"I am leaving in the next five minutes," he stated, " and if you are not in the car before I back out of the driveway, you will be right here at this house with your Mama!"
A flurry of noises and activity ensued as kids from all directions within our home were scrambling to make it to the car. All except for Nina.
Nina had been riding around the downstairs area on her scooter and she had chosen to be a responsible toddler by wearing her helmet. On any other day, she proudly sported her helmet and was usually the first to don it for scooter-related enjoyment. At that moment, this helmet was fast becoming the least liked item in the house as it was the only thing standing between her and a trip to the store with her Daddy.
I was upstairs in my bedroom working on laundry, when off in the distance I could hear whimpering that was slowly beginning to escalate. The muffled sounds of frustration were gradually making their way up the stairs. Nina came stomping into my room tugging wildly at her helmet. Her helmet was haphazardly askew on her head and her face was tear-streaked.
As parents, my husband and I work diligently to encourage our children to use their communication skills to effectively articulate their needs and desires instead of acting out or using behaviors that may be in some cases, socially unacceptable. This moment was no different.
"Nina," I said gently. "Use your words, honey, and say 'Help please.'"
She stood there, looking at me as if I had not spoken to her at all.
She tugged and tugged at her helmet, whimpering louder and stomping her feet incessantly. She was becoming so worked up that she began the infamous two-year old hyper-ventilating cry which only resulted in her successfully trapping the helmet strap between her nose and upper lip.
My husband, who could hear the commotion, came into the room and looked at Nina while she continued with her tantrum.
"Nina, don't you want to go to the store with Daddy?" he asked, towering near the entrance of the room. She stood there, motionless for the moment, staring off in the distance and not daring to look up at him.
"Use your words and ask for help so you can leave with me." No response from Nina.
"OK!" he said and promptly turned on his heels to head down the stairs.
"I am leaving in TWO minutes!" he called up to ceiling.
Nina began pulling and tugging at her helmet once again, this time standing on her tippy-toes as if that would help her remove this most difficult obstacle.
Just then, our 18 year old daughter came into the room, kneeling down near Nina and placing her own face very close to our exasperated two year old's face.
"Sweetheart," Amali began while wiping away a few of Nina's tears with a tissue. "Just say, 'Help please.'"
Nina turned from Amali and walked to the bedroom window just in time to see her father leaving with the other kids to head to the store.
She tried to remove the helmet on her own again but the clasp was simply too tough for her small fingers. Her goal of leaving with her father was so close, and yet, she refused to ask for help, even though she had said these same words countless times before.
What was so different about this time? As I watched Nina struggle, I was reminded of times in my life when I had been just like her, refusing to ask for help even though I truly needed it and my goal was within reach. Whether I was struggling with a work project or dealing with a personal situation, pride, defiance and the unwillingness to admit defeat were driving my behavior and thus driving me further from where I wanted to be.
We all face challenges and at times, try to handle everything about that challenge on our own strength when clearly we are struggling. Meanwhile, God is near us, waiting for us to simply say, "Help please." He is nearby, waiting for us to relinquish our pride and our defiance and to invite Him into our situation. He is waiting for us to use our words so He can fight the battle for us.
Nina had made her way to the couch downstairs where she had fallen asleep with the helmet still securely fastened to her head. The look of exhaustion was evident all over her sleeping expression.
She now readily says, "Help please," whenever she is facing a challenge she cannot handle.
If you are facing something today, it is absolutely OK to use your words and ask for help.
About the Author:
Shatanese Reese is a freelance blogger and author of a future book who resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children. She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises. Shatanese’s goal is to find the extraordinary in every day moments. Follow Shatanese on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope.