I started this group thinking I had things to teach the moms. Sage advice to dispense, pearls of wisdom to strew about and so on. Yoda, without the ears.
Turns out – not so much with the Jedi-like teaching, and more with the bumbling learning.
I’ve had to practice caution, open-mindedness, boxing refereeing, hugging, biting my tongue, speaking my mind. Also, toddler Afrikaans.
I’ve had to learn that even though I’m not religious, and if I’m honest it makes me uncomfortable, many of our moms have very strong faith and if it helps them, it has to be good for them. I have to accept it and work with it.
I’ve had to learn to make a spectacle of myself – phoning up perfect strangers, speaking in public, being pushy, generally making a nuisance of myself. Comforting those who hurt. Hugging – did I mention the hugging? For a painfully shy, reclusive hermit such as myself, this has been huge. Think of a “people person”. Now think of the exact opposite of that. That’s me, right there. Spinster cat lady, without the cats.
I’ve had to learn that I don’t have all the answers. Or any of the answers, really. Just a willingness to muck in and try things; I’ve got that, for what it’s worth.
I’ve learnt about different cultures and learnt to work within them, rather than try and change them. There’s My Way AND The Highway. Either way gets you to the same place, eventually.
I’ve been shown that my life has been extremely, mysteriously and maybe unfairly blessed.
I’ve been reminded that people are just people – no matter their circumstances. A messy mashup of good intentions & selfish desires, subconscious influences and stuff we do without ever realising why. Nobody is all good or all bad, we’re all something in between.
I’ve seen that there are some really unpleasant people around and it’s completely okay to put them in their place. Nice is not always necessary.
I’ve learnt that sometimes there aren’t any answers at all, no WHY, no silver lining and everything truly sucks. At those times, you just have to take each second as it comes and get through them one at a time.
Most of all I’ve learnt that everybody has their own story and deserves a chance to tell it.
Turns out my job is not to fix anybody. It’s to let each of our moms find a way to tell their own story proudly, and make it work for them.
And yes, thank you, I’ll take some wine with that cheese.