Saturday, December 19, 2015

Learning Humility as a Single Parent

This was not only a tough lesson to learn, but it’s hard to write about. I can tell embarrassing stories all day and I find it fairly easy to talk about other challenging things in my life; however, talking about humility is just hard. This is seriously the hardest thing I have ever shared. I don’t know if it’s a man thing or just part of my personality, but I don’t like talking about areas where I might need help. Now, I’m not talking about humility as in knowing I’m not the coolest or greatest. I have a firm grasp on that. I am good at putting others before myself. Mostly, I’m talking about having to accept there are certain things and areas in my life that I’m just kinda just getting by. Being a single parent of four young kids has really amplified the need to learn to accept help. That’s really what this post is about. How I embraced the gift of other people’s generosity and learned that I need help from time to time.

I absolutely love to help people. It’s my hobby and what I do for fun. It just makes me happy to bless people and to teach my kids to put others before themselves. I always thought that was true humility. Just always making yourself last. However, the current season of my life has significantly altered my view of that word. I think for a while, I kinda of tricked myself that I never needed help. I was fine. I would gladly put myself at the bottom because I was good with life. When I actually was overwhelmed, I felt God tell me that sometimes humility meant not just always putting yourself  at the bottom to serve, but it meant being open and vulnerable (Even typing that word is hard for a man). Being able to honestly look at friends and family and say “I need help” is tough. Which is why I struggle to do it. Hahahaha. That’s why the title of this post is “LEARNING humility as a single parent”. However, over the past year there have been certain needs in my life that almost sunk me, but I was too proud to ask for help. In my head, I was just acting as though everything was fine and working to help others. I thought that would be my answer. I was hard headed and would always deny the help I was offered. That soon started to change when I really didn’t the ability to tell people know when they offered me help. I would hang my head and accept the help. Like I said, as a man, but especially as a father, that junk will eat you up. Being a charity case or a giant pity party is the most emasculating thing on the planet. When people would give me things or do things for me, I was beyond embarrassed that not only did I actually ACCEPT the help, but since I would never ask, it was clearly obvious to people that I NEEDED help. It ate me up for a while. “Was I really that much of a failure of a provider for my kids?” I know I gave them love, confidence, and fun, but could I afford to give them birthday presents or someone to care for them while I was at work?

Luckily for me, my friends and family didn’t really care about my pride and pretty much said things like “Listen, you need this and I’m giving it to you.” Or “I know this would be a blessing, so I’m doing this for you.” For quite some time, I would get kinda mad at people offering to help me. “Don’t they know?! I’m Seth Freaking Megow. I got life on lockdown” hahahaha. God put an end to that hunk of crap pride with a quickness son. I learned just because I loved to help and put myself last, just meant I enjoyed giving and blessing. It didn’t produce Godly humbleness. It was really a trait I had to develop for my kids’ sake. They depend a lot on their dad. His stupid pride shouldn’t ever affect their lives adversely. Their wellbeing was a big motivator for me to quit being so proud and accept what people give happily and gratefully.

Lately, I have been a little more open to accept help and not as embarrassed. I’ve had people do things for me and the kids that literally made me cry. (Geez, this stuff is tough to write about.) I’ve just seen such selflessness is people that I’ve just been blown away. I had a need and “boom” it was taken care of. Now, I feel bad typing this because I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging or rubbing it in the face of other people in need. I’m really not at all. I’m just amazed at the giving and sacrificial heart of my friends and family.  For real, I needed a new fridge/freezer the other day Lowe’s showed up with a brand new unit from an anonymous donor. I was struggling to afford Christmas and I got an extremely encouraging letter in the mail from a blog reader I have never met. It really lifted my spirits and on top of that I found a large gift card in envelope to help with expenses.

