I just watched a video of a family I used to work for, who, despite what most people think, are very corrupt. I won’t say who they are, or what the video was about, in public, of course. They cheat their employees, as well as the Medicaid system (through which the employees are paid), in so many ways, but the people affected by it either don’t realize it (or if they do, they don’t mind) because of their surface kindness and giving nature, or are too desperate for work to call them out on it; I was part of the latter, and had to deal with this for two years.
I don’t approve of the couple or the way they handle things (and especially not how the wife saw me as someone to take out all her anger on),and I definitely do not miss working 12+ hours every Saturday and Sunday, and 5+ hours at least one other day per week, in the very unhealthy, unsanitary environment. It was literally driving me crazy. In the months before I quit, my mental health was quite possibly the worst it’s ever been.
But what I do miss is the children. I won’t say much about them, because I don’t want anyone to guess who I’m talking about, but those children worked their way into my heart and stayed there, no matter how stressed and crazy and anxious their care made me.
I love and miss them, so much that I just bawled my eyes out watching the video of them. It brought back memories of all the negative aspects: the yelling and cursing when I didn’t do something right, the hounding me for money they had loaned me seemingly with an open and generous spirit, and everything else that was bad about the job. I could never go back to work for that family, but those children… Especially the smallest two (or the two who were smallest, before they adopted another child), who were like my baby sisters. And the boy who I was actually supposed to be taking care of, while in reality I had to care for everyone, sometimes with adequate help, sometimes not – the boy I was hired to take care of, who loved to write stories, play guitar, sing, and was just very cuddly and loving and helpful and funny and… I could go on.
I guess the reason I’m posting this is to say that I was angry at the entire family for a long time. At the thought of my time there, or any of the people, I would clench my fists and burn with inner rage.
But tonight, after watching that video, and remembering again all the good things – one girl drawing me endless pictures, singing and dancing along to Frozen over and over, and always wanting to give me a hug; another listening in rapt attention as I read her My Neighbor Totoro, and then falling asleep with her head on my stomach; another trying his best to play guitar and sing for me, and begging me to join him; another jumping up and down like a little kid when he got excited about something, even though he was a 200 pound teenager – the good things have made me realize that I’m not angry at the children. I still love them as much as ever – maybe even more, now that I’m not working myself to the bone taking care of them. I don’t wish that I’d never had the job. I realized that, while they added an insane amount of stress to my life, they also gave me a lot of love.
What I’m angry at is the couple, the parents, who maintain that they’re nice, loving people, then the wife will go completely off on you for something very tiny, or the husband will act like everything’s fine and then complain about you to someone else later on. And one of their main employees, who treated me like a snotty child – I was the youngest employee, yes, at 20, 21, and 22, but I also have five younger siblings, two of whom are mentally handicapped. I wasn’t stupid, and I knew what I was doing, but she acted like I was just a child getting in the way. Anytime I asked her a polite question, or dared to point out something she was doing wrong, she would go off on me for not minding my own business, not letting her do her job. But of course, the couple we worked for absolutely LOVED her, and she had the seniority element, so I felt I couldn’t talk to them about the issues I had with her.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re angry, that’s fine. Don’t repress it; that can be unhealthy. Let yourself feel it. But – don’t hang on to it and let it fester. When it’s ready to be let go, let it go. Don’t force it or it may come back on even stronger. But if it starts to ebb away, encourage it. Do some introspection, and find out who you’re really angry at and why. Pick out the good things from your experience – things you learned, laughs you had, experiences you would not have otherwise been able to take part in.
That’s what I’ve been doing, and it actually feels very freeing. My heart is opening back up to the children, and I’m remembering the love I had for them that was blocked out by the anger and rage and frustration at their parents and the whole situation.
I apologize if I’m rambling; I just felt like I needed to say this somewhere.
Here I am, in a drawing from one of the kids, with my trademark crazy pink fountain of hair spilling from a hole in my forehead.