aging parents

For my nephew, Eric Parmely, married life has mostly been about being outnumbered by girls…at least since he and his wife, Ashley started having children. Don’t get me wrong here…Eric wanted girls. He came from a family with three boys, and he was the youngest. He had always wanted to have a daughter, and really never expected to have one. Let’s face it, in a family of all boys, having a girl is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, Eric and Ashley beat the odds and had not only one daughter, Reagan, but were blessed with a second daughter, Hattie.

Eric and Ashley had purchased a house in the country, next door to her parents. They wanted the country life, and with her parents horses, they knew that they would be able to give their children the kind of life they wanted for them. Living in the country and having animals, is something they are all interested in. The girls don’t care that farming and caring for animals is a “dirty” job, because they love their animals. They get right out there and help their Daddy and Mommy with whatever they are doing on the farm.

Eric’s life is full and happy, but now…if it is possible, his life is going to get even more full. They are now expecting a little boy to join their family in the near future. While Eric and now his little boy will still be outnumbered by the girls in the family, they can at least say that they have each other when outnumbering becomes an issue. Although, when in coms to getting into the bathroom when teenaged girls are in there…all bets are off. It’s going to be fun to watch the transition from all girls to a boy in the family, and I know that they many stages that are to come will be lots of fun for both Eric and Ashley. And after all, it’s all about building a life. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Over the last 7 years, my family and Bob’s family have both been taking care our parents in one way or another. Sometimes the need is greater in one family and sometimes it is greater in the other. Taking care of other people is simply not a job that can be done by one person. As my sister, Alena says, “It takes a village.” During this 7 year journey we have taken, we have come to understand that some people are able to give more time, because of bosses that allow much flexibility, or jobs aren’t 9 to 5, or year round. Others cannot give as much time, and some don’t live here. Some can’t handle this type of work emotionally, and some can. Still, all of our adult family members have helped out in some way…as have some of the children.

There are many unsung heroes here, including my boss, Jim who allows me to have the time off to take my in-laws and my mom to the doctors appointments, and to do other important things that their needs require. Without Jim, none of this would have been possible…truly!! Other family members come to mind, when I think of those who have selflessly given of themselves…often setting aside their own interests to help another person who can’t do this alone. My sister, Cheryl, my sister-in-law, Brenda, and my daughters, Corrie and Amy, and my husband, Bob have all been there steadily through these 7 years, and Bob’s Aunt Margee, who comes to sit with her sister, my mother-in-law whenever we need her. I have to wonder how we managed before Margee retired. And of course, Bob’s niece, Machelle, who comes down from Powell to cut my in-laws’ hair, perm my mother-in-laws hair, and do much maintenance work around the house, and Bob’s cousin’s daughter, Stasi, who loves to come to visit and help my in-laws around the house. What a special girl she is. Our other sisters, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, and their families have done as much as they were able, and their help has also been invaluable through these past 7 years. Truly, I could go on forever, but there isn’t room, so I hope you all know how much you mean to me and how much your help as meant to all of us.

There are also 4 people who were tremendous help especially during the years we were taking care of my dad, and to this day, as much as they are able. My grandchildren, Chris, Shai, Caalab, and Josh started caregiving at the tender ages of 10, 10, 9, and 8. That kind of help is almost unheard of at that age. Chris and Shai work now, and are not able to help as much as they did, but they still help whenever they can, and enjoy spending time with their grandparents just to visit as well. Caalab and Josh don’t work yet, so they are more able to come along now, and Josh has especially shined in the most recent care of his great grandmother, my mother-in-law, since they seem to have a connection. She responds so well to him, and they love each other very much. He pretty much won’t let his brother, Chris do very much for her, because he really wants to do it.

It really does take a village to care for an aging parent or other loved one who is ill, and until you have been a caregiver, you just can’t understand how much work it is. There is no “unimportant person” and even the smallest contribution is a major help. Yes, it takes a village to care for another person who cannot care for themselves, and when it comes to villages, I have to say that I have been a part of 2 of the best villages ever put together to get 2 families through some of the worst health crisis situations you can imagine. Villages just don’t get better than these. Thank you ALL!!!

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