Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Surviving Christmas Post Workplace Abuse: The First "Memory" Gift


Life is all about change.

Whether we like it or not.  Whether we acknowledge it or not.

The world changes as regimes come and go; as technology increases, etc.

The world I grew up in in the 50s no longer exists.

So why should I expect my life to stay the same?  To never change?

In my journey towards recovery post workplace abuse, I've learned not only to lean into the pain but also to embrace the changes.

For example, I no longer feel much excitement towards anything.  As Christmas drew near last year in 2013 there was no excitement.  No interest in joining the mad dash for presents.  Besides, there was no money to be spent on things that would ultimately clutter up a house and be discarded at some point.

So after some discussion with my one daughter, we devised a plan.  Give a gift that counts.  A memory gift if you will.  For my daughter and son-in-love, it was a child free day.  For my other daughter, it was a clean(er) house plus a carriage ride at Niagara on the Lake with her niece and nephews.  For the grands, it was the carriage ride to Niagara on the Lake with their Aunty (whom they love).  For me, it meant not having to endure the mobs at the mall and having a bonding experience with my grandchildren.  Also a picture taking spree.  A win-win situation for all.

As usual, mandatory camera went with.

It was a grey day, but not a cold one, despite the snow you see on the ground.  Except for the lack of sun, it was a perfect day for a carriage ride along the quaint streets of Niagara on the Lake.  Something none of us had done before.

Our first "memory" of the trip was a stop at a donut shop en route.  Me before me, decided to act as commander in chief of the "troops", I commanded the children to follow me and started marching towards the entrance of the shop singing Scotland the Brave.

My daughter began laughing uncontrollably.  The three children had lined up in single file and followed me - marching.

Arriving at Niagara on the Lake, we were plenty early so we scoped out the scene and then separated.  The boys went with their Papa (whom they adore); the granddaughter went with her Aunty; and I got me time.  To walk around, explore, and take pictures.

Arriving back where the horses and carriages congregate, we regrouped, found our carriage and driver and climbed in.

Now it might seem that I am favouring two of the children above the third in the pictures, but the truth of the matter is that one grandchild was nestled quite cozily beside Papa on the seat I was in.  The others were in front of me, directly in camera sight.  So I got to enjoy the carriage ride watching them enjoy the carriage ride.

After the carriage ride was a mandatory cup of hot chocolate for all.  We did lose one member of the family, Papa, and after a while I went out to find him and corral him.  But that only adds to the memories, the uniqueness of the day.

Our next stop was just down the street several miles:  Niagara Falls.

By then it was getting late in the afternoon.  The sun was setting.  But it was still an enjoyable time.

We wandered down to a spot where we could see the falls.  I took pictures (duh!)  while the children enjoyed the falls.

Next stop:  supper at a restaurant on Clifton Hill.

I was determined to make this trip last as long as possible so that the parents could have as nice a gift as possible.

Finally, it was time to go home.

For me, some of the nicest memories are watching how the grands interacted with each other and the adults around them.  Seeing the small hands in Papa's or Aunty's bigger ones.  Trusting.  Happy.

Watching the various personalities unfold.  The demure little girl isn't so demure after all when she's throwing snowballs at her brothers - or chasing after them.

The two older grands following their younger brother and aunty hiding behind poles on the way to the hot chocolate place.

The way they chose their meals at the restaurant and communicated not only with us but with the server.

Watching the grands grow up and develop and seeing them as the individuals they are.

Watching their wonder at the things they were experiencing and seeing.

These are all priceless.  They cannot be bought at a store.  The memories will never entirely leave them - or me for that matter.  Not as long as I have the pictures, that is.

As the Christmas season of 2014 was approaching, rather than stressing over what I no longer have, I was realizing what I do have and how priceless it is.

It is time now to close this post with a few last pictures of that memorial day and the thought that while I lost a lot because of the workplace abuse, I also am gaining a lot in the process of recovery.  Things I would never have gotten otherwise.

Among them, the realizing that relationships, especially those with the people closest to you, are what matters.  Not what others on the periphery i.e. workplace of your life think.

Until my next post ....

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