I got myself really worked up on the drive over. I was ready for a fight. I had all of the phrases I was going to use all set in my mind, and I was practicing them with varying degrees of intensity. I had never met this woman and she had suggestions for me? Psh.


I’m normally a very calm, rational person. But when it comes to my kids, I’m a mama bear…A mama bear that just got out of hibernation…that just got out of hibernation and sees a predator looking at her cub…and even if it’s just a squirrel, I’m going to demolish it before we have a chance to find out if it’s dangerous. You do NOT eff around with my kids.


You see, after 23 years of parenting, I’m used to well-intentioned folk telling me how to do my job, without putting 1% of the effort or thought that I do into being a mom. Being a bi-racial and differently-abled family sort of makes us a walking target for everyone’s comments and suggestions – at the grocery store, at the car wash, at church. I got over that about 10 years ago and summarily reject most anyone’s offers of advice, often to my own detriment.


So I went into this meeting making all sorts of assumptions about this woman and what her “well-meaning advice” to me would be. I went in pre-determined to reject whatever she had to say. Nicely, of course. I’m not THAT big of a jerk.


But you see, I do need help. I’m at a standstill. It’s just that I want to be the one to think it through and come up with the solution.


So when the tiny little woman sitting across the table from me began to talk, I was horrified to find my heart melting into a million pieces. She was disarming me weapon by weapon, and I was helpless against her onslaught of kindness and generosity.


Sitting here hours later, I am still in tears at her ideas and offers, spoken in broken English as she often had to look to the sky to find the word she was looking for. She just wants to help, because she was helped by someone long ago. She’s in her 70s; she doesn’t need anything from me. She just wants to be of service.


I did a reverse-werewolf : I transformed from a growling, suspicious monster to a complete puddle at her feet. That big raging fire of pride and independence in my chest was extinguished by a big old bucket of graciousness and good will.


Sometimes, mercy finds us when we least expect it and least desire it. It so fully washes over all of our arguments that we become powerless; we just have to accept it. Sometimes, despite our best efforts at independence, mercy shows us that it is okay to depend. It’s okay to trust in people, in friends, in family. It’s okay to accept support, even if it comes in an unexpected form. Sometimes it’s okay to just sit down, take off our weapons and admit we need help.