When I made the decision to not only have children but also to raise them myself, I took a lot of criticism from people who had no qualms about letting others raise their own kids. I never voiced my opinion about their decision to work full time and hire strangers to look after their children and I expected at least that much in return.
It’s funny how people view the same situation in such different ways.
Be that as it may, I consider myself lucky to have been able to devote all my attention to my sons and I never regretted that choice.
When I decided to take care of my aging parents I could do no less than that. My parents gave me life just as I gave life to my children. The choice was a no brainier. I am fortunate that, even in their eighties, both my parents are still in my life.
Loving and caring for someone is not a part time job – it’s a lifetime commitment.
Not that it’s been easy, by any means, but the benefits of this unique living arrangement far outweigh the difficulties we’ve endured. Living with and caring for elderly parents is not a choice to be made lightly. It may not be the right choice for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work and a ton of patience but it can also be one of the most rewarding and selfless things you will ever do!
At the end of a hard day, all I want to do is put up my feet, have a hot cup of tea and listen to blissful silence. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to think, I just want to do… nothing. For a few moments, I just want to be me.
Maybe that’s a little profound for those of you who choose to make every second count. Some people have no idea how to just ‘chill.’ They don’t feel accomplished unless they’re doing something at all times. That’s sad, really, because there is so much more to life – and many people miss out on that.
I’m not knocking a great work ethic but I’ve known people who have slaved at jobs their whole lives – only to die way too young. I truly believe that all work and no play makes a person old before his/her time. And, as my Dad always says about the rich, “you can’t take it with you.”
So, after all my work is done and I’m sure that Mom and Dad have everything they need for the moment, it’s my turn to sit back and just relax!
While reminiscing with my son a few weeks ago, I recalled various moments from his childhood that I realized he, sadly, had no recollection of. As young parents, we clap for and record and retell all our friends and family about every single accomplishment in our child’s life.
Some people use the New Year as an excuse to send out letters to their friends describing events that took place within their family in the previous year. It’s sort of like a ‘highlight reel’ but on paper.
I’ve listened to so many of my Dad’s dream sequences in the last year that I could write an entire 4 hour movie script and still have enough material left over to pen several sequels. The problem is, while he’s seeking an eager ear to listen to all his rantings, I’m looking for an escape route back to reality.
It’s one thing to create and recount memories but it’s a whole other thing to expect others to respond positively or enthusiastically about someone else’s life (or dreams – events that never even occurred).
So, feel free to clap every time a toddler blows a kiss or shows you how big he is… SOOO BIG. And, by all means, clap at your teenager’s school concert – even though some kids are singing or playing instruments out of tune. But don’t wait for that elusive round of applause after your latest rendition of dream works!
As you age, you notice certain parts of your body fail to work quite as well as they used to work. Your eyes don’t see as well and your ears don’t hear as well. You might experience a change in your taste buds and certain smells that you used to enjoy may now seem unpleasant.
Supposedly (much like ‘when a door closes, a window opens’), when one of your senses starts to decline, another one becomes stronger. People who are born without sight or hearing or even limbs have been known to accomplish incredible feats due to this phenomenon. Some of our best known artists, musicians and athletes are among them.
So, if it takes you a little longer to get around or you have to rely on the kindness of others when performing daily tasks… fear not. We’re all in this together. Today you may notice the daily struggles encountered by your elders but tomorrow (or soon enough) your day will come. And even if (one day) your teeth come out of a jar, you can still command an audience with your Life Songs. Just remember to always keep em smiling (and, more importantly, make sure you take those teeth out of the jar first)!