Ok. Well, I think that’s about all I can type on that subject. I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that I’m still working through things on that topic... Right now though, I want to switch gears and kind of highlight some of the people that looked through my pride and arrogance. These are just SOME of the people that have given their time, money, resources, etc. to me and the kids. I honestly will forget some people in this list, if I do I’m so terribly sorry. These people are the unsung heroes of my little Megow family. I wouldn’t be in the place I am today if it weren’t for these people. I pretty much consider them all a part of my Megow clan (whether they think that’s a positive thing or not, hahahaha). I don’t know how many people and stories I will be able to remember, so again please if I forget you here on this post, know you’ve made a remarkable difference to me and the kids! Also, there is no order of importance or ranking here, I’m just typing whoever pops in my head first. Is it obvious I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings J Also, I’m not going to mention my parents because I’m just going to save that for another post.

Andy & Katrina Fletcher

The Fletchers pretty much took me in as their son. Andy and Katrina saw me at my worst and still loved and encouraged me. Not a wimpy type of encouragement, but the “stop whatever they were doing and drive over to my house” kind of encouragement. I won’t ever forget the impact those two people made on me. They were just pure love and support when I needed it most and they still are. Never in my life have I know two people more amazing than this couple. I honestly don’t know where my life would be today without them.

Martin & Aundria Collins

I really can’t say enough about these guys. I think I’m mentioning them and the Fletchers first is because they were pretty much the first to know anything was up in my marriage. I remember a Sunday morning after church in 2013, I walked up to Martin and just broke down crying about Crissy & I and the stress of balancing that with parenting, work, etc. You guys have no idea how many times I would call him for advice or just totally distressed. Him and Aundria  were the first people that tried to help with all this crap. I just love these two people very much.

April Southerland

I honestly don’t what to say about April. She was one of my main day to day supporters and cheerleaders for the past year. We have been friends for over a decade, but when it was just me and the kids, she kinda just made it a point to show me and the kids kindness and attention that we had been lacking for quite some time. Even at times when I was venting and just naming off the absolute worst things about myself, she would always smile and tell me how proud she was to call me her friend and how proud God was to call me a son. There’s just something serene and special about her that God used to touch parts of my life when I needed it most.

Luke and Megan Shiver

If anyone doesn’t know, Luke was one of my best friends growing up. One of those friendships that pretty much makes you brothers for life. We’ve stayed close throughout our entire lives; however, the past 18 months, I feel like me and Luke connected again. We might not talk every day, but him and his wife Megan were the first people to call me and say “I don’t care what you say, I’m going to help you. Deal with it.” I’m not trying to embarrass people or uncover their private support, but these two stepped into my life when I didn’t have much to offer anyone and loved and supported me and the kids. I know I made a good choice when I picked my kids’ godparents. These two are quality people who I admire very much.

Nicole West

Now Nicole is my buddy. We started working together about 5-6 years ago at Wiregrass GA Technical College (formerly Valdosta Tech). She was promoted and I was hired for her old job. Before she moved into her new office, she was told me and her would be sharing an office for a week or two. Well a week or two, turned into about 5 months. Just me and her sharing a tiny cinder block office with one desk and one computer for over 8 hours a day. After an experience like that, you’re gonna be like best buds or not be able to stand the site of each other. Fortunately for me Nicole is just too cool. Maybe more than anyone, she has seen the shift in the various phases of “Seth”. She was sometimes the first people I would call to vent and would be the first person to send me a fart joke when I was feeling down. She’s such a great buddy and I’m so grateful that she didn’t get offended when I joked about her greasy forehead or bad haircut ;)  One time, I was stressed about my lawn mower being broken. I came home to find out Nicole called someone right after we talked and paid for my grass to be cut. She’s just one of my best buds and one of my favorite people in the world. 

Zach and Emily Parker

These two are some other friends that kinda stepped in at my worst. We’ve been friends for a long long time. I met Zach in high school. He was super popular and I was a band nerd. However, we clicked for some weird reason and been best buds ever since. I met Emily a few years later and we kind of hit it off as friends too. It’s nice having a couple to hang out with that you just really enjoy both of their friendships. Zach helps keep me having “stupid fun” (see the 80’s dating video we made) and you can honestly thank Emily for what you are reading right now! She’s a freaking blog pro. I mean she is BIG TIME with like 4-5 million hits on her page. She was a super encourager of me about starting and maintaining a blog. She’s the first person I ask when I have a question about it and in my mind the definitive resource I use when making decisions about my own blog. Please check her out ( I done a guest post for her blog before which got me a lot of new readers, so thanks Emily! On a more serious note, these guys have been their supporting me from quite some time. They are the only folks that I do family sleepovers with. We’re tight like that ;) They accept me and my kids as being Unique Megows. They always encourage the kids and I and do things to make us smile.

