helper

My youngest grandson, Josh Petersen is a hardworking and very busy guy. Josh works two jobs. He services fire extinguishers at All Out Fire, and at Sanford’s Grub and Pub, where he is a jack of all trades. I guess that five years in the restaurant industry teaches you every job. Josh doesn’t have much time off. His jobs keep him very busy, and we, his family don’t get to see much of him. It’s part of what he does to be able to live as an adult. Sometimes you have to, work more than one job to make ends meet…especially in this economy.

Josh has a couple of pets, whom he loves very much. His little Dachshund dog, named Molly is his best pal. I’ll never forget when he first got Molly, and he loved her so much that he carried her everywhere. I don’t think that dog walk three feet in those days, and she still doesn’t walk much when Josh is around. I think Molly has completely convinced Josh that it is his responsibility to carry her everywhere. He also has Lilly, the cat, who has a couple of kittens.

Josh has such a soft heart, me I think Molly takes advantage of that fact, but I guess it doesn’t hurt anything. It is Josh’s soft heart, in my opinion, that makes him excel in the EMT/Firefighter field. Josh is studying to do both, and is very good at both. He has the heart of a helper. He doesn’t like to see anyone with a need left unmet. It doesn’t matter if the need is medical or some other need, Josh tries to help. It isn’t that he always has the excess to meet a need, but he will sacrifice his own needs for the needs of others in a heartbeat.

Today, as Josh turns 21, I find myself almost in shock that this, my youngest grandchild could already be 21 years old. He is no longer a child, he is a man. He works more than full time, and lives on his own, with two roommates, and a menagerie of assorted pets. Josh is responsible. He gets to work on time, takes care of his animals and his home and he studies and gets good grades. He makes me proud. A grandmother couldn’t ask for anything more. Today is Josh’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It’s not a common thing…having your first child on your birthday, but it is what my grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer did when she gave birth to her first daughter, Laura Spencer Fredrick, on August 3, 1912, when grandma was 25 years old. It would be ten years before my grandparents would have another child, but no one in the family knows why. After my Uncle Bill was born in 1922, my dad, Allen quickly followed in 1924, and my Aunt Ruth in 1925. Nevertheless, they had just Aunt Laura for ten years. I really wish Grandma had known that her 2nd great granddaughter, Elliott Stevens would share in that joint birthday too. I think she and Aunt Laura would have liked that very much.

Grandma and Aunt Laura did everything together. They were not just mom and daughter, but best friends too. They shopped and traveled, and they worked around the house together. Grandpa was often away working, so Aunt Laura was Grandma’s companion much of the time. They were very close, and Aunt Laura was a big help to her mom.

When Uncle Bill came along, Grandma was running a hotel, and ten year old Aunt Laura became her right hand helper and almost full time nanny. I don’t know how Grandma could have done it all without the help of her dear daughter. They shared much more than just their birthdays, they shared the workload, the child rearing, and their memories I’m sure. When Aunt Laura married in 1932, just before her 20th birthday, she and her husband, Fritz moved to Minneapolis from their home in Holyoke, I’m sure that Grandma felt the loss deeply. Minneapolis isn’t that far, but too far to visit daily. Today is the day 132nd anniversary of Grandma Spencer’s birth, and it is the 107th anniversary of Aunt Laura’s birth. Happy birthday to both of you in Heaven. We love and miss you both very much.

So much has happened this past year for my grandniece, Hattie Parmely. For one thing, she is no longer the baby of the family…now she is a big sister to her little brother, Bowen Parmely. Hattie has really enjoyed her little brother, because he is the baby, and Hattie loves babies…all kinds of babies. I think her love of babies has come from the fact that her family lives on a farm, and they raise chickens, cows, goats, and horses. There are always babies in that mix.

Of course, Hattie loves being the little sister too, because she has learned so many things from her big sister, Reagan. You see, Reagan has a car…it’s a toy of course, but it goes on it’s own power. In reality, I think the car belongs to both girls, but Reagan drives it the most. Reagan takes Hattie for rides around the farm, and helps her get up in the haystacks, shows her how to do the farm work, and how to be careful with the babies. Hattie knows that Reagan has had soooo much more experience with these things, since she is almost five. and Hattie is just turning three today. Soon, it will be both Reagan and Hattie that will be teaching Bowen all of the things he needs to know…whether he wants them to teach him or not, because he is the little brother, and that’s what big sisters do.

