I have always been someone who wants to fix things. Not mechanical things you understand - my brain is not orientated to dealing with the nuts and bolts of a bike or an engine. The stuff I like to fix relates more to bad situations and feelings. I hate seeing people upset, angry, sad, frustrated, put upon. I hate it because I've felt it and I also know how it feels when people help you to feel just a little bit better - a hug, a sympathetic ear, a useful phone number, a lift when it's pissing with rain or someone to pack your bags at the supermarket because your baby is screaming and it is quite evident that you are about to scream too because you can't get the Shreddies to fit in the bloody bag and comfort your infant at the same time. I witnessed a beautiful example of this recently as a shopper sat and held the hand of an elderly lady who couldn't remember her pin number and so couldn't pay. It was making her cry because it had happened before and she was embarrassed. And the kind shopper and the shop assistant at the till told the lady it was alright, and it didn't matter - they'd find a way to sort it out, and we all forget our pin number sometimes, because in keeping our details safe we tie ourselves up in ever more complicated knots of numbers and letters and punctuation marks. Bloody banks.
With all of these wonderful vibes going round what I hadn't expected to learn was that there are times when my urge to assist needs to be toned down, and naturally the lesson has come from the wisest people in the house - the children.
Returning home from school one day my daughter told me about something that had happened that seemed unfair to her and so I offered to contact the school. In return I was treated to a good minute of "Whydoyoualwayssaythat?! Aaarrgh!! You're so annoying!!" Turns out that she just wanted to vent, just like grown ups do and (as one of my friends later pointed out) if my husband complained about work, I wouldn't call his boss - so why was I trying to fix every tiny issue the children present? Despite the delivery of her message, what my daughter said made me take stock and so I returned to where she was sat, exasperated at my inability to detect she is growing up, to explain that my being annoying and embarrassing comes from a good place and that I would wait until she asked for my help before volunteering to speak on her behalf; sometimes us parents can't help these things. And she smiled, and wasn't angry any more about what had seemed so unfair during her day, or her annoying mum.
In my rush to fix I had forgotten to listen properly, putting my pants on over my trousers and attaching my cape when I didn't need to come to the rescue. For all the times when I have needed to be on high alert in my life, there are dozens more where I have created more drama than necessary, and where my wanting to be helpful has overshadowed what I'm being told.
So I'm going to try to be more wife and less Wonder Woman, more friend and less Fantastic Four, more mother and less...um a superhero beginning with 'M'....you catch my drift. In doing so, perhaps I'll tune in better to when I'm really needed - I'll hang on to the cape just in case.
Soundtrack: The Theme to Wonder Woman