Don’t Discount Childhood Baggage-Pack Carefully Thursday, Feb 1 2018 

Back in the days when the Hubs and I were assisting his Mother, I discounted the impact of having spent one’s childhood with the person you are assisting being your ‘authority figure’. While everyone has different types of childhoods, rarely does a child come through their childhood without some emotional baggage that carries over into their playing adult. The Hubs didn’t have much childhood baggage with his Mother (another story with his father, for another time), so we didn’t bump up against many historical emotional issues between him and his Mother while caring for her.   Since she was not my Mother, I carried even less emotional baggage into the situation, as my relationship issues with her started after I was an adult. (Let’s not pretend that all humans have perfect relationships with their parents or mother in law, shall we?) Don’t misunderstand, there was plenty of emotion, but it wasn’t tied to the four year old that resides within us.   You know that child. It’s the flare of anger or other emotion you feel at a basic level when triggered and your adult responses just aren’t available to that inner child.

My relationship with my Mom growing up was rockier than the Hubs with his Mother. While Mom had the best intentions of not allowing her upbringing to impact how she raised me and my brothers, it crept in. I was an only child for 5 years, so I got the brunt of the learning curve.   Before her illness was firmly in place, Mom often referred to me as her practice child and the joke was she improved her parenting skills with my younger brothers. The result of this situation, as my youngest brother and I have discussed, is that I was raised with a different set of the same parents than my brothers were.   And this created for me some emotional baggage that I carry around with me. Like a little emotional suitcase.

This suitcase is not in the forefront of my life and many of the things that I unpacked and allowed myself to react to as a younger person no longer have impact. I was able to let them go.   At times, I even thought I had lost the suitcase. I was wrong. I am finding out, as my Mom progresses down the dementia path and Dad becomes more physically and mentally disabled, that remnants of that childhood suitcase, now pretty tattered, remain deep within me. I feel its weight these days, as I am opening it more often than I should when dealing with my parents. Funny how that happens.

My parents are in their 80’s, live in their home and are basically home bound. It takes a creative balance and effort to keep their household running, their appointments kept, and their medications on schedule. Although I am the primary handler, and the first on the call list, I’ve started enlisting the help of my brothers and the Hubs. I cannot physically do all that is needed to assist my parents. I work a full time job, and live the farthest away from my parents. I’ve also discovered, that emotionally, I cannot always deal with them, as their actions or needs open my suitcase.   The Hubs has stated I am showing increased signs stress which probably adds new levels of packing in my emotional suitcase.

I wonder what baggage my kids carry around, and if they will unpack it when I need help in my old age. I wonder if I will ever be able to discard the suitcase I am shifting back and forth in my grip as I walk this path. I wonder why, when I created this suitcase, I didn’t put rollers on it, so it would be effortlessly dragged behind me or shoved aside.

I wonder what tomorrow holds.

People Hate Change! Get A Grip on Yourselves Saturday, Sep 21 2013 

I am continually surprised at how perfectly fine people think it is ok to rant via email.

When you email a business to complain about something, like a change in product, or something you are not happy about in general, do you not realize that someone at the other end (not management) has to read what you’ve written?  It is someone’s job to respond in a pleasant, professional manner to your completely unprofessional behavior?  Do you think cussing and calling them stupid makes their day?  If you were standing in line at the counter would you act like that or  is it because you are sitting in your living room with your laptop, tablet or phone?  Have some manners people.   I’m not saying you cannot complain, but be constructive.  “IT SUCKS”  doesn’t help anyone solve an issue, if you are indeed even having an issue with who you are complaining about.

The company I work for recently launched a change in its technology platform that impacted its customers.  We had been putting information out there for weeks talking about the upcoming change, letting people know the exact date, because we know that change can be unsettling.  Each customer would need to complete extra security to navigate the site.  And you know what?  Most customers had no problem handling it.  If they hit a slight snag, they called, emailed or actually read the material we had provided and it was solved in a flash.  But some of the low hanging fruit couldn’t handle any part of it and it was obvious they didn’t try.  Those wonderful group of people emailed messages like ‘what idiot made these changes?’ ….’the new site sucks’…”I can’t believe you would block me from access”……”Why didn’t you tell me this was going to happen?” and I am not even listing all the cuss words people did not even pretend to hide with %&$# and so on.  Instead of spending time helping those that needed help, we had to allocate resources to answering emails and calls from people that were just mean, asinine and deliberately abusive.  While we killed them with kindness, what I wanted to say was:   Can you read?  The world doesn’t revolve around you.  You kiss your mother with that mouth?  Is that how your talk to your children?

As technology has advanced I think society has lost touch with how to be polite and respectful.  I am willing to bet that most of the people that emailed in and acted like jerks, would not it if they were they ones being treated they way.  But then again, that type of person does care about others anyway.  When a 73 year old emails in WTF?  you know the world has changed and not for the better.