Updated: May 19, 2019
When I started this blog, I thought I would spend more time looking back and reflecting. The GSL of yester-year. I've found my thinking is drawn to tomorrow and all the possibilities.
All the improvements are tomorrow; all the hardships and errors are yesterday. As we grow we learn (or is it the other way around?). I can honestly say the history of GSL could probably be a book of how-not-to-start an enterprise; what not to do and how to avoid a lot of pain. I had a little giggle at a statement in the book I'm currently reading: 'please attribute all the wise advice to the clever people who came before me. As for anything that is ridiculously stupid. That's probably mine and I apologise in advance.'
Last Sunday morning, Rudolf and I were chatting and enjoying a coffee. It was Mother's Day so we were talking about the kids and how they've grown. Of course, there was a healthy dose of parental pride in there. As it always does, the conversation drifted; the other kids we care deeply about (those who live with GSL) and what's going on in their life in response to it being Mother's Day. It's not that Mother's Day is such a big deal really, it's more the emotions this day of the year can evoke. We spoke of the trauma and pain some might be feeling, and that took us back to reminiscing about some of the earlier crises we'd attended and tried to resolve. In early days, Rudolf and I were constantly being called out on crisis response.
One particular evening, after I'd just finished work, I was called to help with a young woman who was having a major meltdown. She was damaging property, hurting the person who was supporting her and now she'd taken off down the street. I attended and we worked to keep everyone and everything safe for three hours. I was exhausted and by the end of the meltdown so was our young person. She was teary and profusely apologetic. We loved her better, telling her how much we still cared about her. We made our way to her room and got her ready for bed. She made promises of never doing what she'd done again. We knew she wouldn't be able to keep this promise, so we said how proud we were that she was trying. She lay in bed and wept, and we comforted. Finally she went off to sleep.
I left. I called the kids to tell them I was on my way home and I learned that Rudolf had been called out on crisis response as well. I asked the kids if they were OK, and of course they said yes. As I was driving home I received a call from Rudolf. Could I come help. The young person had trashed the house, upset all the neighbors and then had taken off. It was dark and I felt fear wash over me. Where could he be? For a person who is not a friend of the dark to run into it, he must have been very distressed.
I let the kids know I was helping Dad and diverted. By the time I arrived there were a number of police cars roaming the local streets helping us find our young person. He was fit, and he was a runner. He could be just about anywhere. I started to walk the streets looking into neighbors gardens, when I received a call from Rudolf. He was found. I ran back to my car and drove to the scene. There was our young person in the back seat of a police car, distressed, unable to process what anyone was saying to him and trying to pull down the lining of the interior of the car. He unexpectedly leapt out of the car, and took off again.
We all dispersed. Rudolf jumped in my car and we headed in the direction of the highway with a sense that he could have headed that way. We were right. As we approached slowly behind, there he was, running aimlessly in the dark down the middle of the highway. At that time of night, there were very few cars on the road. I stopped briefly to let Rudolf out, and then travelled slowly behind them with my hazard lights on trying to prevent an accident.
Rudolf jogged up next to our young person, kept pace and then tried to slow their pace. Our young person responded. The police arrived and helped. It seemed that at this point our young person's fear was dissolving and the crisis was coming to an end. Rudolf accompanied the young person into the back of one of the police cars and they took them home. Again, the young person was teary, remorseful and hating on himself for the events of the evening. Rudolf soothed, assured and comforted. He put our young person to bed and said everything would be better tomorrow. It's a new, fresh day; everything starts over.
Rudolf and I arrived home at different times that night. The kids had stayed up, so were ready for bed when I arrived home. I told them how proud I was of them, and how brave they had been. I felt a deep sense of guilt that I had not been home with them for the evening, I had not made their dinner or listened to the stories of their day. I was exhausted and emotional when Rudolf arrived home. We talked briefly before falling into bed and instantly into a deep sleep.
The next day, and for what seemed like an infinite period after, history repeated itself many times over. Work, crisis response, work, crisis response; guilt about the kids - rinse and repeat.
As Rudolf and I sat on Sunday talking about the past, Rudolf stopped and quite genuinely said: maybe those days were a bit traumatising for us.? Do you think we have a little bit of PTS from them? I couldn't help but think, maybe. We sipped our coffee.
Yesterday wasn't really all about business error and mistakes; it was about kids in need. Hopefully tomorrow our business practices will be stronger; I'm not sure I can say the same for kids in need. I guess there's parts of yesterday and tomorrow that have to stay the same ...