Every since I was a young girl, I’ve loved figuring out the answers to problems. Jigsaw and crossword puzzles were my jam, and don’t even get me started on my slight obsession with McGyver. To this day you cannot convince me that a toothpick, some gum, and a bottle of DW-40 won’t solve any crisis.
As a librarian, as a writer, as a forever learner, doer and out-of-the-box thinker, I’ve gotten really good at looking at an issue, at an obstacle or problem in many different angles, analyzing and coming up with a plan of execution. Or multiple plans. Brainstorming, researching and putting an action into place is kind of my MO.
If my best friend is having relationship issues, I will sit with him/her and figure out a way to get them past this, no matter how many bottles of PBR/wine we have to sacrifice along the way. If a coworker is struggling to find their footing at work, I will help them come up with a plan to tackle their responsibilities like the boss I know they are. If my mom is still texting in hieroglyphics, I will…..yeah, sorry mom. I think that one’s a lost cause.
I like having answers, I like knowing that anything can be solved.
I’m a fixer, that’s kinda what I do.
But sometimes life throws you a curve ball of a problem, one that you don’t have the answer for.
Someone really close to me, someone who I love with all of my everything, my inspiration, the person I look up to, my baby sister is going through something right now that is incredibly hard. She’s been fighting Endometriosis, a condition that affects more than 6.3 million women in the US alone, yet it is still one of the most misunderstood and complicated diseases to diagnose, treat and cure. While she has always handled this like the champ she is despite the challenges, she recently hit a bit of a rough patch. If you know my sister, you already know that she is one of the strongest and most resilient people I have ever met, someone who exudes bravery and determination through every pore. For all of these reasons and more, I am certain, without a doubt, 110% positive that she will kick Endo’s ass.
In an conversation I had with her earlier today, I asked if there was anything I could do to help? Her heartbreaking reply: “There isn’t. There isn’t anything anyone can do. I don’t what’s going on, and Wendi, I’m scared.”
As a problem solver, as a fixer, and most importantly as her big sister, sitting on the sidelines and not having an answer or a plan to give? A way to make her feel better? A part of me, a very big part, thinks that I’m letting her down in some way. For all of our lives, I’ve been the one protecting her, showing her the ropes, of what to do and not to do. I so badly want to help her, to tell her everything is going to be okay, to take all of this pain and confusion and stress away from her.
I’m a fixer, but this, unlike that jigsaw or crossword puzzle sitting on my coffee table, I can’t fix. I don’t know the solution, the answer, a way to make it all go away.
And that absolutely kills me.
But if I have learned anything in my almost 29 years–besides finally, FINALLY figuring out how to fold a fitted sheet–it’s that being there for someone, just being there, can make all the difference in the world. I’ve been through some trying times myself, I think we all have at one point or another, and the one thing that helped get me through, the one thing that kept my hope motor running, my fire to fight ignited, it was the endless support and encouragement from those who I loved and cared about most. A shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, an endless supply of bear hugs and a partner to share that pizza and bottles of PBR/wine with.
These are the things, the little blessings that make you stronger, give you a reason to keep fighting and the reassurance that things are going to be okay.
Sometimes you won’t have all of the answers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of the solution.
Reaching out, being there for someone who needs you the most, that in and of itself is the greatest gift you could ever give.
Something even some toothpicks, gum and a bottle of DW-40 couldn’t replicate.
To my kickass, amazing and beautiful baby sis, you are a fighter. You are strong. You can and you will get through this.
You have so many people who love you, who are there for you, who believe in you.
We will get through this.