What Do You Need?

     As I sit comfortably on the couch, I hear my toddler over the monitor: "Mama. Mom. Mom. Mum-mum. MAA!"

     He's supposed to be sleeping, but try telling him that. The irony is, he's been asking to do just that for hours. Poor little guy is overtired, and has been slumping in his stroller the better part of the afternoon. And if his glazed expression and irritability weren't clues enough, on his own impetus he literally stood up, turned off the tv and said "Night Night" to the room before walking to his bedroom. He left us giggling as we stared at his little back disappearing down the hall.

     So I know he needs sleep. I know he is overdue. It would seem that even he knows that. And yet here he is: "Mamma... MUM UM... MOM!" while he runs around his crib squealing and kicks the walls.

     And because I'm a therapist and get to think about things like this for a living, it makes me contemplate: why don't we take what we need when it's offered? Because this experience sure has me thinking it is a innate human characteristic.

     Like the addict who won't admit there's a problem and get treatment, or the combat vet who refused the VA's services, the dieter who turns down an accountability partner, or the person who tells you (with tears in their eyes) that everything is okay.... Why do we refuse what we so badly need? Why do we insist on proudly plowing ahead when what we really want is to sit, for one moment, and accept grace?

     Is it pride? Fear? Denial? I'm not sure. But what is clear to me: it is harder to admit and accept what we need, than not to. Which surprises me when I first think of it. But the more I contemplate it, it sounds about right.

Meanwhile, the monitor is finally quiet- thank you!

Wishing you grace and kindness in your life,


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