I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life that I haven’t been Little Miss Fix It. Even as a child, I wanted to “fix” whatever problem arose. The roots of this are clear to me. Not that I’m “blaming” my parents, but for me, this need to fix things came from playing peacemaker before their divorce and then during the rocky time after their divorce. I think a lot of first born, divorced kids probably fall into this role. For better or for worse, I am Little Miss Fix It.
When there was a problem with my sister. I got the call. When there was a problem with my father. I got the call. If there was a problem with my mother. I got the call. And, I always went. Dropped everything and went. Drove across country a time or two, but I always went.
I have mixed emotions about being the family Little Miss Fix It. I know that the curve balls I’ve been thrown have made me a kick ass woman. I know I can deal with just about any situation given to me. And BELIEVE ME, I’ve had some situations in my short life that if you would have told me 15 years ago I’d have to deal with I’d never have believed you. The responsibility has made me motivated, driven and goal orientated.
On the other hand, it can be a very lonely place. The people around you assume that because you have handled so much and have been successful that you don’t need the encouragement, the “how are you REALLY doing” questions, or even to ask me, “Can I help YOU with anything.” Even Little Miss Fix It needs the out of the blue, “You’re doing a great job” to help them keep going. Just because it’s perceived that we don’t need as much help and can handle everything know that we get worn out too.
Being Little Miss Fix It is also hard when there are situations that no matter what you do you cannot change the outcome. It can’t be fixed. I couldn’t fix my Dad’s cancer. No amount of phone calls, knocking on doors or bargains could have fixed the outcome. It is a hard pill to swallow. A very hard, bitter pill indeed.
I’m thinking about this need to fix things tonight because my Mom is sick. She’s been sick all week. It started with a sinus infection that her meds didn’t take care of and now she is pretty weak. I hate this helpless feeling of not being able to fix her. Even though I know we will see a doctor tomorrow, my imagination runs wild with, “What if I can’t fix this either? What if it is something major and I have missed it–AGAIN?”
I’m happy to have Mom living with us. But, I do find myself watching everything she does so very closely to make sure she is “normal” and healthy. I live in fear of another “I can’t fix it moment” with a parent. I guess I will probably do that for some time.
Being a part of the sandwich generation brings on a whole host of fears and new problems that I never thought of when it comes to taking care of a parent. So, if you know a “Little Miss Fix It” take some time and reach out to them. Tell them they are doing great. Ask them if they need anything. Send them a little happy out of the blue. Believe me, they will appreciate the gesture more than you will ever know.