Recently, I pulled out my old Ipod for a short run at the gym. When I was scanning through the playlists, I noticed one entitled Baby Roebuck. I remember compiling this seemingly-appropriate list of songs for my sister when she was pregnant with my nephew. One of the songs was Lean On Me.
You just call on me brother, when you need a hand,
we ALL need somebody to lean on....
And isn't that the truth?
We get into so much trouble when we try to do it all on our own. Or when we're too ashamed to ask for help. I guess when I chose this song for my unborn nephew's CD, the intended meaning was that he know that he could always lean on his parents and on me, his auntie, and on all of his family, no matter what life would throw at him.
But also, as a new parent, we often think we are supposed to be the new parent all alone. First we think that as a mom, we shouldn't need to ask our husband to get up during a night feeding to help us or just so we won't feel lonely. Then, even once we've accepted that we need to lean on our partner, we are hesitant about asking for other bodies to lean on. Mothers and Fathers and Sisters and Brothers and Parents-In-Law. It all goes smoother when we acknowledge that no one has to do it alone.
My friend, Jen, came to visit me today. I was talking to her about what it's like to be a parent. She knows my husband, but she knew him long before we got married and had children. It made me reflect on how much I've leaned on him since those first years that we knew each other and how much our relationship has changed. And I said to her, "Becoming a parent with someone is an opportunity to fall in love with them all over again, for totally different reasons." I guess the more you need to lean on someone and they don't let you fall, the more your love grows.
She told me this short scene she witnessed last Valentine's day:
She was at a nursing home where her parents live. Her father was away and she was there with her mother, in the common room, with a small crowd of other residents, listening to an accomplished pianist. Her mother was unconsciously moving her fingers to the melody, their muscles remembering the weight of the keys beneath them. Another lady was tapping her feet with the rhythm. Then, she saw an elderly couple, both with walkers. The old woman set her walker aside and so did the man. They reached for each other and began to dance to the music. They didn't need their walkers when they had each other.
Lean On Me.