Alone

I was sitting at the bank the other day, when a man somewhere around my age, perhaps on the closer side of 50, came in with his dad. He walked up to the desk and asked the receptionist if she knew his father and pointed to the elderly man on his right. The teller smiled with sad eyes and said,” yes, we all know George.” I could tell be the look of pity on her face that this man had some serious struggles with his father.

The two gentlemen took a seat beside me and the father kept saying “They stole my money”. The son sighed and said “dad, you are confusing the issues. There is no record of you purchasing a money order and why do you think you bought one? You have no need for a money order. These people are professionals, they are not out to steal money from their clients.” He leaned his arms forward on his knees and placed his head in his hands and just sighed. I could tell he wanted to be rescued. I wanted to place my hand on his shoulder and tell him it will all be okay. But that would be a lie.

It’s not going to be okay. That moment when the child becomes the caregiver is painful. I watch my aunts and my parents go through those same frustrations. I know one day it will be me and my siblings going through the same thing. I watch the stress levels of everyone rise, from the parents to their children. One can’t help feel it too. I worry about my parents and they worry about their children and their parents and I worry about my kids and it all becomes a vicious cycle.

I wonder about how it happens. That very moment where my grandparents went from being in charge, being strong, looking after my great grandparents, to relying on others to help them get through, needing someone to make choices for them. As a child, I was shielded from the struggles my grandparents had with my great grandparents. I remember my great grandma living at my grandma’s house. I remember when she went from looking after little details, cooking meals and being an active member of the household, to being cared for. Meals brought to her, medications lined up and eventually the decision to move her into a care facility. I don’t remember being aware of my grandparent’s struggle, their stress or agonizing over decisions about what to do. What likely had happened was my grandfather made the decisions for my grandma. He took care of her like that. He would rescue her and make her feel safe. I’m sure that is what she misses most about him. Because seriously, that’s all any girl wants. Women are capable of making decisions, being strong, holding it together, but that one person who can make them feel safe and protected is the ultimate.

When I looked at that man who was my age, I had a moment of clarity. Although I am removed from caring for my parents, I am in a different situation. I am still feeling that at this very moment. I want to be rescued, made to feel safe. I knew that son had wanted go back to the time where is dad was the protector and made everything safe. I long for a simple time where I could crawl up to couch and snuggle between my parents. I am lucky that I am not alone like that man in the bank. I have my family supports and the clarity of mind from both parents. I understand that everyone has the sense that the future is unknown. It makes it hard to plan for, but it is one of those leaps of faith that anyone who has a desire to do great things must take. It just happens to be my turn to face the unknown.

Why do I go to work everyday?

I hate my job.

It is only Wednesday and I have more emotional overload in 2 days than most people have in a lifetime. The stuff I dealt with today alone would make well adjusted grown men cry.

Last year I hated my job too. Last year I suffered from mental stress. This year is emotional stress. What is the difference you ask?

Mental stress keeps you thinking until your brain is numb. It has you repeating yourself endlessly like a broken record to no avail. It makes you sleep for ever.

Emotional stress keeps you awake at night worrying that little ones are okay. You fear for their health and safety. You try to plan a way to keep them with you so they are safe. Your heart gets broken on a daily basis. You cry in the bath tub and in the car on the way to work. You get angry and smash your head against the wall because you think you are crazy.

I sat in the chair tonight and my daughter said, If you hate your job so much, why do you do it?

Me – Sometimes you do a job because the little souls need someone to care and love them so they won’t be alone in the world. But I did see a job posting for Assistant Manager at Dollarama and thought about it seriously for 2 seconds.

I was at my Life Coach’s office today after work. We talked about emotional intelligence. Over a year ago I wrote about wanting to be emotionally intelligent. I have achieved that goal. I wish I never did. That is not true, I wish I was surrounded by emotional intelligences. I am to some degree – no offence friends and family! – but I am also surrounded by emotional sluts. You know the kind, connect to the one you are with rather than who is right for you.

