My daughter climbed off the bus a few years ago, dragging a heavy school bag, tears in her big blue eyes. "what's wrong?" I asked [we all know better than to ask, but we do anyway] "the kids on the bus are mean, and the bus driver doesn't help, and and and..." Familiar words. Thirteen years before, my older child, a son, grown and married now, had said the same thing. Some things you can fix, some things you can't, some things fix themselves if you stay out of it. Parents always feel, from some childhood hurt, that they can fix things. Their parents should have and didn't, so for this child of their own, they will do something. Trust me, bad feelings today are gone in another day or week...sometimes, its our OWN kid who isn't adjusting, sometimes we have to let it lay, and bide a wee, and our own child figures it out. They have to deal with people like this all their lives, the jerks, the creeps. Where do these jerks and creeps go? They grown up physically, but mentally they will always be jerks, creeps bullies, cheats...just in grown up bodies. Still, in our lives, we feel we have to help. Or at least some of us do. And this is for you. All of you who have a need to be someones white knight. For anyone who, knowing something was going to be too hard for them to do, but did it anyway and took the physical stress and emotional pain, laugh about it with me now, if you can. For, if you had an urge to, or did, intervene for a kid of yours, then, you are or have been a candidate for the White Knight Trophy, the order of the insane, needing to be on prozac or valium, as you more than likely have, or will at a future time, take on the hardest job of your life. Flipping positions with an Elderly Parent.

If you were not an only child, the odds are regardless of the number of kids in your family, that you will be the designated care giver. Its more likely if you were the one child that left home rather early to "get away". You may even have been the one that the parent needing help didn't seem to like as much as the other one, or rest, depending on family size. And, even though you did that, and this parent was glad you left, everytime you did anything, you proabably called home, or wrote and let them know you were sucessful. Regardless of how minor the success is. In any case, at some point in time, it will be that same parent who needs care, and who will be the designated care giver? Oh, the others may try for a bit and find it draining. And, driven by whatever feeling you can call it, but bringing it down to a sense of guilt at some level, or being made to feel guilty for ditching out early, it will be you who provides those final arms. The strength you developed being more or less "on your own" will just almost help you with the task at hand. Almost, not completely, because, no matter what else you may have done in your life, this is the hardest thing you will ever do. First we have the trouble of settling just who is in charge. Don't forget, as a parent, this mom or dad you are caring for, installed all your buttons and knows where they are and how to press them. Don't fall for this tactic. Don't give in to demands, don't be manipulated with your feelings, don't cater and make them more dependant, you WILL regret that. Someone has to take charge and it can't be the Patient. Don't let a small dictatorship/insurrection take place. Remember, this isn't a tv show, this is 24-7. Life as you knew it is already over. You may have raised your children already and looked forward to vacations and travel and free time, only to now find yourself looking once more for appropriate sitters so you can go grocery shopping or to eat out and take in a movie, and there you are in your fifties doing this.

It seems unfair sometimes.