Staying on Track

DSCN2989Back in November, I listed 5 Things I Did for Others during the week. Was that week just a one-off or do I still make time for others? Let’s check it out.

Here where the 5 things I had listed in that post:

  1. Went to the park with my cousin and her babies.
  2.  Delivered dinner to my grandparents.
  3. Visited my grandfather at his Senior Living Facility.
  4. Offered my perspective. 
  5. Donated to the Goodwill.

So, two months later, do I still do things for others? Let’s go by the numbers.

  1. Yes! I still visit my cousin Emily and her babies every Tuesday (except for when I am traveling). These weekly visits have been amazing! I love every minute of them. Mason is 22 months and Jack is 4 months. Jack is about 16 lbs already, so I am getting in a great arm work out while spending time with my cousin. Emily and I love to take the boys to the mall or Target (let’s mama get some shopping done while she has me to help!) or to the park. I have been learning all about how to change diapers on a wiggly baby, and how to work those fancy new car seats/baby gates/toilet locks (they take an IQ of at least 175 to master, I swear). I have also learned to always remove the knobs on the stovetop, and that babies bite really hard, so have quick fingers when feeding the two-year-old. Oh, and for an update, Jack is much better about not spitting up right after feeding! I think the secret is to not play that imaginary roller coaster game…
  2. Sort of…I brought them baked goods instead of dinner! As you read in the original post, my dad came up with the idea to deliver dinner (homemade, takeout or frozen) to his parents. I decided to take it a step further and bake them some zucchini bread. If you know me, you know I am not known for my kitchen skills. But I felt inspired to bake bread for them and my parents recently. I followed this recipe but left out the nuts. It turned out great and makes me want to bake more often! Once the bread was out of the oven, I called up my grandparents and asked if I could pop over for a visit. My short visit enter up lasting over an hour and it was great to chat with my grandparents about a wide variety of subject while they chowed down on my bread. I always learn something new visiting them and I left feeling so happy. My heart was full knowing that I did something for them after all they have done for me. I have only done this once now, but would like to make it a monthly thing (I think weekly might be pushing my cooking tolerance). It will be fun to learn some new recipes and even more fun to spend time with my grandparents.
  3.  I am literally the worst granddaughter ever. Since moving home, I have only visited my grandfather twice in his senior living facility (…I’ve lived here for three months…). To try and remedy this in some small way, I offered to helped move him to a new senior living facility over the weekend. Well, my mom asked me instead to spend the day with my dad. Honestly, I was disappointed. Here I was trying to be a good granddaughter to her father, and my mom was preventing me! But then I realized that by going to the senior living facility I wouldn’t be helping my grandfather, who doesn’t remember me or know who I am, I would be helping my mom. I would be supporting her. If I wanted to help my mom, then I needed to help her in the way she wanted to receive it, not in the way I wanted to give it. I stayed home with my dad and together he and I put a fresh coat of paint on his bathroom walls. I’ll visit my grandfather soon, to validate my own worth as a granddaughter. This day was about being there for my mom, in the way she needed me most.
  4. Well, I think this blog is proof of this. Yes, I do offer my prospective, and I do it three times a week on this public platform. I also, however, have been asking many others for their advice and perspectives. As I am in the process of applying for Graduate MBA programs right now, I have reached out to many friends, family and even strangers for their help. Actually, as you read this, I am in Oregon visiting a University. If you have any advice on MBA programs, please let me know below.
  5. If you have read any of my posts on the purge, you know that I have been donating things like crazy. I even have a bag ready to go in my car as I write this! If you haven’t seen those posts yet, click here and here. It feels good to let the objects that were collecting dust in my room bring happiness to someone else.

I have been really working on showing my appreciation to my parents lately. Looking back on this list, it is evident that I need to better extend that appreciation to my grandparents.

To thank my parents, I redid their bathroom, which you can read about here. The momentum of this project hasn’t stopped weeks later! We have since refinished the cabinets in the two upstairs bathrooms and have purchased new door knobs, towel racks, and toilet paper holders for the other bathrooms to change things up! We have painted a second bathroom and have plans to paint the third. My dad also DIYed a frame of crown moulding to put around the mirror in the downstairs bathroom. It really ties in the modern feel of the wallpaper Nick and I installed. Who knew so much could come of a little wallpaper inspiration?!

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I also did something new for the first time last week and took my dad to a Parkinson’s Disease Support Group. He has been diagnosed for 9 years now, and has been in support groups for the better part of 3 years. He and my mom participate in three different groups, but last week I joined while my mom was out of town. I drove my dad to his meeting and we spent a few hours chatting about Parkinson’s Disease with the fellow members. We focused mainly on the principle that exercise is the best delay of Parkinsonian symptoms.

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There is a sector of this support group called Care Partner Rescue, or CPR. CPR is essentially a mini support group for the spouses. Being a care partner can be tiring and thankless, so it is nice knowing that these spouses, like my mom, have a safe place to vent and ask for help or advice should they need it.

As I looked at the care providers around me, I realized I was the only child in the room. It wasn’t as if every person with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) at the meeting had a care partner with them and therefore didn’t need the support of their children…many PD patients where alone. I saw this as an opportunity for positive change. Here is a way I might be able to help impact this support group. I could open the gateway for another dynamic of care provider: the child care provider. Like the spouses, the children of people living with diseases might need some rescuing too. We might benefit from having a safe place to bounce ideas off each other. Together, we could learn how to deal with the changing dynamic of this parent-child relationship. I hope that by attending this support group more often, other children of people living with Parkinson’s will start to attend too. I hope we can show our support for our loved ones in a new way and can also find solidarity and comfort in our shared experiences.

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After the support group, we were rewarded with the most amazing sunset. It felt as if the warmth from the sun radiated into every ounce of my being. It feels good to do good.

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-TM

How do you share love? Let me know below.

 

 

 

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