Life as I know it, TODAY at 62!

Life as I know it, TODAY at 62!

No, it’s not my birthday (that was back in January), but unlike some women, I’ve never been afraid to speak my age. The way I see it, I have 62 years of experience. Experience is what they ask about when you apply for a job, right? So why not share all your years of experience? It’s been a crazy 62 years to say the least… Let’s see – currently my daily routine for most would be petty boring:

My entire day is built around my three priorities in no particular order:
1) my hubby
2) my 92 yr. old bedfast mother-in-law
3) my two young grandsons

I won’t go into how this all came about, but am glad to share, if asked…

You will notice – I’m not even on the list!! Not a good thing, I know. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the pic refers to the healthy salad I’m trying to eat at least 4 or 5 times a week to compensate for the fact that my ENTIRE DAY seems to revolve around FOOD!
The kitchen should be called the living room, because that is where I live! Anyway, my daily routine consists of:

1) Normal household duties (or “women’s work” as they used to call it in the old days).
2) Tending to all the personal care needs of my terminal mother-in-law who cannot sit up or get out of bed. She is on a catheter, pureed food etc; We are all “terminal” aren’t we? She has lived two years beyond the doctor’s prediction at this point. Keep in mind, I’m not patting myself on the back for keeping her alive, because her quality of life SUCKS, and she would have never wanted it this way. We’ve asked the question, “why God? She’s served you her entire adult life. Why did you not take her swiftly saans suffering? Why did you not grant her request?” We’ve not heard an audible voice or a clear and precise answer. The only thing we could come up with (when hubby and I reflect on things) is this: Is it possible that He has kept her alive to impact others, possibly even us? One thing I know for sure – I have grown tremendously in the process! Anyone who knows me, knows caregiving is not my forte’ or calling in life!! So as I care for Granny the only way I know how I also volunteer to help out a daughter who’s gone thru a rough patch by

#2) taking care of her two youngest of her five children while she works outside the home. Let me add, I’ve always worked outside the home and never had the opportuniity to stay home and take care of grandchildren. It’s been a bit over a year now that I have tended to the needs of a baby boy (7 mos – 19 mos to date) and his 4-5 yr. old brother! It has literally wore me out, but brought me great joy as well! I’ve done pre-K work with the 5 yr. old and made great progress. I’ve watched the youngest go from crawling to running and climbing. I’ve heard him say his first word and watched him discover the world around him and help “Maw Maw” (that’s me) with unloading the dishwasher to answering the phone! LOL

#3) I’m primarily a sounding board for a husband who’s also lost his identity as he’s been forced to semi-retire so he could help me care for his mother.
We found each other late in life and have only been married 15 years. We are “soul-mates” if there is such a thing, but the honeymoon ended long ago! I am proud to call him my husband (he’s a good, honest man, full of integrity, who loves his family). What more could a girl ask for?

#4) Hobbies!! I love all things crafty and while working outside the home and “pre-Granny” had little opportunity for all the crafts I enjoy. This has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve had the time to do some things I’ve wanted to do, but only dreamed of strictly because I’m “housebound”. Lately, my free time in between cleaning, turning, feeding, educating, playing etc; has been sewing; primarily quilting! Last year, since finances were limited my goal was to make simple patchwork quilts for most of the grandkids that lived far away by Christmas. (We have a total of 14). That was a fun endeavor and one I accompished with great zeal! This year my goal is to make several for close friends that haven’t forgotten me in my absence from the real world and to make one or two for myself. READING: I love to read. I read something “recreational” every night before bedtime. My favorite authors are Danielle Steel, Kristan Hannah, Karen Kingsbury, James Patterson, Maeve Binchy, Terri Blackstock etc;

#5) Religious/Spiritual: Although I’ve been much more involved in my church in the past, my current responsibilities here at home have not allowed me to fellowship with my home church family nearly as often as I would prefer. I had a friend who I took turns with on Sundays and Wednesdays. She would come and stay with Granny so I could attend church at least a couple times a month. Unfortunately, her family has been ill too, (her brother and daughter are currently under hospice care) and so I can’t/won’t rely on her nearly as often as I once did. This makes me sad – because I miss my brothers and sisters in the Lord so much!! I also miss singing in the church choir. My hubby would be willing to swap out services with me more than he does, but he is the primary sound technician for a church of 400/500 members and covers all funerals, weddings etc; as well. I understand. In fact, I recently thanked him for his committment to his ministry and his church family because if he will remain strong it will help me to remain strong. For now, I rely on prayer time and bible reading time spent with the Lord often over a cup of tea on my patio. I preview GodVine everyday online and it brightens my day. I watch an occaisional DVD, or listen to a CD of services that hubby will bring home from time to time. They bring me comfort.

