My dad had a stroke in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, and thankfully, as mom put it, I didn’t have to hop on a plane with an infant this time. It was still a series of trying, worrying days. Dad has recovered quite well, but is definitely requiring more care than before.
This time, I stepped up to make some phone calls and communicate with family. Invariably, it was a woman on the other end of the phone, as we are caretakers by nature. But for each generation, for each branch of a family, it tends to fall on one person’s shoulders. I spoke to my cousin, and my aunt, and before them it would have been my Aunt Mickey, and my Great Aunt Rosie. There are those in whose arms the rest of us seek comfort and care.
I am already a caretaker, and have been since the minute my son was born. I became an even stronger one the day he was diagnosed with autism. I knew when I married a man 17 years my senior that someday I would be his caretaker, and being an only child, I know that I will be taking that role with both of my parents, as well. This is not being a martyr, this is not being a nurse – I’ve already warned all and sundry that I will not do diapers again. I’ve done my time. This is being a steward for the care of others when they are not very able to do it for themselves, and I take this transitioning role on with open arms, a full heart, and a laser-sharp mind, honed by many years already dealing with hospitals, therapists, and educators.
There’s no one more qualified, ready, and willing.
Are you a caretaker? What insights and advice can you share in the comments?