Hattie and Reagan are big helpers around the farm, and at their grandparents houses. One set of grandparents lives next door, and owns part of the animals that the girls take care of, and the other set has a cabin on the mountain, and they often need help cutting wood for the fire. These big strong girls get right out there and help get the job done. Hattie and Reagan have great imaginations, and they are always up to something. They might play house in the hay, or practice their milking skills…on each other, pretend, of course. They love life on the farm, and they are tough enough to clean up after the animals, collect eggs, feed the animals, and whatever else their parents might need them to do. It’s all part of farming, and they are really into it. They are always busy doing something, in fact, I’m told that the only time Hattie will sit still is if you put a baby in her arms. I can’t say that I think that is a bad thing. Being active is good and holding babies is great, so…you go Hattie!! Today is Hattie’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As a little boy, my nephew, JD Parmely could usually be found hanging out with the men in the family, looking for ways to help with whatever they happened to be working on at the time. He was a busy little boy, and he wanted to be a part of the guys group. I guess he knew, even at such a young age, that he wanted to be a mechanic too. JD came from a long line of mechanics, so it was in his blood, it would seem…and that suited JD just fine. When he grew up, JD decided that he would go to tech school to learn everything he needed to know to be a professional mechanic, and so he spent time in Arizona at school…before returning to Casper, Wyoming as quickly as possible, to get out of what he considered to be the horrible Arizona heat.

While the majority of JD’s assistance as a child, was handing the men a tool…if he could figure out which one they needed, he has long outgrown the days when he doesn’t know about tools. Now that he is educated in the field of mechanics, he works mostly on his own projects…of which there are many, since JD is an avid car owner, who owns more cars at one time than most of us do in a lifetime…and drives them all!! JD is of the belief that one can never have too many vehicles. His “Day Job” is in the same field…mechanics. JD loves his work so much that he just brings it home with him…or, in reality, just changes locations, and works on his own vehicles in the evenings. He can’t think of a better way to relax, than to work on a car, and I think the rest of the men in the family are exactly the same way.

For many years, JD was the student, gleaning knowledge about mechanics from his dad, grandpa, older brother, and uncles, but at some point, the student became the teacher. In this family, we have mechanics who specialize in various pars of mechanics, as well as the same types as the others. What that does, is to provide a sounding board for the others, when they have an issue with something they are working on. It also provides for assistance when a job requires more than one mechanic. For me…lately anyway, it has seemed kind of odd, or maybe different, but not unexpected, that my husband, Bob, would be calling on his nephew, JD for information on a problem. I know it was bound to happen at some point, and has probably been going on for quite a while, but when I think about Bob asking JD for his help and ideas, I just have to smile, because the student has become the teacher. JD has come a long way, and yes he is another in a long line of mechanics, but somehow it just didn’t occur to me that he would be the go to guy for the other mechanics sometimes. Nevertheless, that’s what he is, and that’s what they are to him too. Today is JD’s birthday. Happy birthday JD!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

1012520_10200670730066580_678793453_nWe don’t often think of little boys as being responsible, caring people, but when I look back on the life of my grand nephew, Xander, I see a very different boy than what most people see in boys. Xander is the oldest of the five children of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve. Being the oldest has it’s responsibilities, and lots of olders don’t really like that, but lately, I have noticed that Xander is taking on the responsibilities without being told to do so. He is a little more watchful over his younger siblings, especially his little sister. He is a little more into being the teacher of the younger ones, showing them how to do things…being the leader that I think he was meant to be. Xander has that big brother kind of personality that is a combination of helper, teacher, and playmate. I love the young man that he is so quickly becoming.

Xander has a sensitive side too, and a heart that has had to endure a some sad things. When his sister Laila passed away, it was Xander who felt that loss so deeply. His younger brothers felt the loss too, but Xander understood it so much more than they did, and it hit him very hard. Then when his younger sister, Aleesia came along, he developed a bond with her that helped to fill the hole that was left when Laila passed. Aleesia has really stolen her biggest brother’s heart. She moved in there, and he has found himself so content with the big brother relationship they have. When it comes to Aleesia, Xander is a big teddy bear for sure.

Xander is so grown up now in so many ways, but inside there is still a lot of little boy in him. He is so much like his dad…more so than any of the other kids. Xander probably looks more like his dad than any of the other kids, and while they all have great personalities, Xander is definitely his daddy’s boy. I see so much of Steve in Xander, and they have such a great 536840_10151550233137237_854328503_nrelationship. Steve is very hands on with his kids, and they thrive on that. Of course, they also get the nurturing balance of Jenny’s mothering, but these boys are all boy, and very much into all of the manly, sporty, muscle man things that their dad likes. Still, having a little sister has inspired their sensitive side, and no one more than Xander who enjoys being the oldest brother of this group. Xander has lived through so many changes in his family in he first eleven years, and as the family grows up, he will live through so many more, but he isone of those great kids who will be able to take it all in stride. Today is Xander’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Big sisters are a very unique type of person, especially when they are the oldest child. They have gone from being the only child to being a little mommy’s helper in the care of their new little sibling. They are usually young enough to have it in their head that this is their baby, so don’t even tell them that they can’t be the mommy! They don’t like it when you don’t let them be the caregiver of this new baby. Of course, as with any job, they know that there are some things that should be handled by the nanny (ie, Mommy)…like stinky diapers!! Mom is totally welcome to step in at that moment. And if this kid decides to scream, and a bottle won’t fix it, well, call in the nanny. Nanny/Mommy is good for some things, but not when the big sister is in charge. They are for when big sister needs a babysitter for the baby, and nothing more. It is almost as if Mommy is really a surrogate mommy.

