Today it felt like I won the caregiver lottery…
All I did was make a turkey sandwich. Actually, three of them: one for my husband, one for my son, and one for his friend. But it was like a dream.
Mom was back at her daycare for the first time in four months. My daughter was outside pulling weeds, having been given a temporary reprieve from her online school and work. She was singing and taking tons of selfies. But she wasn’t shouting or swearing, wasn’t irritating the dogs or mocking her parents. Apparently fresh air is a good bipolar antidote.
And me … I was downstairs in my office, working. Until I realized I was (get this) hungry! At 1:15, having started work at 8:01 after the caregiver got here.
So I went upstairs. And I made sandwiches. And it was like I was on holiday.
Yesterday I won the caregiver lottery: a family friend offered to take mom for a month, so I could spend time attending to my family. It was a gift straight from heaven. Since returning from our trip to Acadia, I’d been noticing the old anxiety and stress creeping back to unhealthy levels. We had even talked about the possibility of long-term care for mom (who is not enjoying the manifestations of Sarah’s condition any more than we are). But this … this was unmitigated grace. Mom wouldn’t have to go to a nursing facility. She could live with her friend. At least for a few weeks. A few weeks more to breathe. To spend time with Sarah. To do the mom things I should have been doing — I WANT to be doing — all along.
Like making a turkey sandwich for the boys.
Author’s note: Since writing this post last September, mom has moved from her friend’s house to a group home run by a lovely Rwandan couple. Another lottery! Life continues to simplify, and I’m thinking about heading up to our cabin a few days ahead of Thanksgiving with just the dogs for company to give myself a little writer’s retreat. Last year I wouldn’t have thought this possible … but what a difference a year can make! If you are in the throes of caregiving, and feel like you are drowning, hang in there. Go make a sandwich. It DOES get better, I promise.