Bubba and Auntie each have hearts of gold. They come from a generation that saw hard times, and learned through adversity the importance of teamwork and helping others make life run as smoothly as possible. Both are extremely unselfish women, almost to a fault. As a result, they tend to give all they can to family and close friends, sometimes in ways that compromise their own best interests.
A classic example is a recent vacation… Bubba and Auntie were told they needed to share a bedroom, actually a very delightful dilemma for two sisters who dodn’t get to spend nearly as much time together as they would like.
The first night Bubba barely slept due to Auntie’s snoring. She came to me in the morning, not willing to honestly talk with her sister. “How do I handle this?” she asks. Auntie, on the other hand, woke early and saw that Bubba was in a deep sleep, and rather than move an inch, not wanting to wake her sister, she stayed in the same position staring at the ceiling for at least two hours, working hard at keeping her bladder from exploding! Auntie came to me as well, uncomfortable with sharing this tale with Bubba, again, wanting to please and protect. “Bubba needs her sleep. I must not move and run the risk of waking her!”
I had to sit the two sisters down and encourage them to put their stories out on the table which opened up a discussion about possible solutions and how they were going to survive several weeks of sharing close quarters. We talked about the importance of maintaining healthy boundaries, which included advocating for what one needs as being just as important as considering the needs of others. This is a novel concept for these two ladies, particularly Auntie.
The second night was better. I had presented Bubba and Auntie with a box of foam earplugs (under $2 from the local drugstore) for each of them to wear! Both were well-rested the following morning. Independently they talked about their daily habits and routines and created a vacation room-sharing plan that carried them through with ease and delight. (Of course they took this upon themselves to solve in order to not “burden” me further with their needs!) Their motto became “ask for what you need and trust that the other will help you find a way to make it work. “ Everyone wins in the end.
After Bubba and Auntie had gone home I discovered two pairs of used foam earplugs snug in the corner of a bathroom drawer… They clearly have planned ahead for the next visit!