It began often as a whisper, “Don’t tell Mom…” The conspiracy of the kids versus their parents is nothing new, but it becomes funny as it changes over time. From early years of not ratting out your sibling because he dumped the sugar bowl onto his cheerios, broke the den window with an apple or was hanging out with the kids that were smoking at the school tennis courts. Even after all these years, I found myself dropping these words out in a conversation with my brother on the phone.
Mom had some oral surgery and my brother was “ON DUTY” and took the happy and quite “stoned” patient home from the procedure. She retreated to the couch and there she stayed. When I talked to her, there is little that she remembers about the whole day.
If you are a reader from Maine or the Northeast, you probably know about the pounding we took earlier this week. 2-3 feet on one day with blizzard force winds and another foot within 48 hours. Snow has to be moved. Shoveled, raked, scooped. Our cars, homes and camps.
We have a family place over in the western mountains. Of course, it snows there when it snows no where else. It is wonderful for the businesses that thrive on the winter tourism activities. And normally snow falls in intervals. A nice storm, a few days of beautiful sunny days, some more snow, some sun, you get my “drift.” Not this year.
Keeping the Lights On
While Mom was under anesthesia for this dental work and my brother was “On Duty” I was “On Duty” at camp. Making sure the vent for the furnace hadn’t been blocked by snow (which it had), and making the plan of attack for how to deal with all the snow build up that was around us.
This life is about teamwork. It is about division of labor. It’s about not being a control freak (me) and allowing us all to help out as a family, making it an adventure and not a hassle. We grow up, move away or move on. So much has changed since that “ Don’t tell Mom I….” of high school days. It reminds me most of all that we don’t have to be in this life alone.
Mom’s Community is US
As part of our “Mom” caregiver community, this method of sharing responsibilities allows for others to help out. My youngest niece, who is a Senior in high school 7 hours away, called Mom to see how she was after the procedure and the blizzard. My eldest niece checked in to see how she was doing. This type of “service” to our family is rewarding to both sides. A phone call means a lot and yet it is a simple thing to do and memory makers for the future.
Once again, I am going to toot the horn of AARP and their website. There is a whole section on “Caregiving” and access to the website is free for anyone, you don’t have to be a member to use it. Membership is $16.00/year most everyone can swing it, benefit from free monthly coffee meetings or the free donut every time you go to Dunkin’ Donuts for your coffee, there is so much more.
Another blog I have come to love is Diane Atwood’s “ Catching Health. It is a whole website that is fun and deals with all aspects of aging with a focus on health. Good for any of us at any age! Diane is from Southern Maine and a great local research with a vast amount of journalistic experience. It is obvious by her website.
Here is her list of New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers, that I found amusing and supportive. Finding some resources to refer to help in my own creative development to solve situations that I never knew I would have even 10 years ago.
When we make others part of a working family community, we provide opportunities for connections we may never have suspected. I often think of all the hours our parents taught us lessons, waited for us as Doctor appointments, athletic events or those middle school holiday concerts!
Isn’t our turn to do our part?