Before I was a parent I always heard the phrase, “it takes a village” in reference to raising children but I never really believed it. Now that my daughter is ten months old, I believe the phrase and follow it! My parents and brother live in the same town we do and they often visit my daughter, her grandfather visits daily, and stay active in her life. This past week my husband has left to visit his dying grandmother and we had to stay behind. Cleaning, shopping and cooking with a crawling explorer has been quite a feat. I miss having my husband to rely upon during these times of daily rituals, however it's nice to be able to call my parents or my brother and have them help out.
(My granny was in the hospital when I was giving birth for another injured hip but she still came to see us)
But what happens when we are older. Why does the village mentality leave our minds once our relatives are no longer cute. My husband visiting his dying grandmother made me think of the tasks that now lay in the hands of his family. My own grandmother will be 94 in April and her doctors have determined that she is ready for hospice. My grandfather passed away over 3 years ago and she has been “ready” to die ever since. She has been living in a retirement home, the nicest in town, but still it's so lonely. I always feel so helpless when we visit her, like it’s never enough. The one time I did have to really help her, I felt scared and thrown off guard. Why are we not prepared to take care of the elderly?
I’ve been writing this one piece in bits and pieces all week and Grandma Peters did pass away, very peacefully surrounded by her loved ones. It was the way she wanted. She didn’t have to go through the agony my grandmother has, which brings me back to elderly care. It’s easy to offer to take care of a cute baby, but when someone asks you to visit their elderly relative it’s not so easy.
(Chris' grandparents and Ainsley)
Did you see the movie Benjamin Button? That is exactly where my daughter and grandmother are. Although, my daughter is starting to pass my grandmother. Ainsley is crawling, walking with help, eating on her own, baby talking, reading to herself, and even can play alone for a few minutes without being too distracted. My grandmother used to be this eloquent women whom I loved to listen to, she could always lighten up a room with her comments. Now she struggles to get out the correct words and frustration sets in. She no longer walks and seems to be in constant pain. The village needs to move in and let hospice help but her sons have the power, not me.
So what about single parenting, I have found a new respect for military families, single parents, and widows/widowers. No wonder they are tired and ragged all the time! I want this blog to inspire you to reach out and help someone. Whether it be a single parent, elderly person, or your neighbor that seems to be lonely. Humans are social creatures and if they aren’t asked about their day, smiled at, waved to, cooked for, helped to cross the street, and received some sort of acknowledgment they will be very lonely.
So if you know someone that just had a baby, take them some food. If you know an old lady bring her one of your old magazines and say hello for five minutes. If your neighbor is screaming at his kids again, see if he needs a five minute break and play tag with them or color the sidewalk with chalk. I know you are probably tired and overworked but suck it up, spread some love, and you’ll be glad you did. Overall, if your village has dwindled build it up again! By spreading joy to others you yourself will feel sustained!
(my brother, his daughter, my Granny, Ainsley, Me, and my dad)
Me again - So sorry to hear about your loss doll... i know that feeling all too well. As im sure we all do... and i totally relate to your "takes a village" statement too. I was raised by so many people. Such a huge family always willing to do their share and teach me a lesson or two. It makes for very balanced people. Now sadly, we live in California and our only family here is our little family of four... its hard. REALLY hard. I really miss my village. Thanks for sharing with us this week.