Through this transitional phase of my life and a change in a friendship, I have been thinking about what we owe our children. When we make a conscious decision (or even if we don’t) to bring these other human beings into this world (or adopt them), so starts a chain of responsibility on our parts–or so it should.
But where do the boundaries start and where do they end? When do ‘our’ lives take precedent over theirs and when (if ever) can we ‘be selfish’ and do things that maybe in the long run could hurt them emotionally?
These are questions I’ve had to ask myself many times over the years as I made the choice for a divorce and then tried multiple times for a relationship to replace my failed marriage. I justified each and every man who passed through my home to myself saying that it was my time to be happy. Surely I considered my children as best I could, or so I thought, but in the end I’m not sure I did a very good job.
They certainly were hurt by my decisions (and told me eventually as older people) and I ended up not finding anyone anyway. I’ve even looked at the reason for my divorce and wondered about that and considered if that was the right thing for us all in the end anyway.
Each of my children suffered in their own way, and of course, maybe they would have had their own demons regardless. They are all OK now thank goodness. And we can never know how the paths would have been different had I truly put them first instead of my needs.
Where do we draw the line–at what age, at what need, at what emotional tugging? I had very little guidance when it came to these questions. Therapists aren’t my thing sorry to say, and most friends don’t really want to tell you what you need to hear. So you bumble along while the kids get lost in the storm of your decisions.
Looking back, I would do it differently, but we can’t take stuff back. Resentment still hangs in the air with one of my daughters, but we are slowly mending. It could have been much worse with her–we almost lost her altogether. And I would have certainly blamed myself partly for that if we did. But she healed and we are healing.
So when I see others and their children, I want to grab them and say: please, make some sacrifices in the short-term because it’ll be worth it for the long-term! What’s a few years of not getting everything you want in exchange for the trust and love from your kid? Because really, that’s truly the most beautiful gift any person/parent really can have, regardless of what you may think in the moment you are reaching for something else.
Like tear drops falling
Clinging sweetly to the vine
Fresh fallen water
Caught upon a leaf
Or caught within my heartsong
Holes torn in fabric
Sliding down my soul
You are gone like dewdrops
Once two silver orbs
Alike reflecting life
But you fell from grace
I’m left with the world
Trapped within my globe of tears
Alone sorry seared
This week is National EMS Week (Emergency Medical Services). I’ve been an EMT/Paramedic for close to 20 years now. It’s been quite a ride, one where I may soon be stepping off of the proverbial bus as we like to call the ambulance.
We are called ‘ambulance drivers’, much to our displeasure–after all, we are much more than that really. Taking countless hours of classes to hopefully be able to perform some life saving procedure on anyone from a neonate to the elderly; waking up in the middle of the night during any kind of weather, even it’s just to comfort someone who is scared; dealing with every bodily fluid known to humankind; getting yelled at by your patient even when they were the one calling 911; and getting up again right after that tragic call you just went on and barely tucked away in the crevices of your bleeding heart.
Yes, we are ambulance drivers, but we are sometimes merely taxi drivers. We have been called heroes, we are furniture movers, we are psychologists, comedians, the grim reaper, teachers, advisors, friends, healers, weight lifters, engineers, actors, drug counselors and more. But what we are not is God.
We do what we can and it’s our job to help, but often people wait too long to call and expect miracles. These we can’t provide. And then we are only human, there to hold a hand, listen or cry right along.
For in the end, your emergency becomes our emergency, but we must remain calm. You must never know if we feel fear for you would lose hope. So we tuck our fear, our sadness and our insecurities away for another day, so when the call comes, we answer and give it all we’ve got.
So here’s to all the EMT’s out there! Thanks for all you do, your courage, devotion and hard work. It can be a thankless job, but we love it none-the-less. We love it for those tiny moments where someone looks you in the eye and says: thanks for helping me, or where you know you really made a difference in someone’s life. That’s the true payback.
Here is a poem I wrote today for my colleagues:
We may not all always get along
And we may not always see eye to eye
But when the tires hit the road
And our patients are in need
We put it all aside
Pool our knowledge
Use our skills
And do our best to heal
It can be a thankless job
Or it can be the greatest gift
We are never alone
Our partners have our backs
When we need it most
So when you’re tired and beat
Discouraged and sad
Tomorrow is another day
The day when you will help a crying baby
Sooth a son after the death of his Mom
Help someone breathe a little easier
Actually save a life
Because that’s what we do
Day and night
Sister and brothers
In the back of our special bus
Trying to sell your house and keeping it ready for showing is like being in one of these limbo phases of one’s life. Like when you’ve filed for your divorce, but you haven’t moved out yet; or you’re 8 months pregnant and counting or you’ve got 2 weeks to go to finish up your old job before you start a new one. It’s a sort of purgatory….
These times are especially hard for me–these in-between times. I don’t do them very well. I’m much better at living my life in the now, in the known routine of my every day steps of my OCD life! When unknowns lurk ahead, it’s hard for my inner self to stay focused on the tasks at hand.
Because I’m a planner, I start planning for every possible outcome and my brain very quickly becomes overwhelmed. Sleep eludes me and not only do the wonderful futures dance before me, but it’s in my nature to plan for all the catastrophes too. Hey, why not? Be prepared!
Eventually my house will sell. I can’t control it of course–I can’t only make it look as presentable as possible. It’s priced way too low, but that’s the market now. My hope is that someone will love it as much as I did. And when it sells, I leave behind so much.
During this gap of being still here, but going somewhere else, interesting things are already happening. Some people I never expected to reach out and help are stepping forward. Others who I would have thought would be by my side every step of the way have disappeared. My joy and excitement to live near my mother again grows daily. This is so fascinating to me and I can’t wait to explore the depth of these feelings.
The waiting game is not one I play well. Patience is not one of my virtues. But these are two things I attempt to do while living a normal and happy life in the meantime. So as spring time continues to burst forth, I can only wish some hopeful person or couple sees a dream in my home just as I did years ago. And this will set me out of limbo into my new world of wonders.