As a woman–a mom– I tend to have this ability to try to carry the burden of others on my own shoulders.
My teen has already had a tough year. We have been ’round and ’round with that ridiculous administrator to the point where I am pretty sure I am going to have to either really go off or homeschool. Neither sounds good and both sound like trouble for me. The point is, my son and I talk. He shares with me when he has a problem. Being who I am, I tend to take a bit of that problem, hike it up onto my shoulders and try to carry some of his burden. It is what I do. It is who I am.
My preteen. He is going through something right now that turns me inside out with my desire to fix it. Yet, I have to go against a lot of maternal instinct and let him figure some things out on his own. But when he hurts, I hurt. When he comes to me with a problem or worry, I listen. I try to help. I offer whatever words of advice or comfort that I can and pray that I have done enough to give him strength to stand strong and figure some things out on his own. However, every time he comes to me with a worry, before I know it, I have hiked a little bit of that worry onto my shoulders and try to carry some of his burden. It is what I do. It is who I am.
My daughter. She is just now at that stage where she is learning that not everyone goes to all of the parties. Not everyone will say nice things to her. And the world just isn’t a perfect place. Oh, how I want to shield her and make the world the princess world of her imagination. Right now, when she comes crying to me over hurt feelings, I can wipe away her tears and have her feeling better in no time. Right now, it hasn’t become so heavy that I struggle with her worries. Yet. Though, with every tear drop that falls on my shoulder, I hike up a little bit of that pain onto my shoulders and try to carry some of her burden. It is what I do. It is who I am.
My husband. He is the love of my life. We are partners in this journey of life. I do what I can to help him along in his career, but there isn’t much I can do. Being in management there are times he just comes home stressed and needs to unload. I listen. I offer what minimal perspective I have on the situation and do what I can to at least make his home feel less stressful. Even knowing there is nothing I can do to make anything that has to do with his work better or easier, before I realize it, have hiked a little bit of that worry onto my shoulders and try to carry some of his burden. It is what I do. It is who I am.
I have to be honest, sometimes it gets pretty heavy. My shoulders may sag a bit. My walk may slow down a bit. My energy lagging. It can take it’s toll on how I feel both physically and mentally. But it is what I do. And I know that given a choice, I will always take any burden I can and help carry it for any member of my family.
And then? Sometimes? Sometimes, I get my feet kicked out from under me with my own burdens. My own worries. My own fears. My own tears. My own stresses. Those things alone? Perhaps I could stand up against it, but the weight of all that I carry suddenly feels too heavy and I drop to my knees. Something that is probably nothing brings me to my knees and keeps me there. Immobile. Frozen. Something that may have been taken in stride suddenly scares the wits out me to a point that I shut down.
Share the burden? I can’t. I couldn’t. I won’t. It is silly. They would think I am ridiculous. My fear is unfounded. They have their own worries. My “probably nothing” is not worthy of anyone else’s time or concern. I wouldn’t know what to say. I am not going to bother anyone else with my worries or silliness. I am over reacting and they don’t need my drama. I can do this alone.
Me? Afraid? Of course I am. So much so. But I’d never tell. It is what I do. It is who I am.