Trading Places


I have been selfish in the past. I’ve wanted things bad enough to forget to take others into consideration. There have been times where I have forgotten the sacrifices that others have made for me. Moments of “tunnel vision” where all I could see at the end was myself. I am not proud of the way I have acted in the past. Those times existed mostly in my teens, but I do not claim to be perfect today, and I may forget to be thoughtful of others tomorrow. But that is highly unlikely, because the last 24 hours have truly altered my life.

Merilyn. She is gracious, classy, silly at times, and the queen of showing the warmest love through one big hug. She’s stubborn, sharp and always open for discussion. Merilyn is my best friend, my “2nd parent”, and the one who often teaches me how to clean up any messes I make without leaving any evidence. She never missed a soccer game or recital and often filled my busy single mothers place at parent teacher conferences or meetings with school counselors. She was my home when I didn’t really have one.

I run to her when I feel weak, and no matter how strong I like to be around others, the second I see her I crumble. She has shown me how much joy can be found in a sweet gesture to someone special. She is my secret keeper, my reminder to slow down (and maybe have a snack while I’m at it, if I’m being extra sassy). She is all of these things and more. She is my grandmother, and I love her. So much.

Yesterday she had her second rotator cuff surgery. It went well. And after I got off of work I came to spend the night with her. My mum had been taking care of her all day and she was tired. It was my turn. Seeing my grandmother in pain is very hard for me. She has always been the one that is taking care of others and fixing things. The unbreakable little lady with the worlds biggest heart.

It was, and sometimes still is, very easy to get caught up in my youth and forget that while I’m growing into the woman I want to be, the adults who have loved and nurtured me all my life are growing older. Life goes so fast, the years pass us by so quickly. And as I sit at the end of her bed and watch her, wishing I could take the pain away.. all I can think is “if only we could trade places.

Somehow I seem to find little “problems” to busy my mind with when I’m not focusing on the good. Bills, other family members fighting illness and disease, a messy apartment, relationship problems, work, my constant battle at the gym, and so on. This is something I hope to get better with. But the last 24 hours spent with my grandma have given me plenty of insight to do so.

I’ve learned that when you’re feeling negative, helpless, overwhelmed or alone the first thing to do is give to those in need. Making dinner for a friend with a new baby, wine (and allll the fat kid food in the world) for your newly-single girlfriend, writing an “I appreciate you” note to a colleague, wiping the snow off your elderly neighbors car and shoveling the walk way, being the person who listens, or simply volunteering. All of your worries will no longer exist because you’re putting someone, perhaps who you love very much, first. And that is all that really matters.

My grandmother will recover. She will be back to her regular, sassy little self that doesn’t let age determine her limits. But this overall experience has been a tremendous reality check for me. It has reminded me to cherish every moment I have with my grandmother and everyone else in my life. To stop complaining or worrying about petty things and put others first. It’s simple, today has changed me. You certainly wont have to help me find a reason to celebrate the beautiful people in my world…

I’m counting my blessings today, not my problems.

All my love, Bailey Mikell


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