The other morning I made my granddaughter cry as we got ready for school and her 5th Grade Recognition Ceremony, backed down the driveway directly into a parked UPS truck on the road, arrived late for work and distribution of ‘high visibility’ monthly reports, and had three messages from my 79 year old papa regarding PET scan scheduling and the importance of making sure his diabetes does not interfere with the test. All of this before 8:30 AM!
I know my granddaughter will recover, we’ll hug it out. The damage to my vehicle will have to wait for repairs – my trunk does not open and close but I’ve forgotten what is in there anyway. I have good creds here at work so my job is not in jeopardy (at the moment). And, I will work out the logistics of the PET scan and maintenance of blood sugar levels and getting to where we need to be during this journey through the latest health issue. Life throws punches at us – it happens. I would however, like to strengthen my bobbing and weaving skills and increase my stamina a bit so I don’t create additional damage along the way.
For those of you also feeling sandwiched between two generations and/or pressed from all sides, here are a few things I am learning about being fierce in the midst of all life can throw at us.
1) We really can only control so much. Find out what that is and quit wrestling with the rest.
As unfair as it seems, I had no control over that UPS driver parking in a perfectly visible location while he gallivanted about doing his job delivering packages to my conspiring neighbors (you know there were in on it)! I can’t control my granddaughter’s moods (nor mine apparently) but I can make sure she has a plan for getting her homework done, getting to bed at a reasonable hour and boundaries that say ‘there are consequences for our actions’. I can’t control the outcome of all the tests and procedures my dear family member is about to undergo, but I can be present and I can work to find out answers to his questions.
2) Forgive yourself and others
There is no way you are going to be perfect in the midst of dealing with a health crisis, temporary housing situation, unexpected financial stresses, increased demands on your time, etc… etc…. I screamed (I wanted to say ‘yelled’ but as ugly as it sounds – I screamed) at a 10-year old, I cried over a banged up rear end (the car’s – I don’t even look at my rear end anymore), and felt very impatient and resentful (another ugly reaction) over having to explain once again where and when we needed to be for the next appointment, what documents we were bringing, what we could and could not eat before this procedure, etc. Forgiving others is easy most times. Forgiving those we run into throughout the course of our hectic day is easy – as long as we remember that we have no idea what is going on in others’ lives or where they just came from before our daily routine overlapped with theirs. Forgiving ourselves is much harder. I should have been more understanding and restrained. I should have paid closer attention. I should have more patience and compassion. Recognize the infraction, make amends where appropriate, and get over and on with it. We are all human – not a perfect one amongst us.
3) Don’t forget to laugh
Humor really is sooooo good for us. Even in the midst of ‘really bad things’, finding something funny about it makes us all feel better. When we feel better, we act better, we forgive easier, and we don’t worry about having control.