August 3, 2015
First of all, thank you to all of you for your well wishes, prayers, and concern following my rough spell in July. I am not aware of whom all helped me, what exactly happened, etc. as that is how it goes for me. Maybe it’s a blessing to forget these things! I remember that for the week before the Fourth of July I could feel something building. I was exhausted, weak, and just kind of not myself. On the Fourth, Ben, Laura, and I came to church to help with the festivities. I kinda knew I should really stay home but I did not listen to that inner voice. I remember feeling super sleepy, like I could fall asleep walking around. I remember being in an unfamiliar truck. Ben tried to fill me in later and it just kind of made me mad, so I am chalking it up. Anyway, thank you to you all. I love you and am so blessed to be surrounded by all of you. My Laura is a trooper, my hero, and enjoyed the party regardless of my trying to spoil the fun. Laura is a strong spirit and has learned that we just go on. I would have had a cow if she missed out because of me.
Also, a quick update on Mom. She is a piece of work and a force to be reckoned with. I am my Mom on a much smaller scale, if you can believe that. She has rallied and is back with us. This was the most unbelievable thing that has happened in my life. Every member of my family was at her bedside at the hospital. That is something that rarely happens, all four kids and our families in the same place at the same time. The other thing is we didn’t kill each other, fight, or get all family dysfunctional. We just kicked in and did what we had to do. Her hospital room was jumping with people, all of us bossin on her like we were in charge. The kids would hug her, sing to her, and make her laugh. Mom didn’t make sense and it looked grim. Now, she is back to being really sarcastic and fairly naughty. Good sign. My Dad is a saint, as is Ben. I hope to get myself in check before I am 88. We shall see. Onward, as I have other ideas for this issue.
My first “real” job out of college was Assistant Director of a hospital-based day care center. My degree was in Human Development and Family Studies and I loved that job. I knew every child on a personal level and would recognize them if I saw them to this day. I have learned not to say anything as it freaks them out. It seems to hit the, now adult, kids as a stalker sort of thing. I have my Director certification and acted as such when my boss was out of the building. One hot, hot summer day a boy fell from the climbing structure on the playground. The teacher rushed him up front to me. I still remember exactly what he looked like. He had big, blue eyes and his pupils were dilated and it was obvious he had a big concussion. My gut reaction was to put him in my car and get him to the Emergency Room. I called his mom and she met me there. Jeez. Stupid. 911. Hello, Erin, you call 911. My way was faster, he was ok, his parents didn’t sue me, we didn’t get into an accident etc…..I saw this kid at a friend’s house. I will never forget that face. He would be at least 25 today and was probably 18 or so the day I saw him. I told him the story and he just looked at me like I was insane. I see “my” kids, now grown with kids of their own, from time to time, but do not say anything to them.
We had an infant room at the Center and it was a blast to watch these kids grow up. I remember one baby that gave us all such joy. I shall call him Bob for now. Bob was a huge baby, always smiling, and all of the other babies seemed to respond to him in a magical way. We all called him “Bubba.” One day his mom pulled me aside and asked me to stop calling him that. He was referring to himself as such and that worried her. She did not want him to be judged on his size, nor to judge himself. Self-esteem is something we build in our children, they are not born with it. I really felt so badly for having done anything to judge the child and understood the mom’s concerns. I learned a lot through that experience about myself. I learned that it is hurtful to judge, even in the case of that baby.
So, shift gears to present day. I have a handicapped license plate. It took me a while to be brave enough to get it, not wanting to have people judge me. It felt like wearing a bumper sticker on my forehead to me. I finally decided it was a good idea and that I would use the special parking when I needed to. Rockies games etc. are necessary as there have been times that by the time it is to go home, I just can’t make it. I also use it if I think I will have an armful of stuff. This is because my balance is off. I drop things all the time. I have broken so many dishes it isn’t funny, spill things, whatever. It is kind of a joke at our house. Anyway, one day I went to Noodles and Company to pick up dinner. I did park in handicapped as I needed to that day. Sometimes I am well enough to walk a mile, some days I am lucky to be dressed and up. So, I went in and got the food and was walking back to my car. I was fumbling with the keys trying to get the right one while holding the food and drinks. There was a man right by me and he did not help me at all. He shook his head and muttered to himself (actually more to me) about my having taken a handicapped spot when I was obviously not handicapped, what a jerk I was etc. etc. I felt the sting of judgement and looked up into his face. He was close enough that we were face to face. It was Bob. It was the baby we had called Bubba. I wanted to explain that I did need the spot, to defend myself, to cry out, “How dare you! You have no clue what my deal is. I know you, I know your family, you should know better.” Instead I dropped the drinks making a giant mess outside my car. No, he did not help me. You have got to be kidding me. I opened my car door and set the food on the seat. I picked up the mess and took it to the trash outside of the restaurant. This whole time his eyes were on me, daggers through my very being. I had changed this kid’s diapers, loved him, protected him, and asked forgiveness for having judged him. Now he stood in judgement, disgusted at my presence. He was this angry man before me, angry at the world and taking it upon himself to judge me. I felt so guilty, so judged, so ashamed. What??? You know, I lost my self- esteem in an instant. Maybe I shouldn’t have parked there. Maybe there was someone else who needed that spot more. Maybe because I can walk fairly well, I had done wrong.
I got back in my car, a lump in my throat, a heavy heart, and no stinkin drinks, and headed home. What a difference that 5 minutes made in my whole state of mind. It affected me deeply and I have thought of it often. I didn’t do anything wrong. He did. I try to remember that you don’t know a person’s deal. You know, everyone has a deal, a story, a life that we cannot see. This includes Bob. I do not hate him for what he did. It did not cancel out the fond memories I have of him as a child. I don’t know what his life is like or why he acted that way. I forgive him, though he was not sorry. I forgive him and know I have done the same. I have judged others based on appearances and probably hurt them. I hope they forgive me.
EMNoller copyright 2015