfully there's not, and he swiftly unloads the cart and gives me a smile, wave and a "Have a Great Day!" goodbye. I stand dumbfounded for a moment at the simplicity of it all, then put my now not screaming child into his car seat and call my husband.
"I got help with the groceries." I admit to him.
"Huh?" He asks.
"I got help. With the groceries. When they ask you if you need help to the car? I said yes." I explain.
"Ok. So are you on your way home?" he replies. My husband didn't understand, and I'm sure many of you reading this feel the say way: So what? So you got help with your groceries! I do that all the time! you say. Well, I never had before. Asking for or accepting help is, to this day, difficult for me. Am I the only one out there who can sometimes feel that help equals failure? Accomplishing something with help is like not accomplishing it at all. I'm getting better about it though. With every helping hand I'm able to stand a little bit taller in my defeat.
I'm sure you've heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." Few of us live in villages any more, but the meaning is still true, and not just for raising children. It takes help to raise a child, to buy a house, to excel in your career, and to just get through TODAY.