Monday, August 24, 2009

I've become one of "them"!

It happens to all of us. We see other people doing things that we just can't understand. I remember seeing silly mothers crying over the silliest little things. What was wrong with them?! Then I had children. Then my daughter got her first shot. I'd become one of "them"! Do I need to describe other firsts, like her first time with a babysitter? her first trip to Disney World? her first day of school? I don't think so - you understand because you probably became one of "them" too (or live with one).

I'd read about the "sandwich generation" several years ago. They're the ones who provide for their elderly parents while also taking care of their children. And I felt for them, I really did ("sure glad that's not me").

Then I became one of "them".

Each of us, as caregivers, has a different story. No one's situation is exactly like that of another. My dear, sweet mother is 86 and lives with macular degeneration, tremors, and mild to moderate dementia ("mild" on good days, "moderate" on bad). We also have a 13 year old son in 8th grade and a daughter in college (I guess she doesn't technically count since she's not living at home, but she counts to me!). My husband is a medical professional with his own practice. And I actually have a life too (two jobs; PTSA; friends; things I like to do!) Did I say my son is 13? Did I tell you that he has lots of friends and likes to be busy? Life is complicated in our household!

Now I get it! The "sandwich generation" - stuffed between the needs of their children and those of their parents. Doesn't sound like much fun. Often it's just hard.

Most importantly, my mother became a Christian a year ago. We are a family where each is striving to follow Jesus and become more like him. When I think of my greatest blessings - marriage, raising children - I know that those blessings have also been the hardest things I've ever done. Could it be that this new "hardest thing" could also turn out to be one of my greatest blessings from God? God, who is strong and loving, tells me yes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the start of the Accidental Caregiver

I would never have chosen to be a caregiver (that's why people go into nursing, isn't it??) . I would not have referred to myself as a caregiver. But my mom has been living with us for ten months now and I have to admit that yes, I am a caregiver.

Accidental: happening by chance or accident; not planned; unexpected (

From my favorite verse in the Bible (Psalm 62.12)
" One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving..."

Because God is strong and loving, He doesn't let things happen to us be chance. He loves me; He cares about me; He is aware of what is going on. He hasn't missed something or let something slip by. My new role as a caregiver is not by chance or accident. It has happened out of God's love for me.

But it IS unplanned and unexpected...hence the birth of "the accidental caregiver". To be honest, I was going to title this "the reluctant caregiver", but that felt discouraging and I truly do not want to be reluctant in this role. Then I thought of calling it "the barefoot caregiver", after "the barefoot contessa" - to give it a witty and elegant sound - but I don't feel witty and elegant, and even more importantly, I was afraid no one would "get it".

So, why a blog? My purposes are initially self-serving:

1. Being a caregiver is hard! I think this blog will help me sort through my thoughts and feelings so that, in turn, I can learn, grow and change.

2. If this blog turns out to be amazing, then it can become a book, then a movie...

3. Maybe it will help others - if I let others read it! - and provide a connection with other caregivers.