Sharon Randall: Floored by the bedspread
By Sharon Randall
Sometimes the people I love refuse to take me at my word. Usually, this annoys me, but at times, I don’t mind it.
It depends not on what I say, but what I mean when I say it. I expect them to know the difference. What else is love for?
Recently, when I told people I didn’t need help, I never meant I didn’t need their attention. Lucky for me, they knew this.
It started one morning when I made the mistake of getting out of bed. During the night, the bedspread had slithered onto the floor and lay, like a snake, coiled up and waiting.
I did not know this, but I’d seen it happen before, and often said to my husband, “We need to do something about that bedspread or one of us is going to trip over it and get killed.”
Guess which one of us tripped.
Not only did I trip, I launched myself across the room and landed face first on the tile. All in one fall, I split my lip and my chin, cracked four teeth and fractured a bone in my foot.
I refused to look in the mirror. When my husband got a good look, he nearly passed out. Then he drove me to the ER, where they stitched me up, put my foot (the right one I need for driving) in a cast and gave me a list of doctors to follow up with.
I never liked that bedspread. I came home and locked it in the closet. Then the calls began.
“You did WHAT?” said my sister. “I’m coming out there!”
“I don’t need you to come take care of me,” I said. “I’m fine.”
She didn’t come because (1) she knew my husband would take care of me (he didn’t want to answer to her). And (2) her daughter said, “Mama, if you go, she’ll end up taking care of you.”
Instead, she calls every day to say, “Honey, how are you?” That’s what I really needed.
My children also offered to help, each in their own ways.
“I don’t need you to do anything,” I told them. “It’s enough to know you want to.”
So they call and send videos of my grandboys. Good medicine. That’s what I really needed.
When my friend Linda offered to help, I said I didn’t need it. But I let her drive me to see doctors when my husband has to work. I could take a cab. But cabbies don’t make me laugh like Linda does. That’s what I really need.
I even turned down my friend Diana’s offer to bring dinner. She brought it anyhow. It was fabulous. The best part was the wrapping: Lovingkindness. That’s what I really needed.
Yesterday, my oldest called to say he was driving from L.A.
“You don’t need to do that!” I insisted. He laughed.
“I’ll be there by 5,” he said, “and I’ll make dinner.”
He arrived at 4, with all the fixings for zucchini marinara.
We ate like starved wolves, talked and laughed and talked some more. Finally, I excused myself to take my fat lip and aching foot to bed. I drifted off to sleep listening to my boy and his stepdad talk like old friends.
This morning we drank coffee and discussed draft picks for the Warriors. (I think they ought to pick Orlando Johnson because he’s terrific, and not because I used to baby-sit for him.)
And this evening, while my husband grilled veggies for dinner, I watched the sunlight play on my boy’s face as he sat frowning, studying a script.
That was what I really needed.
I told you all that to say this. I don’t need you to do anything for me (not even a get-well card, unless you really want to). But promise me this: That thing you’ve been meaning to take care of, like the bedspread that falls on the floor and turns into a snake? Don’t put it off. Take care of it, before it bites you.
Finally, never be afraid to say what you don’t need. You might get what you want. Some of us will do anything for attention.
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Contact Sharon Randall at www.sharonrandall.com.