Make a difference…I suppose that is the biggest reason I chose Social Work as a career path. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to know that when it’s time for my huge Retirement shindig, the folks that get up and do the talking have worthwhile tidbits to say. (Disclaimer to those that need to know: when I say huge Retirement shindig, I mean it better be a BLOW OUT, the party of the YEAR, an affair to which others compare their affairs for years to come! Ha!) But I wanted to know that the days I spend stressed and tired and squirming because I haven’t been able to find a clean bathroom all day would be worth it. At the end of each day, I want to be able to say, “damn girl, you rock, you still got it”. Do I do that everyday? Heck no! But on occasion, there are those opportunities to feel good about something I accomplished. With all of that chatter about how I want to make a difference in this world, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address how all this “making a difference” business effects my family. Am I really making a difference if my family suffers in the long run?
I missed my kiddo’s sporting event today because I got a call that I needed to add one more patient to my schedule because the spouse was put into the hospital unexpectedly, the patient is chair bound, unable to take care of personal needs alone and has been home alone for a few days now. Yikes!
I was so torn. My social-worker-heart-strings were being tugged…but my poor kiddo. If I left work that second I could get to that game perfectly on time; if I went on that extra visit, I would get home late and miss my kiddo. I say I was torn; the “torn” only lasted approximately a nano-second. My immediate answer to my clinical manager, “send me the information as soon as you can so I can get en route”. I let said kiddo know that mama wouldn’t get home in time to get to the game, that I was sorry and that I hate to miss it but I had to take care of my patient. Are you wondering the response? “Love you too and it’s okay”.
After all was taken care of; visit made, family rallied, physician phoned, clinical managers notified, me seatbelted snuggly back into the car to head to yet another patient (they were so close to the area I just couldn’t pass them by when I was going to already miss the kiddo anyway); I had an epiphany. I have poured enough love and time and interest into my wonderful kiddos that one missed event wasn’t going to squash any little hearts.
You just have to pray that you’ve invested enough time in your spouse and children’s lives for their whole hearts to KNOW that you love them more than anything else in the world; to hopefully make it okay that sometimes, as a Social Worker, there may be someone who needs you more than they do in that one specific moment in time.
Am I sad that I missed my kiddos sporting event? Yes, of course. But do I regret missing that sporting event to help that kind soul that needed someone to intervene and show compassion? Not one ounce. Did I make a difference in that life? Yes, I absolutely did.
That simple reply, “Love you too and it’s okay”, made me smile. That simple reply let me know I may be doing something right. Maybe I’m making a difference in both worlds.
Is Social Work easy? Most certainly not. Is Social Work rewarding? Most days. Do I make a difference in the lives of my patients? Some days. Can I picture myself doing anything else? Heck no…unless they could pay me well enough to be a Walmart greeter…I could totally rock that job…as long as I didn’t have to go smile and make nice before I had my coffee. Ha!
I think I may ponder that greeter position until we meet over coffee again. ~paula