Little Things – India Arie

See, here’s the thing: I have a serious problem saying “no,” and I’m even worse at asking for help, and so I tend to paint myself into ridiculously impossible corners, much to the peril of those closest to me. Take, for instance, the fact that just two weeks ago, I agreed to write a book–an entire book!–by April 3. And another one by May 15. And take the kids to see their Papa Jimy for spring break. And help rep my kids’ school at my sister-in-law’s huge and wonderful Earth Day Fun Festival. And coordinate the neighborhood progressive dinner. And doesn’t Easter fall somewhere in there?

I know. I’m officially a crack head.

And all of this stuff piled one on top of the other means a lot of stuff is falling through the cracks: The girls’ twists are looking a little raggedy, my hair looks like a bird’s sloppy nest, we’re all about to fall into a pasta-for-dinner-every-night-induced coma, the laundry has officially become another piece of furniture in my bedroom, and my poor dog, who hasn’t been to the groomer since (I’m embarrassed to say), smells like ass.

Simply put: I’m overwhelmed and everyone’s suffering.

And like a knight in shining armor sent to save a damsel in distress, my friend Gretchen intuitively sensed all of this, and in the past week, took extraordinary measures to save me from myself. She took in my kids after school. She fed them dinner. She even bought my Lila an outfit for her star turn in tonight’s talent show, in which she and Gretchen’s daughter, the ever lovely Maggie, will perform a comedy skit telling knock-knock jokes. And when Gretchen wasn’t babysitting/feeding my kids/running around town for me, she was calling me on the phone, giving me welcomed and much-needed comedic breaks from my lap top, which has seen more action these past two weeks than an Elliott Spitzer call girl.

This is all to say that I love me some Gretchen–not just because she hooked a sistah up this week, but because she saw me, a fellow mom, drowning. And without hesitation/asking, she threw me a lifeline–several, actually. And did it with a smile and that all-knowing, mom-to-mom/girl-you-know-I-got-your-back sentiment that goes unspoken, but is felt in the most visceral of ways..

Understand that these kinds of friends are rare. Life gets so busy and we all get so consumed with our own work/families/responsibilities/stuff that we move through the day with our nose to the grind, unaware that someone is in need of that helping hand–and maybe a little too proud to ask. Gretchen is selfless–never waits for me to wave the white flag or ring the alarm. She just makes it do what it do.

And for this, and above all else, her friendship, I am truly grateful.

For sure, it is the little things that mean everything.

Thank you, Gretchen, for the lifeline(s).

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  1. Tracey Michae'l Lewis (Giggetts)

    Good post. Don’t you just love your friends? I’ve had some Gretchen-like people in my life and they are truly a blessing!


  2. Nice post. Nice to know I'm not the only one who gets overwhelmed. Nice to know my dog is not the only one that smells like ass. And, nice to know you have true friends that sent you a lifeline.

    Winks & Smiles,

  3. I have a knack for over-committing myself, too. I don’t have a dog, but if I did, the way things are going, no doubt it would smell like ass. My laundry has definitely taken on a life of it’s own.

    Thank God for “Superfriends” like Gretchen. I have a few of them in my life, too. Great Post!


  4. Sometimes life gets like that and I am glad to know that my dog is not the only dog that smells like ass. Try ass and feet, he gets groomed tomorrow. But you know who your true friends are in times like that. I enjoyed the post as well and I think you are a superb writer Denene.

  5. You are so blessed to have Gretchen in your life! I am Gretchen to many but never get the Gretchen treatment back. I am working hard on saying “NO”. It’s very hard!! Nice post 🙂

  6. mommaof4wife2r

    good friends…a very, very good thing!

  7. Where do you find these “Gretchen’s” you speak of? Hmmmm? I have never heard of such. That is amazing.

    And yes, you are a crackhead. You’re brilliant but two books in two months? Wow. Pull out the dictionary and right next to “Doing too much” will be your smiling face….LOL.

  8. Rose-Anne Clermont

    How wonderful of Gretchen for being a good mom friend, they are essential when we take on too much. I could use one or two right about now. She deserves a reward.

  9. MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner

    @Tara: And in the picture, I’d be all raggedy and looking crazy… LOL!

  10. gurrl…what?! You so crazee!!! I beenhearing how you have been stretchin out…yeah kinda crackheadish… Thank gawd for Gretchen and all of our “Gretchen friendz” and thank gawd for you!!
    Love you bunches and we pray for you…

  11. Playground for Parents

    Beautifully said, so easy to relate. As the mommy of “brown baby,” I’m diggin’ your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine as part of UBP09!

  12. God bless super friends! I feel like I’m overwhelmed and doing too much ALREADY, I’m not sure how it’ll go once there’s little ones on top of that! I need to get me some super friends.

  13. Jennae @ Green Your Decor

    Can you bottle up some Gretchen and share her with the rest of us? You are blessed indeed to have someone like her in your life. I love her just for loving on you the ways she has 🙂

  14. Chocolate Covered Daydreams

    So true! So true! Where would we be if we didn’t have good sistah friends to come to our rescue. Your dog is definitely in good company because my smells probably worse than all of yours combined. He needs a bath yesterday but with being sick with allergies/asthma, he’s been pushed aside. You think Gretchen would mind coming out to Palm Desert??

  15. Justice Jonesie

    What an awesome friend. I need one like her. Can I have her number?

  16. Beautifully written! I am going to tweet this so others can hear about this simple blessing, an unconditional friendship.

  17. Christie-A Work In Progress

    I swear it is an “overwhelmed woman” epidemic going around! You are like the 5th or 6th blogger (including myself) that has posted on this! We must all be feeling the same vibe and reaching out for a hand! Glad you had your friend close by and you know you have all of us. Sorry your dog smells like ass…that was just funny!

  18. I have a friend or two like this and they are priceless. I only hope I remember to be that friend every once in a while. Also, two books in two months?? What? You rock.

    One last little comment – I know this was the smallest thing in this post, but I breathed this huge sigh of relief when I read the sentence about your girls’ twists. I have worked hard, hard, hard to make my ten thumbs behave and learn to do my daughter’s hair. When I get behind and it looks frayed and ratty and dry, I feel like the biggest failure of a white mom to a brown baby EVER. I also feel like every single AA mom we pass is thinking, ‘that poor child.’ So yeah, thanks for that.

  19. MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner

    @anymommy: Oh, trust: There are plenty of brown moms out here letting our little girls stalk the earth looking like who did it and ran… sometimes, it’s hard as hell to find the time; it takes and hour and a half to get my 9-year-old’s hair done; I have to carve out at least 3 hours for the little one, who makes a point of screaming the entire time because she’s so tender headed. The fingers get sore. The parting takes forever. And then after all that work, it doesn’t friggin’ last long enough.

    But you’re right: We DO give white moms of brown babies a little extra glare for not keeping their adopted daughters’ heads lovely all day, every day. It’s not fair. But it is what it is. And I’m sorry for that. Don’t be afraid to outsource, girl. When I get a little extra pocket change, somebody else is going to be doing my girls’ hair!

  20. Arlice Nichole

    I cannot stop cracking up about the dog, LOL! Your friend Gretchen is the bomb!

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