My Work Colleagues 

Wow.  I can pretty much guarantee that no other place on the planet would have been and would continue to be as the administration/faculty/staff of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Valdosta State University. I became good friends with a lot of these people and they made such an impact on my life. Seriously, I know I talk about how legit awesome my co-workers are, but let me just give you a few stories to explain how blessed I am at my job. Last summer, I was still kind of learning the reins of full time single parenting and working full time. I was simply trying to keep the kids happy, healthy, and loved while getting all of my other life responsibilities covered. Well when April rolled around, I kind of realized that I had to provide full time childcare for 4 kids for the entire summer. That junk is not cheap. I lost a lot of weight and sleep. It was seriously tearing me up inside. Well, one day at work my good friend Dr. Rebecca Green strolled into my office and informed me that she had organized a fund raiser for my summer childcare costs and that my co-workers had donated over $3000 in a week to help. Geez, I still tear up about that... Just because they wanted to bless me, they gladly gave and never said a word about it to my face. Another time, when I was stressing about school schedules and hiring afterschool care which I could not afford, my boss (Sheri Noviello- who was just promoted from interim to Official as the Dean of our college!!) just called me into her office, sat me down, and said “lets work out a schedule that suits your needs” and in about 20 minutes, she just lifted like a million pound weight off of my shoulders. Did I mention that she and her husband Kevin have showed up at my house with a car full of groceries before? What kind of boss does that? Just keeps an open door to listen to me vent about balancing work and single parenting and NEVER says one negative thing, but actively works to find a solution to add relief to my stressors. Ok, I’ll tell one more work story. Denise Sauls (one of my co-workers) and her husband Randy, just give like it’s no one elses business. Hahaha. Denise has pretty much been the reason my pantry has been stocked this year and more recently the reason I have gifts to give my kids this Christmas. Every time I thank her, she just gives me the sweetest smile and says “You’re welcome and you’re a blessing”.

Susan Megow Hoyt or (Susu)

I wanted to highlight my aunt because she pretty much has always been there. She’s the type of person that when I called her and embarrassingly stated that I needed a little financial help, she would simply say “How much and when?” and write me a check. She’s not rich, she just loves me like that. J When I needed someone to watch the kids, she would simply say “What day and time?” She moved to Louisiana a while back to be closer to her kids and grandkids. But I think about her often and just wanted to publicly acknowledge how special she is to me.

I literally could type for hours and hours about these people, but honestly, they are the type of people who would prefer no recognition. They are just humble and kind; they act out of love and never seek any kind of recognition. However I’m going to list off some folks that I have leaned on in the past or still do at times. If you see any of these folks, give me them a handshake and know you are standing in the presence of someone who has greatly impacted my life or blessed me and the kids in a sweet way:

Lyn Stalvey (My Memaw)
Will and Erinn Crane
Dell and Jill Young
Corrie Reese
Mellina Rykowski
Jane Murray
Roosevelt (DJ) Standifer  
Kynthia James
Dan and Connie Wells
Chuck Conner
Blake and Felicia Love
Elizabeth Maye
Kate Marple
Jon and Kristen Tanner
Adam and Nicole Steel
Danny and Autumn Orozco
Ben and Cami Buchta
LaGary Carter
Karen Sutton-Smith
Johanna Vrbonic
Zakk and Tiffany Cumbess
Lois Bellflowers
Lindsey Simons Frost
Sandie Delk
Brenda Houchins
All of my online/blog buddies
And to everyone else I’m forgetting in this moment… You guys are the best!!

Be Blessed

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