The Hat by Colette Bate
It seems to me my whole life has been spent being responsible for someone else. As a child I was the oldest of 3 girls and was often required to take my little sisters with me, which made me accountable for their safety and punishable for any crimes they might have committed. I became a wife and mother at 18, which was sort of the same as taking care of little sisters, so my role in life didn't seem to change much.
Most of my working life was spent being liable for the jobs others did. And, in retirement I found myself volunteering for a role in my community pledged to see that neighbors felt welcome, informed, and entertained. As a widow I've become the matriarch of my family and feel responsible for the happiness, stability, and financial security for my children and their families.
This hat of responsibility can be hard to wear. But, in hindsight, it seems to be my apparel of choice; whether I'm wearing it as a mother, sister, grandmother, daughter, an in-law, relative, neighbor, partner, employer, client, or friend. It's rare that I take the hat off ... even when I'm alone with my thoughts. And, although I'm often surprised that I'm capable of wearing it, I must admit that I don't like the way it messes my hair.