The last weekend in February has been a fun one for the last seven years. It’s usually the weekend of my daughter’s birthday but sometimes falls the weekend after her actual birthday. We have ridden the train to Fort Worth and participated in some way in the Cowtown races. This year, we did the 10K together on Saturday. The rest of the weekend is ours to enjoy. This year, we just relaxed other than the expo for the event and the 10K we finished early on Saturday.
Giving her this one weekend a month where it’s just mother-daughter, is not really enough to make up for giving all my time to her brother, Chris, whom I care for 24/7. It doesn’t really give her back the time she’s lost these last 11 years. But it’s a special time for her and for me – we spend it together just being us. It’s always loads of fun and she calls all the shots as to where we eat and what we do. This year, planning did not go off without a hitch.
We get some respite through the Advantage program (if you are a caregiver check it out in your state it helps with a lot of things). It wasn’t approved two days before we were to board the train, so I was jumping through mental hoops looking for alternative care for him on Friday. Of course, at the last minute, the approval came through. I don’t understand why something requested weeks ago take to the last minute. It’s like they really don’t care about our feelings – we are just a number on a piece of paper.
Then, my friend who was going to pick Chris up on Friday night fell very ill. Before we board the train I’m trying to jump through hoops to get someone else to take him home and stay with him the first night. It’s all quite funny now – but it wasn’t then.
As caregivers, if we even get a break, it can feel like we are being punished for wanting one. It takes more work to organize all the particulars than it does to just stay home and take care of him. Or at least it feels like it. Overall, it all went well, and he was definitely well cared for and he did very well this time with eating and things like that. Plus, my daughter and I had our special time together and we both got some much-needed downtime. Overall, I’d have to say it was a juggling success. Lol.
Sometimes I wonder if God is looking down on my juggling act and shaking His head. Maybe He is burying His face in His hands. But juggling isn’t a one time a year thing for us caregivers. Many don’t even get that opportunity. Day after day we juggle caregiving tasks, cooking, work, other children’s needs, and our own needs are the pin that gets dropped while we try to keep everything else in the juggle. I know He sees each of us and He understands, even when He seems silent.
I’ve said many times, that God doesn’t make a convenient exit just because life gets ugly. He never stops painting because the picture isn’t pretty. He doesn’t stop listening when life’s song sounds out of key. 1 Timothy 2: 19 reminds us that the foundation of God stands firm and He knows those who are His and we are still His when we become a caregiver. Our standing with Him is not altered because life throws us a curve. He is with us in the juggle, strengthening us and calling us His own.
Today, in the hustle, I will remind myself I am His. He has not abandoned. He is near. My thoughts will be on His ever-abiding presence and I will lean in to Him to hear His heart still beating for me. I’ll trust Him with today’s juggle as I try to get back into the day-to-day of caregiving. I’ll be grateful and purposefully thank Him for not leaving alone to walk this journey. Will you join me?
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