#6) Health and Fitness: Phew! You will notice, this one is at the very bottom of my list! This would currently be my BIGGEST ISSUE. This is the one I beat myself up over, worry about, and get frustrated with and probably also pray the most about! LOL

WHY? Well, because as I stated previously, my entire day revolvs around FOOD! I’m either cooking for Granny, cooking for my grandchildren or cooking for my hubby!! I like cooking! I like baking! I’m here at home, what else is a girl to do? Especially, if she was raised in an old fashioned, “Women’s work” sort of way! My job before retiring to take care of Granny and grandsons was as a Weight Watcher’s leader for 4 years! I lost 55 pounds, and was looking and feeling mighty fine! But I digress…because as my title so aptly says – “life as I know it, TODAY…” well, it’s NOT about walking and running 5 miles per day or going to the gym 4 times a week or competing in 5k races, or eating the Hungry Girl way or tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste) or keeping track of my BP readings etc; Nope, I’m not there and I’m struggling to get back to that place after gaining back in the last two years about 15 of those 55 lbs. I lost.

HELP! In every other way, I’M CONTENT. Nuff said!

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I’m having fun!

I'm having fun!

Because I am “forced” to stay home and take care of my 92 yr. old, bedfast mother-in-law, I’m getting to do things I haven’t done in years!

Currently, I am taking a quilting class online from Craftsy. This is my “pancake” or first completed block of the design Anita Solomon is teaching me. It is called Anita’s Arrowhead. I already had the fabric and when purchased, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. It seemed perfect for this design.

I’ve always worked outside of the home, and although I’ve always been crafty and creative, the only quilts I’ve made in the past were simple patchwork or crazy quilts which require less accuracy in cutting and placing.

When I’m feeling “isolated” or “forced” (as I said earlier) to stay at home and am unable to get out I remind myself of all the projects I’ve been able to complete in the last two years and how I would have had to hire someone to do most of it or it wouldn’t have gotten done.

I always try to look at the bright side when I feel that “ungrateful gripe” sneaking up on me! Now, it’s on to fixing lunch for my sweet hubby who is due home from church shortly.

It’s chicken quesadillas and refried beans today.

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The most romantic love story…

The most romantic love story….

5 Lessons from Dr. Seuss

5 Lessons from Dr. Seuss.

Givers and Takers…

I was feeling a little ‘burned out” today and got to thinking about my philosophy on “givers and takers”.  I’ve always aspired to being a giver, so much so that when I “take” I feel guilty!!  Where do you fall with the spectrum of givers and takers?

My life’s work always seems to fall into the category of “helping others” whether it be in some type of management position, teaching/training position, sales (where I’m offering a service or a product) – but definitely HAS NOT BEEN in the healthcare or medical field. Hmmm…a paradox of sorts.

In fact, my last job (abt 2 years ago) was working as a Weight Watchers leader, “paying it forward” by teaching others the program and assisting them in their weight loss endeavors.  Some weeks, I held up to 9 meetings with groups of individuals.  I loved the job! 

So, fast forward to today when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and burned out…I was thinking of the terms “caretaker” and “caregiver”…hmmmm (I might add, I haven’t picked up the dictionary to see what it says are the differences.)  I would rather hear your perspective on them, since I’ve heard them used interchangeably.  Personally, I think of property when I hear the term CARETAKER, and human beings when I hear the term CAREGIVER.

My newest job/responsibility for the past 2 years has been to take care of my 92 yr. old bedfast mother-in-law here in my home.  Then a year ago I also took on the responsibility of taking care of two grandsons who are now 18 mos. old and 5 yrs. old.  Am I a caretaker or a caregiver?  I am “taking care of…”, but I’m not “taking” anything!!  I’m “giving, giving, giving” and today I was feeling “all gived out”!!

So, there’s a lot more to be said about giving and taking.  Why do I feel so selfish when I take or do for me?  It wasn’t always that way.  When I was living the WW life, I had to be a good example and so I took care of me, by eating right, exercising, etc;  But, now I’ve gained back 10 – 15 of the 55 lbs. I lost, because I’m too busy taking care of everyone else and just get stressed and overwhelmed at the thought of taking care of me!  I am also exhausted!

I love Granny and those boys!  They light of my life, but REALLY?  When is it my turn again?  I’m feeling like I need to be a little bit more of a taker, but I don’t know how to work it into my day, and if I do take time for me – I feel guilty!  I once learned that there are two different types of “GUILT” – FALSE GUILT, AND TRUE GUILT.  Anyone else ever heard about that?

That’s another blog – so stay tuned.

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