Monday, 25 June 2007

Leaving - originally posted 21st April

That's it - my last day at the nursery over. Although I know it was the right decision to make it was still so hard leaving. It has been wonderful this month not having to constantly check my bank balance and think "can I really afford to buy this?" (which was usually food - food intolerences make food shopping expensive!) I had also come to realise that out of this move I was being presented with the opportunity to go home and heal the issues I have related to home life and my past. All of that made this decision feel like the best one. And yet, saying goodbye to my babies and their parents yesterday was so hard - I felt sick and shaky and I still do! I have only been at the nursery 5 months but that is a long time in baby years - I have seen so much and I am going to miss so much, even if I manage to get back to see them (which I sincerely hope I do!) I'm so glad my parents are coming to pick me up today - otherwise I'd not have something to focus on today and would be completely lost!

I feel so blessed to have had these 5 months at the nursery. However hard it has been, however ill and exhausted I have been, I know that I have done a good job and I have made so many friends. Each time I do something like this I get attached and it hurts because I now have people I miss all over the world! But at the same time I feel so very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people! Naturally I will miss some of the babies and parents more than others - but thankfully they have given me contact details so I can keep in touch :o)

I know I have made the right decision - I know that I could have stayed where I am now and workd hard and made a difference, but I wouldn't have had much of a life for myself. I know that going home gives me the chance to regroup, sort out my finances and create an even better opportunity where I can utilise all my skills and be more financially stable. I just don't know exactly how yet. I'm working on it and I have some ideas I'm going to pursue - but right now I'm just adjusting to the fact that I am now unemployed, going back to live with my parents and won't see my babies every day anymore! It's going to take a while!

Presents - originally posted 19th April

One of the parents at work gave me a card yesterday with a picture of her little boy in. Oh, how I love that little boy, and this was the perfect gift! The card said that if I ever wanted to see him again I was very welcome to go visit him at home - how lovely! His address was attached, so I might just have to keep in touch :o)

It always amazes me how much I doubt myself and the difference I make until someone tells me - and this is usually when I am leaving! It happened in Germany - I was worried the whole time I was there that I wasn't doing a good enough job and yet when I left everybody had nothing but praise to say to me in thanks. It happened again when I worked at the opticians. I think this is the first job I've had where I really never doubted my ability... it's incredible what a difference following your heart makes, isn't it? I have no doubt about what I want to pursue next - my choice is made upon following something which makes my heart sing and my spirit soar! I know I am extremely talented in what I want to do. I also know that what everyone else seems to think I should do would make me entirely unhappy and doubt my ability again. This is perhaps one of the biggest lessons I've learnt in my life - although I can do something it doesn't mean that I should.

So, by following my heart, I no longer need the recognition of my worth but that doesn't mean it isn't wonderful to receive it anyway! The card I received yesterday, the fact that people keep telling me they'll miss me, the insistence that we go out and do something to mark my leaving - all these gestures are happily and gratefully received! How very lucky do I feel right now?!

Letting go - originally posted 16th April

I've found myself in a place I have never truly allowed myself to be as an adult - letting go of looking after others to look after myself! Since starting uni at 18 I have worked as a careworker (mostly voluntary up until the past few months) looking after disabled teenagers, elderly residents in a care home and babies and young children. Even before going to uni my "need" to look after people caused me to put everybody before myself - this was something I prided myself on so much! And yet, I was never truly happy, because I never looked after myself or "allowed" myself to be cared for. There was a fear that I would take too much, would be seen as lazy or uncaring if I didn't act a certain way and although I care/d for others out of a desire to, the extent to which I did so was spurred on by fear! Essentially, my care and love was tainted by jealousy and anger! I guess it is really no wonder I was always so torn and depressed!

I am suddenly making changes in my life that I never thought I'd be able to take and feel peaceful about. I no longer feel the "need" to work in the care-environment to feel good about myself. I *know* I am a loving, caring and helpful person - that doesn't mean I need to put others before myself all the time. I'm also making changes in the time I spend online - at first the internet was a place for me to meet friends - then I began to take on responsibilities that, at the time, helped me to grow. Now I feel is the time to let them go - I have given of my time and energy happily until recently but now it is too much and I need to honour that! I am completely committed, devoted even, to going home and healing my issues - looking back to see what I have learnt, meditating on where I am now and where I am going and really healing the pain I have felt and caused... it is going to be tough and something I ran away from 7 months ago but which I now feel ready to do - I actually feel peaceful about it...

It's strange that, although I adore the babies I work with and although I adore helping others, right now I feel all is perfect and leaving these things behind is exactly as it should be. I am a firm believer in everything happening at the right time and I truly feel as if this is where I am meant to be...

I expect tears, I expect anger, I expect pain... too many years of suppressing them is bound to bring them up once I open the valve I closed them behind. And yet, I know that releasing all of that will make room for joy, happiness, peace and health.

