A Caregiver’s Walk-Monday’s Musings

I received three Mother’s Day Cards this year. Two from my adult children, and one from my mom. She thanked me for being a good mother. I saved it.

Whenever we go places, she introduces me as her mother. That role now belongs to me. I remind her to change her Depends. I take care of her money. I make appointments. I arrange her birthday parties. I guess that qualifies me to be her mom. And we’re both okay with that.

So when my daughter visited us in between semesters at college and mentioned that Grandma commented on how I never went into her room, it bothered me. All day.

Most mornings were taken up with writing, straightening, house management and family business stuff. Many afternoons, I work out of my house until dinner time, shipping software for a transcription company. Then there is a rush dinner to prepare. Plus, I’m involved in two Bible studies and I do have a husband.

Although, I oversee Mom’s care and do most nights and afternoons myself, other caregivers take her to appointments, give her showers and fix some meals. So this morning, I decided to have quality time with my 89-year-old daughter.

Martha Stewart blared on the TV as I entered Mom’s room. She was sleeping. I waited and watched as you would a child, until she awakened.

“Hey, Mom. Thought I’d watch the show with you.” Climbing into her hospital bed, I relaxed. I knew that I had writing deadlines, but this was important, too. She lounged in her green, lift-chair. We offered our opinions on the wedding attire fashion show, gasping at $650 pants that Martha thought were affordable. We remarked at the number and length of commercials. We admired the home made wedding pedestal cake.

Then, I left. I’ll never be sorry that I took a few minutes to watch a show with Mom, but I’m sure that I’d have regrets if I didn’t.

It’s hard to find that balance between caregiving and taking care of yourself and your family. It’s taken several years and many emotional conversations to come up with our plan. And just because you come up with a plan, doesn’t mean it will work a few months from now. There is always room for re-evaluation and balance.

I thought of how I home schooled my two children for 9 years. Even though I taught them daily, I was too busy. If there were one thing I would have done differently, it would be to sit down and enjoy them more often.

So I did that today with my mom. And we both decided against the $650 pants.

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