It's a tough job, riddled with responsibility and anxiety. I don't know if it's expected of me or if I expect it of myself. All I know is I have a serious need for harmony and peace. If two members of my family are fighting, I just have to intervene. I've always been this way.
It's certainly a plus for those who need a referee, but not so much a plus for me. I've stuck my neck out many times, coming to someone's aid, only to put myself in harm's way. Back in fourth grade, standing at the bus stop, a boy I considered a bully was harassing my sister and my girlfriend. He was my age, but, of course, a boy, bigger and stronger. I moved between him and the two girls, trying to get him to stop. His response was to pull his arm back and punch me in the mouth. Shocked and bleeding, my first and only thought was to run. I was, after all, 9 years old and a child of the early sixties-- a time when boys simply did not hit girls. It was unheard of. A major no-no. (At least, where I lived.)
This story had a happy ending for me with the boy getting yelled at by the principal, my mother, his mother, his teacher and my teacher, but still, none of it would have happened if I'd simply hung back and kept my mouth shut. But I just can't do that.
Fast forward to 2009 and I'm still doing my best to come between warring factions. Should I just let my husband and teenage son hurl obscenities back and forth like Frisbees, or step in before they hurt each other? Well, recently, I did nothing. It was just a war of words, but the blast in the air glowed for hours. I know I'll have to find a way to make peace between them because they won't do it themselves. Too much pride on each side.
I will have to choose the right time, the right words, the right approach. A hefty responsibility for me to shoulder.
But I'm a peacemaker. That's what I am. That's what I do.