It is no secret I connect better with children than I do adults. I see it, feel it and experience it on a daily basis. Ask Liam. He is a stranger kid I met on the playground the other day. It was obvious to me that he had some special needs. Talking to him briefly I could tell he had sensory processing disorder, a cognitive delay and fluency issues. I walked past him to sit on the bench, smiled and made EYE CONTACT. He smiled back.

I forget how the exchange started but within 5 minutes I had connected with him so well, he thought I use to be his teacher and kept saying “Remember when…” I would play along because A) everyone wants to feel like someone remembers them because that means they are IMPORTANT enough to be REMEMBERED and B) none of his peers would engage him in conversation, he was a loner or more to the point, lonely.

I see him occasionally now around the school and fields and he always waves. I have made a new connection, for life I suppose if I continue to keep running into him. I can connect with every child in my classroom. Some stronger than others, but all of them just the same. Every single one of them knows they are important to me and I care. I cannot say the same for the adults in my life.

Part of it is my fault. I do not connect with adults because I protect myself. I am sick to death of being hurt. Apparently this has to do with me not forgiving myself for something in a particular relationship. Fair enough, I can see that. I connect very strongly with emotional sluts. Then they break my heart. It is a pattern I repeat because I need to feel punished. Isn’t THAT interesting? Emotional sluts, I recognize them at 50 paces. I connect with them. Have them need me. Then I need them, and because they are emotional sluts – I get left. It sucks. I pick them KNOWING it won’t last, yet I engage in the emotional exchange. I haven’t done this in a long while. I recognize it for what it is and keep a distance. That sad part is, I am still connected to those emotional sluts of my past and feel loss. They are no longer connected to me, they have moved along to the next one.

My next goal is to connect with adults who are emotionally intelligent. I know who you are, you are well adjusted, stable, goal oriented and do not rely on others to boost you into the next realm. I have quite a few of you in my life, you have just kept me at arms length while I figure this out. You are smart enough not to get caught up in the drama of an emotional slut.

Oh Edmonton Tourist, you are such a different person then you were August 15th, 2010 when you started this journey. We are getting there one step at a time.

Baby Chicken Hawk is my Idol

I think I had a nervous break down today. I cried, I was cranky and…No – Wait a minute – I didn’t have chocolate!

I was watching Oprah tell Barbara Walters that Gail is the friend everyone should have. I don’t want to be Gail’s friend, but a friend like Gail would be awesome. Oprah talks to Gail everyday to debrief her day. They laugh and cry etc, etc, etc, bask in each others friendship glory and then move onto the next day.

I have AMAZING friends. I can call anyone of them up and ask a big fat huge favor and each and every one will say yes before I finishing saying “I need to ask a favor”.  I can call them for a minute and end up yapping for an hour or two – Gail & Oprah style! Just to have that moment in my day to debrief would be amazing. That would be huge! Seriously, who has the time? My schedule is tight. I need to fit sleep in there somewhere. I thought having my courses done for the semester would ease it a bit, but HA! No such luck. I am so incredibly thankful for Facebook! Facebook keeps me up to date with my friends, lets me know about the chaos in their lives, lets me see the MOST ADORABLE pictures of their kids, pups and vacations. When I say adorable, I really mean Baby Chicken Hawk. There was a picture today of her looking all ambivalent and with her fingers innocently arranged, flipping the bird to the world. The Babe is 4 months old and has serious ‘tude! This is THE BEST PICTURE EVER!

It is the best because A> She is EXACTLY like me – and when I say me – I mean my evil twin Chicken Hawk and B> She has no idea what it means, and by the look on her face she doesn’t really care anyways.

I want this picture to be my new Facebook Profile Picture. I want this picture to hang on my mirror to remind me about what’s important and what is not. I want to have this picture on my iPhone so I can remember to flip the bird metaphorically when I need to not care. This Baby is rocking my world.

Thanks Baby Chicken Hawk I needed this picture today. Between you, chocolate, coffee, my best girlfriends, my best guy friends and my family – I don’t think I need a friend like Gail.

Good News! It wasn’t a nervous break down after all!