PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR CREATIVE COMMON
This morning I heard a story on the car radio that moved me. A woman was waiting at the airport gate for her flight. Seated near her in a wheelchair was an old man, waiting for another flight. He was alone. His grey hair was long and matted, and he sat hunched over, staring at the floor. The woman approached him and asked if she could brush his hair. The old man said, “I guess so.” Just as she finished, the gate attendant came and wheeled him down the ramp, onto the airplane. In a few minutes the attendant returned and told the woman the old man had started crying. He couldn’t understand the woman’s kind gesture.
“Why would anyone care enough about me to brush my hair?” he’d asked the attendant.
Have you ever been faced with a situation where you felt like you’re the only logical person in the room? Yesterday I came across paperwork that reminded me of one of my late mother’s hospital visits. For everyone who’s a caregiver to a family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s… You’ll identify with this. Or… Maybe you just need a good laugh.
Sometimes no one, but you, makes any sense.
I don’t have grandchildren. I’ll try not to sound triumphant here, because the word on the street is I’m missing out on something so huge that apparently it would be sacrilegious to admit I am immensely relieved I don’t have grandchildren.
My friends rhapsodize that grandkids are the babies you can spoil to death in a way you never could with your own. They tell me the relationship with an older grandchild is special because of the purity of the relationship. There are no issues such as discipline, clouding the fun and games of time spent together.
But what I hear is babysitting. Babysitting here. Babysitting there. Babysitting while the parents go on a vacation… instead of me.
IT'S DIFFICULT GETTING ANYTHING DONE WITH ANNIE AND LULU IN MY LAP.
Annie and Lulu are growing into fine young ladies, especially after I sent them to finishing school while I was in Italy this fall. For three weeks the girls learned the finer points of sit, stay, heel, come, inside and place.
Now the biggest challenge they face is me.
At our age, when it seems like we have worked hard and should now get to relax and enjoy the fruit of our labors, many of us find ourselves caring for aging parents, an ill sibling or life-partner, or even a grown child who is sick and unable to care for themselves. We hadn’t counted on this twist of fate. Continue Reading
This was my little man, Sam. If you look closely, you can see fur peeking out from between his toes, a sure sign he was a house puppy, which was fine with me. Being an indoor dog made it easier for me to give him hugs, rub his soft silky ears and tell him how much he was loved and adored.
Sam captured our hearts the second we saw him. James said Sam was the only dog he knew who’d read and memorized the “Puppy Handbook.”
Megan is a devoted wife, mother of four children of various ages, a photographer and the one in charge of cooking, cleaning and providing a family taxi service. Her pottery wheel is where she says, “I go, daily, to reclaim my sense of self.”
To the casual observer Megan and I are completely different. She’s tall and slender, never wears makeup or nail polish and is very quiet. I, on the other hand, am short and curvy, rarely seen without mascara and a red manicure and can be quite vocal. We live vastly different lives.
Yet we strongly agree on one particular topic; the importance of self-care.
My forearms look like someone burned rubber on the highway except instead of tire marks, they’re teeth marks, and I have a newfound respect for mothers… especially of twins. I now understand when mothers say they haven’t gotten out of their PJs or brushed their teeth, all day, and the only meal they’ve eaten is a cold slice of pizza on the run.
If you or anyone you know is lonely or depressed, I suggest a puppy instead of antidepressants. If you get two puppies, just don’t expect to get anything done!
My bedroom smells like urine, and there’s a dog that likes getting stuck under my dresser, but I’m deliriously happy. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an eight-week-old puppy and until now… I’ve never had TWO. Everything is something to chew on: the dust ruffle on my bed; the edges of the old mirror that leans against my wall and the terra-cotta pots in the courtyard.
When they’re out of their crates, I feel like it’s Roller Derby time. Girls rushing past me like they’ve got wheels on their feet!
My parents helped me so much with my kids when they were little. Loving, experienced… and free caregivers. It don’t get much better than that. Fortunately my folks lived close, so often my kids went to their place.
But many grandparents live far away, or take care of grandkids at their children’s home. Even when coming for a social visit, they often end up babysitting, and trust me. They love it. Continue Reading