While big sisters can be in the way for moms sometimes, it is also very sweet to watch there first attempts at mothering. Girls have a built in mother’s instinct, in most cases, and it comes out in them very early on. From the moment they hold their first doll, they are a mommy in their own mind. Of course, maybe that doll is the reason that they don’t care much for stinky diapers or screaming babies. I mean, that doll was just so much better behaved than that, right? Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long for them to realize that this new baby is a bit different than that baby doll they had, but as they get used to the new baby, they instinctively understand that crying and the smell is just a part of the deal with a younger sibling, so as long as Mommy or somebody else shows up for the tough times, the responsibilities of a big sister are not so bad.

Unfortunately, as the baby gets older, the newness also wears off some, and before the baby is old enpugh to play or walk, the older sister might get tired of helping out. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes it does. If it happens, it is usually a short period of time, because before too long, the baby is old enough to play with its older sister, and then the fun really begins. With an older sister teaching the younger sibling the ropes, there is no telling what kind of trouble they can manage to get into. In fact, if you think about it, you can probably come up with a whole list of ways you got into trouble with your big sister’s help, or maybe for you it was a big brother, but that is another story.

Children love to help. They see the things their parents or grandparents are doing, and they want to do those things too. All too often, the parents or grandparents think the child is too little to help, so they tell them to go play. In my opinion, that is a big mistake. Children can learn to be helpers at very young ages, if given the opportunity, they can become very good at it…maybe even experts.

When my girls were little, they loved helping me with the household chores, and they got very good at making beds, vacuuming floors, washing dishes, washing clothes, and many other household chores. I know everyone teaches their kids to do chores, but when I have told people how young they were, they always seem surprised…like a child that young can’t possibly be trusted with some of the machines my girls used. No, they weren’t 3 years old or anything, when were washing clothes, but they were 7 and 8 years old. And they did it very well.

My nephew, Barry always wanted to help his grandpa. My father-in-law was Barry’s best friend, and if Grandpa was doing something, then that was what Barry wanted to be doing. When a child shows such an interest in something, it is easy to teach them to actually do it. By the time Barry was 5 or 6 years old, he was running a wood splitter with my father-in-law just like an expert. Barry was there to help split wood, when Bob and my brother-in-law, Ron couldn’t be there, either because of work or school, and he proved himself to be invaluable.

When my own grandchildren were 10, 10, 9, and 7 years old, they helped us with the daily care of my dad when he was very ill. They didn’t care what we asked. They were willing to learn, and more importantly, they were willing to do. Today they have gone on to do other things, since they are 16, 16, 15, and 13 years old, but they still know how to be caregivers, and they are still willing to help in whatever way we ask of them.

Children are never too young to learn to be helpers. Sure we have to try to make the jobs we give them be something they can do at their age, but sometimes they will surprise you by being able to do things that are way beyond their years, as was the case with Barry and the splitter when he was 5 or 6 years old, or my granddaughter, Shai when she single handedly took care of my parents all day when they and we could not, and she was only 10 years old, or my grandson Josh, who so completely understands the needs of my in-laws, and who quickly catches on to the new treatments we need his help with, and is so meticulous in the performance of the duties we give him. Children truly are never too young to learn, if we give them a chance.

So often in today’s busy world, we find ourselves thinking, “I’m too busy to help others.” It’s true that we live in a fast paced world, and it would seem that since we are usually hurrying to get somewhere, we just couldn’t squeeze in even a moment to help someone else. That would put us even further behind schedule.

But, have you ever stopped long enough to look around at the “helpers” in your midst? I never really had, until I was a caregiver myself. There are many children out there taking care of aging parents.

I have taken my parents or my in-laws to the doctor, and there are lots other people, many about my age, in there with their parents. People who love their parents and want to give them the quality of life they are used to, but couldn’t have without help.

I ran into a friend at WalMart last weekend, and she has 3 children of her own, who keep her very busy, and yet, in the middle of all the running around she does for her kids, she finds time to go help her mother-in-law with housework and grooming, since she broke her arm in a car accident, and can’t do much by herself, and she does it with a smile and a wonderful, pleasant attitude.

My own son-in-law got a call from his brother, who had received a call from his aunt, who had been on the phone with my son-in-law’s mom, and she wasn’t making sense. My son-in-law, took time off from work to check on his mom. It turned out that his mom had experienced a stroke, and was in need of medical attention. He has since done whatever he can to assist her in her daily needs.

I often have clients who come into my office with their children or grandchildren bringing them, because they don’t drive anymore, and couldn’t make the trip without someone to help them. These are just good, kind children who show love for their parents or grandparents by helping them out with their errands.

These people didn’t plan to be caregivers at this point in their lives. We all think that when our kids are raised, those types of responsibilities will go away, and we will be free as birds, but often life throws you a curve ball, and then it is your turn to step up to the plate and show your helper’s heart.

If you find yourself in the position of caring for a loved one, think about this one thing…you still have them.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Check these out!