The last week was fraught with hospital visits for Dad, an altercation at work caused by my taking things too personally, and many emotional upheavals as I watch my dad descend further into depression and anger around his illness. It is not an easy time. It is, surprisingly, the best time to reconnect with those that inspire me most. I am very blessed to know some witty, outrageously kind people and I have much to learn from them. My friends remind me it is fun to be sassy, but it is as important to be kind. For that, I thank them.
I am an emotional person. Folks at work say I take things too personally, and my loved ones at home are used to my tears (of both happiness and sadness). This is a blessing during the good times, and a curse during the difficult ones. I spent most of my 20's in survival mode after a chaotic childhood. My survival mode followed the ethos of when the going gets tuff, the tuff go clubbing. My 30's have been about hard work - getting myself through nursing school, starting a career, and being a partner in my marriage. As I succeed in these endeavors, the survivor's guilt that sticks around because of my chaotic childhood and present elder care situation creeps back in. I feel bad celebrating the loveliness of my life, when someone I love still suffers. Guilt reminds me of blackberry bushes. Prickly, overbearing, and hard to ignore when you step into the middle of it. You need leather gloves and a lot of time to pull that weed out of your garden. Plus, in order to rid it totally, you have to pull it out by the root. That is where the lesson of the Grown Folks comes into play.
The Grown Folk is an individual who celebrates all the good in her, and keeps pulling at the roots of the bad stuff. She is a woman who celebrates her friends successes, and does not envy. She is a friend who protects those she loves when they are raw. She is a daughter who extends her helping hand, as long as it is not bitten. She is a sister who offers love in the form of guidance, not in the form of enabling. Being a Grown Folk is not an easy task, made even harder when the roots of guilt still exist, and the temptation to fall into sullenness or depression lingers loudly in the corner. The perks of being a Grown Folk are noteworthy however. Music sounds sweeter because of the memories associated with it. Love tastes stronger, because of the bonds that are formed with it and the good times are so much better, because of the friends you share them with.