I'm feeling very philosophical today...

How old? - originally posted 14th April

We had a funny conversation at work today.

We were discussing how old we thought people were and one of my co-workers told me she thought I looked 19. I pointed out that seen as though I spent 4 years at University this would be completely impossible! But regardless of that I found it interesting that she thought I was younger than I am.

Most of the people I have met online have said at one time or another that they were shocked to find out how "young" I am. I must come across as being older than I am for some of them even had me in my 30s! Yet in "real life" people always seem to think I'm far younger than I am - I was even asked for ID at my Sixth Form Prom (bearing in mind the school had signed a form saying we were all old enough to legally drink!)

I can understand why the girls at work think I'm younger than I am - as an unqualified assistant working in a nursery where the majority of the staff are between the ages of 17 and 20 it's only natural to assume that I am the same age. The people who are older than that are either much older (say by 20 years) or are in higher positions and so it is obvious they are older (as in they must have done more training!)

But it's interesting how I feel "old" at the nursery - compared to feeling "young" most the time. You see, many of my close friends are older than me. My best friend is in her 50s. Many of those I love are in their late 30s early 40s. So, normally, I feel very young.

So this got me to thinking... people often say that when they were young 35 seemed "ancient". For some reason I never really took age that much into account when I thought of "old". To me - if you had grey hair and were a grandparent, you were old lol! I'd never come across a Grandparent without grey hair and if you had grey hair but weren't a Grandparent - well you were still old regardless of your actual age!

The only time age came into account was when I distinguished between children and adults. If you were 18 you were an adult. I longed to be 18. Now I wonder why I was so eager to grow up! As a child I thought by 23 I'd be married, have a house and my first kid! Although I still want those things, the age at which it will happen is far less important! In fact, age has become so far from my mind that when people ask me how I old I am I have to stop and really think about it - I know within a couple of years but the exact age I am sometimes loses me for a moment or two - how strange!

It's funny how, as children, age is so important to us. I guess it's because at such a young age a year makes a BIG difference. Once you reach your 20s it's not as big a deal. There's no longer the excitement of "I'm now in double figures" or "I'm a teenager" or later "I'm officially an adult and can do this, this and this!"

My birthday is coming up and as is the pattern of late I haven't got anything planned. I miss those days when the excitement would build up a couple of months in advance. Now life seems to take over and its upon me before I know it! A few years back, in an attempt to regain the "magic" I had a sleepover for my birthday! It was fun - really fun - but it didn't hold the same "awe" as it did when I was 11 and able to have friends stay the night, deciding when we went to bed and what we did before we fell asleep! I do that on a daily basis now LOL

I think I'm rambling and I have lost all sense of where this post was going... it's a funny old thing is age, isn't it!

GLOOP! - originally posted 12th April

We had such a fun day at work today - we made GLOOP!

To the absolute amazement of one of my co-workers and the somewhat bemusement of our babies we had much fun with the cornflour/water mixture that is both a solid and liquid - what JOY!

The funniest part of it all is the fact that muggins here (that'd be me) ended up with more cornflour on her trousers than any of the children did!!

The girls next door decided they hadn't quite had enough mess for one day and went for the additional baked-bean play. One catering-sized tin of baked-beans (enough to feed an army it seemed), 8 babies stripped to their vest and covered in art-aprons made for 5-year-olds (sleeves rolled over 7 times or more lol) later and messy-play began. Half an hour more - some VERY messy babies and yet another half hour and a whole pack of dishcloths soaked in hot water and sanitizing spray and messy-play was over just in time for tea!

We like to make a mess, we do!

The Good and the Bad of it... originally posted 11th April

Today's been one of those days where it's been both really good and really bad - do you know what I mean?

I've still got a headache I've had since Sunday - so there have been times today when the babies' crying has really grated! And yet, there was also an hour when all our babies were either asleep or out on a walk with some of the other nursery assistants - so that was the good part!

Then this afternoon one of our babies had a temperature of 39.2 - this was the same one who had a temp. of 40 last week! It's a nasty bug that's going round and he looked so poorly. It's so hard when they are that hot 'cos you just want to comfort them and yet you don't want to hug them too much as you're trying to bring their temp down to a safer and more comfortable level... I don't envy the parents at those times - it's hard enough just being the hired help!

And just as I was leaving one of the babies pushed another one over who hit her head on a piece of furniture, leaving a lovely dint (and bruise-to-be) on her forehead and making her gums bleed! Poor darling!! So, yeah - it was one of those days!!

And yet - the good part (for me) was that I got to leave at 5:15, with the sun still shining and sit in Anna's garden on her new bistro chairs enjoying the evening sun, talking to the neighbour about the chickens and tickling Smith (the cat) whilst the rest of the nursery were having a meeting. The perks of leaving - no more unpaid, 2-hour-long meetings starting at 6:30pm!! Whoo hoo! Although I can't help but feel a little bad for those stuck at work still!

