Happy New Year! Now that I have had a taste of what 2018 is bringing I am intrigued. Every year is an opportunity for growth and learning for all of us. This usually comes through the trials and obstacles we face and experience and (hopefully) overcome or begin to successfully resolve. 2018 is proving no different.
Frankly the crap comes fast and furious so be ready. I have learned the secret to happiness is to go at it with no expectations and maybe you will be pleasantly surprised from time to time! Jaded! Negative attitude! Some may say…oh no, just the opposite, I choose to meet everything with honest and fresh eyes, a positive attitude and a choice to be happy, come what may! Everyday is a gift, that is why they call it ‘the present’.
Even so, the crap, big and small, comes and we deal with it. It is how we deal with it that counts and that is another choice we get to make.
Sometimes the choices of others cause obstacles and crap we then have to deal with. I have a person in my life who tends to react to things that don’t go exactly as planned or in the way she wants in a harsh manner. In turn, she will treat certain people harshly and speak to others rather harshly. She is not mean or blatantly critical or abusive, just harsh. I mean we all have our weak moments, that is a given. However, in this case it is the go to reaction and it is a reflex done without apology.
I try respond to harshness or cynical or negative people as kindly as possible and extract myself from the situation. But this week the harshness with this particular person hit a record high. I took it in and did not respond, but waited until I could have a personal conversation with her. When I did, she offered a hasty apology but rushed to get out of the conversation saying she was busy and would have to talk to me later. Which has not happened, no surprise.
At the same time this week my beautiful 18 year old daughter started her very first real job. She was hired as a Pre-School / Daycare Assistant at a local private facility. She is planning to study Early Childhood Development so we were all very excited for her. She worked a two hour day and 3 eight hour shifts this week to facilitate some mandatory training and certifications and to spend some time with the children she will be working with. My daughter is a person with autism, albeit high functioning, but autism still the same. This being her very first structured job, it became very clear after day 2 that her level of anxiety was running high. She found out the facility was peanut free and she would not be able to take her beloved (and only sandwich she eats besides grilled cheese) peanut butter & honey for lunch each day and came home in tears.
The Administrators of the facility know she has a diverse-ability and the tears were about more than peanut butter, but none the less, she was feeling the brunt of the cold, harsh, working world and was overwhelmed with the idea of living in it everyday. I can’t say I blame her or that I haven’t felt exactly the same way.
Again, that word, harsh. Like a quick, hard, slap in the face. Unexpected. Surprising. Hard to respond to. The same as her mother, my daughter, Holland, took the high road, and waited until she got in the car to cry. Poor kitty. I gave her some loves and some time to pull herself together and rest and eat.
When we had a chance to talk she told me her fears and anxieties. Individuals with autism are often very literal. For example, if I were to say ‘hold your horses’ to a child with autism, most kids would ask me to go looking for the horses. In this case, as Holland read her responsibilities regarding keeping those babies and children safe and adhering to the rules of the facility, such as toddlers keeping their hands to themselves etc. She began to feel self doubt and an inability to do the job because she thought it was her responsibility alone to make sure a three year old didn’t hit a 4 year old…and if that happened she had failed. Yeah…overwhelmed.
And so, I clarified, kindly, that her responsibility was to ensure the children KNOW the rules and the consequences and that she would have to repeat the rules many times during the day. I also reminded her that I was a working mother that dropped both her and her brother off to day care at 3 months old. I told her all I ever wanted was people like her to be loving and kind to my babies until I could come get them. Yes, keep them safe and fed and clean and warm. But most important, give them cuddles, tell them they are great, and be kind and loving to them. And that once she got mad and knocked a TV over at her day care at 2 years old.
I told her to focus her attention on those little angels, those children and babies I know she loves. Leave her troubles at the door and do what you love. The rest of the week was much less harsh.
Loving kindness, overflowing…❤