We develop many skills over the years in whatever work situation we may be in. I have always been a caregiver in some way. For over three decades I have been a family massage therapist, and for two decades I have cared for seniors and the last few years I have worked with dementia patients.
In my work with families I can see how our minds become trapped in a role. Either a role of the parents and expecting them to always be parents or the role of a sibling. Part of working on our spiritual growth is taking a look at our belief system and noticing when there’s an area that needs to be updated. For example when we have parents that are dealing with a condition that affects your ability to make decisions we have to assume the role a parent now and they are sort of like our children. This is a difficult transition as most of us had been admonished to listen and tolerate our parents sometimes to an unhealthy degree.
Recently I had an epiphany. I figured out that we always want our parents to be something we needed when we were a child. First of all is this even a realistic expectation? Second of all, when are we going to lower the veil of the person that we expect to see versus see the person that is actually there? I think it would be a good idea to look at your parents from the perspective of someone who wasn’t related to them, perhaps look at someone walking down the street and looking at your mother or father with the same detachment of expectation that you would with them.
Recently I had an elderly lady who I help care for remark on her marriage and family dynamics. She had many times pointed out to me that her mother was not nurturing or kind and luckily she had a nanny who was. When she had her own children she had a husband who was very nurturing and kind to their children. She said I didn’t mind being the disciplinarian and the person who kept the house in order because I was so happy to see my husband have a loving nurturing relationship with our children and I just stepped aside and let him be the hero. Sure they always thought I was mean or too tough on them but they all turned out really well. I think they had a nice balance of discipline and nurturing I wanted to give them that even though I didn’t have that.
I thought of her later as I was driving down the road and I cried so hard. I cried for all the sadness and misunderstandings that happened in families even though they are struggling to do the best they can with what they have. It is hard to give something that you don’t have or even hope for and never had but it takes a special kind of love to reach highest in any way we can to achieve something close.