Holidays, Family, Stress! Stress! How to Cope

This post was written by Valerie on December 14, 2011
Posted Under: Grandma Quotes

Holiday Stress/Fun and Broke

Holidays, family feuds, not enough money and stressing out for the upcoming gathering of family, friends and all those bills. I don’t know about you but I really love the holidays. I love being with my family and buying presents.  I still have a limited income and lots of grand kids not to mention family. I would love to give something to all the neighbors, the mailman, the newspaper delivery person (every year leaves a card for me to fill with money) as well as all the special people that help me throughout the year like the lady at the Rite Aide Pharmacy in Carlsbad..Sharon and Eva at Dr. Craig’s dental office in Vista.

I recently attended an event for all the former or some current women that have worked at the Carlsbad Unified School District and Mira Costa College. Women that helped me find summer work when school was out that kept my family and I fed back in the early ’70s. All amazing women. Women I have not seen in about 15 years yet they seemed like we just started up conversations right where we left off when last we met. These are women that volunteer at the Carlsbad Senior Center to help others. Women that are the kindest and most giving I have ever met. I wish I had the money to give each of them something as special as they are. Maybe these words will help because without them I would have been homeless. My first job with the Carlsbad School District was to teach pottery to the kids at La Palma Continuation High School. The secretary for that school now lives in Tustin and helps out at their Senior Center and she is just as beautiful now as she was in 1974. Meeting with all of them helped me cope with the same stresses they are dealing with like limited income and family gatherings and how fast the time as past and keeps flying by.  Also there is the women, Darlene and Joanne her husband Rich that got me a janitor job one summer when I was still nursing my daughter Chelsea.

Darlene called me to tell me there was a summer job opening as a janitor. I did not think I could get that job as they had never hired a woman before in that role. But Darlene convinced me that I could replace a one armed janitor and Title IX was in place protecting women workers. So I got the job. I did not have a sitter so Darlene got Joann to babysit for me. I remember that the other janitors were so mad that they had to “clean up their girlie pictures” in their locker that every afternoon just before I came on duty they filled all the trash cans with books that needed to be emptied. I struggled with even dragging the cans filled with the books so instead I hand carried as many as I could to the dumpster until I could lift the trash can. They did other things to me too but eventually the male janitors accepted me and respected me after the job ended in September when I could go back to my regular job.

One of the best coping strategies I can think of is to look back at your hardest times even though you are in hard times now and remember what you came through to get to where you are today. Remember the worst holiday gatherings and laugh at the weird in-laws and the awkward pauses when gifts were opened and their jaws dropped–and not with excitement! Laugh. Laugh at all the times you avoided a heart attack  when those credit card bills showed up and your vow to not do that again only to have higher bills the next year. This year will be no different. The bills will arrive but the joy from your grandchildren’s smiles and the love you feel is worth it.  Life is worth it. The world is in hard times and there is always someone worse off than you.

Right now I worry about my neighbor of 30+ years who has had numerous complications from a surgery that almost two weeks now is still in the hospital. I wish is she is home for the holidays. I just came from the gym after swimming and feeling pretty low with my son still missing, still not found a job and my worry about how we are going to have enough money to live out our lives and then I thought it could be me in that hospital and here I am able to look out at the lagoon and see the ocean glistening and the birds flying around chasing after a hawk. I thought I just got to see that and it was wonderful.

Living is wonderful and if you don’t have your health you have your fun memories and pull them off your mind’s shelf and remember all that is and has been good in your life and tell stress to jump into the ocean. Then sit back and smile that the sun is out and life goes on.




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