It’s Not You, It’s Me

How many times have you heard that before? But this time is for real.

I have mentioned in previous posts that my early days with Lia were pretty rough at times. Really rough. But, there were some good times too. Really good. Unfortunately, as is true with most things, the hard times usually have a tendency to be more vivid during recall, depending on your perspective.

For the first three weeks or so, I was never sure I would go back after the end of my shift. I would leave there exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Just when I would think I was done, and had decided to move on, we would have a really “good” day, because good is relative with Lia, and I would decide to give it one more try. Because she needed me, and I was beginning to suspect that the possibility of imprinting wasn’t as crazy as I originally believed it to be.

But this wasn’t a quiet process, not by a long shot. I complained. A lot. And I would complain to anyone who could listen without violating HIPAA. Each time I agreed to accept another shift with her, I did so with martyr-like flourish. And more complaining…

It was a typical work day, and I was psyching myself up to get out of bed and get ready to face the Kraken. That’s when it hit me. I had been looking at this all wrong. Since the day I had made the choice to return to Nursing, and to accept a position in direct patient care – Pediatric patient care no less, and had taken on a patient with severe Autism that was sucking the life right out of me, I could see nothing but problems. Lia was a problem.

That day, I realized Lia wasn’t “a problem”, she was a beautiful little girl with problems. In fact, I finally saw things for what they were – the real problem here was my attitude, and the way I tended to portray myself as the heroic victim dragging her battered body across broken glass to face the beast who was only a beast because of the curse… you know the story.

Apologies were in order. So, I started with Lia. If I remember correctly, it went something like this:
“Hey Girl!”
“A-girl.”
“I owe you an apology.”
(silence)
“I had the wrong attitude about all of this, so I made an attitude adjustment this morning,”
(Crickets chirping)
“Well, now I realize working with you is an opportunity to learn some things, and I almost blew it.”
“Bekka?” – that’s what Lia calls me.
“Yes?”
As she signs for added emphasis, “I wan’ eat.”
“Soon Lia, we’ll eat soon.”

I don’t know if she understood any of it, except for the part about eating, but it had to be said. As much as I would like to say we had a great day that day, we didn’t. But she didn’t break me, and the next day with Lia was awesome.

With my change in attitude, came a change in perspective, and, over time, I noticed a change in our relationship. It was like we had turned a corner, so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, we still had, and continue to have, our “moments” but changing the way I respond has worked wonders. Now, the “good” days are a bright ray of sunlight shining through the dark ones.

Today’s lesson: If there seems to be a problem, start by checking YOUR attitude first, and then try viewing it from a different perspective. And for added inspiration, this little prayer comes to mind:

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can and
Wisdom to know the difference
Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time

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