How do you see yourself? Not just looking in the mirror or a reflection in a window, but how do YOU see you, the person? I’ll bet it’s not as others do.
As a child, I was expected to help the young ones get changed after swimming in the sea, towelling them dry, and then getting them dressed without getting sand in their underwear or socks. It didn’t matter that I was actually only a few months older than they were.
A friend of my mother’s said that if ever she was feeling ‘down’ she only had to think of me and she’d smile. Apparently she saw me as a breath of fresh air, always cheerful, and always thinking of other people.
I lived in a small village for a few years and although no-one knew my name, they recognised me as the girl who played the piano in the pub sometimes.
I’ll help someone cross the road, hold a door open for an harassed mum or OAP, and if someone’s having a problem reading a label or unable to reach something on a higher shelf in the supermarket, I’ll help out if I can.
I remember an electrician working in my old firm and as I made the tea for my office colleagues, I found out his name, his age, where he lived, how long he’d been married, how many kids he had, where he used to live and how long he’d been doing that particular line of work. That ties in with my previous boss who described me as a ‘People Person’, as I have a genuine interest in what they have to say. On top of that, they seem to actually like to talk to me, even if I’m a complete stranger.
I was in the queue at McDs last week and a Mum was alongside me. She was about 25-30 years younger than me, and had 2 kids. Her young daughter was quite happy holding her balloons, whilst her son (I’d guess about 3) was rolling around on the floor with a face like a squashed prune as he wailed and flailed for attention. She looked at me, so I said ‘What can a Mum do?’ to which she replied ‘Ignore him’. I then said ‘Good for you. I’m on your side so don’t hold it against you!’ to which she visibly relaxed having probably thought I saw her as a bad mother. Kids can try your patience, and if they’re not doing that, they’re pitching one parent against the other. Thus speaketh a woman with no kids. Ah, yes, but I DID bring up a young family having to sort out divorcing parents with the kids’ best interests at heart, I have a variety of nieces and nephews who I babysat, and I fostered teenagers for four years. My nieces in particular think I’m mad (must have been all that beef as a kid) and the children I had in my care told all their friends I could get a splinter out of their finger without hurting them, which was a big bonus.
My adult cooking efforts have met with mixed reviews, though hubby eats practically anything I put in front of him and says he loves my cooking. A clean plate every mealtime speaks volumes. My first mother in law, bless her, said of my victoria sponge cake that it ‘Wasn’t bad’, then spoilt the compliment by adding ‘ considering you made it.’
More recently, I was asked by my father in law to bake a cake for a charity event on his behalf. I made a gingerbread, which was promptly swiped by mother in law for herself, and she gave him £5 to put in the collecting box instead. When my hubby went up to visit, she asked if he’d like a piece of gingerbread, then gave him a slice of a shop bought one, saying that the ‘homemade stuff was too good for him’.
They loved me at work when it was my birthday because I baked cakes for the office…… actually the complete workforce as I had dealings with all departments. When we had our monthly charity event, I baked, raising over £85 from their donations, plus the standard collection, both of which the company matched and my nominated Hearing Dogs for The Deaf received a cheque for £375. I have a lot of time for dogs, think they are highly intelligent and wonderful company, and any Assistance Dog is worth their weight in gold for the pleasure and enhancement they bring to someone’s life.
To the outside world and people who don’t know me then, I hope I come across as an OK kind of person. In summary, people say I’m helpful, considerate to others, good at cheering people up, musical, chatty, understanding of trying children without being judgmental of their parents, can cook, and happy to do my bit for charity.
If asked to describe myself, I say I’m quite tall with long greying hair, wear glasses, a bit on the heavy side and get on better with dogs than people!