I also got to show Anna some of my ideas for my "business" and she was so excited about it. She really loves what I have come up with and has told me to get going with it NOW and that she wants "one of these, and one of these... oh and I really want one of those!" Talk about encouragement!! **does a little happy dance**

So today has been both good and bad - in pretty much equal measure... I can live with that!!

The Kindness of Strangers - originally posted 10th April

People are so sweet and wonderful I cannot help but feel blessed to know so many of them! Sure, there are people I don't get along with and those I find irritating at times (and I have no doubt I irritate them too lol) but more often than not it's the kindness of friends and strangers alike which touches my heart and makes me feel so good to be alive!

There is a man who works in the hospital food court who clears the tables and always has a kind word to say to the doctors, nurses and patients eating there, not to mention the catering team! (For those of you who don't know, the nursery I work at is situated on the hospital grounds). Each day I'll see him somewhere and occasionally we'll stop and have a quick natter. He once told me he saw me waiting at the bus stop and was going to come and talk to me but saw I was with friends and didn't want to intrude - bless him.

Today I saw him again and he told me that each time he sees me I brighten up his day. "How do you do that?" he asked me. "How is it that just seeing you, always looking so cheerful, makes me feel happy?" Awwwww shucks - I didn't quite know what to say to that. I told him that unfortunately he wouldn't be seeing much of me soon because I'm leaving to go back "up north". He asked me if it'd be ok for him to buy me a little gift and a card - how very sweet of him!! I only know him in passing!

But this just reminds me of all the times complete strangers have helped me out too. Once, as I was travelling back through London with a great big rucksack on my back, a complete stranger offered to pay for my chocolate bar when I realised that the little cafe at King's Cross was far too expensive and I only had enough money to buy the essential bottle of water with. He simply put his hand in his pocket, held out a handful of coins and said "take what you need!" Kind doesn't even begin to explain how wonderful a gesture that was!

Another time I was travelling by train with my mum and she was really panicked that we wouldn't make it on time as the ticket queue went on forever. I told her not to worry - we'd be ok. Then, the lady in front of us told us we could go in front of her, cutting our waiting time just enough to give us time to buy our tickets and get a seat on the train without running for it!

I could go on... but you get the picture!

It's this kindness of strangers that inspires me to go that extra mile to be there the best I can for my friends and try to offer at least a smile to those I meet. I may not always succeed - but it feels just as good to give as to receive and it's always worth the effort! Sometimes I doubt myself and the difference I make by being me and doing my best - and then suddenly something like the conversation I had with this man today happens to remind me that I do make a difference - even differences I am unaware of!

How wonderful to know that the actions we take can affect those around us in such wonderful ways! I am feeling very blissed out this evening - I hope you are too!

A Country Dream - originally posted 9th April

I've always wanted to live in the country. As a child I dreamt of perhaps marrying a farmer - until my dad pointed out that there was no way I would be able to deal with rearing animals to then use for food!! It's not that I have anything against eating meat - I eat it myself sometimes! It's also not that I have anything against the farming process - I LOVE farms! It's just that I would get far too attached to the animals themselves to ever eat the meat produced by them. I can't help it - I get attached far too easily!! But I digress...

I always loved the country. To me it speaks of family, life, and friendship. I think of sunny days, babbling brooks and fields of wheat and barley! And the country kitchen with the smell of baking bread and vegetables from the garden lying on the table waiting to be turned into a feast. Ahhhhh how I love the country - and how I long for a country life!

Of course, I know this is a dream - and there are downsides to living in the country - but my heart still longs for that life. And the other day I felt like I was truly home, even though we are living in town. I was sat at Anna's and she had her mother and sister-in-law visiting from Sweden. Oh how I loved to listen to them chatting away - I even understood a few words - but that's another digression!

We sat in the garden, listening to the birds chirping and singing in the trees, saw the squirrel come running along the fence to sniff us out and see what we were doing in his garden! We washed the blanket from Smith's house (Smith is a stray cat who is extremely fat from all the scraps he eats and lives in a two-bed bungalow - namely an old rabbit hutch - in Anna's garden). Then, as the sun went down we put the girls next door (the chickens) to bed and then sat around the table eating a feast of cheese, salad and fruit! Yum!

I love those kinds of meals - where you sit and chat leisurely, helping yourself to the goodies piled high in the centre of the table. As a picky eater (post eating-disorder of sorts and present sufferer of IBS) I much prefer being able to choose my food than have it placed on a plate in front of me. And I just find it much more homely to help yourself - having food served up is kinda like being in a restaurant to my mind lol

So this weekend I got a little taste of the country in the city! How wonderful it was and how my soul soared! It's back to work tomorrow... maybe I can try and spread some country charm into the nursery ;o)