It was only a few short years ago that I was a mom to two very young boys and caregiver to various other children, all of whom were like my own to me. Many of those days are still a blur. I'd answer the door before 6:30am and would often close the door behind the families at 6:30pm...sometimes later. As long and as exhausting both physically and mentally as those days were, I got up every morning looking forward to my job. There were many mornings where I would go out to get coffee before any of the kids arrived but by 9am I'd have given my right arm for another. Once in awhile, my mum would call and offer to drop one off to me. And once in awhile I'd ask her to stay with the kids once they were all napping so I could run out to the dentist or pick something up from the store. She would almost always agree and I was careful not to ask too often but I always felt like she had no idea how trapped I was sometimes, because of the kids routines and needs. She was a stay at home mom so you'd think she'd remember what it was like but that was a long long time ago. In my line of work there is no such thing as a lunch or coffee breaks so when opportunities for me to leave the kids for half an hour would arise, I was more appreciative than anyone will ever know.
Last week my Grandmother, who lives with my mother, had a stroke. My mum has been on duty catering to her every need since it happened. I see the exhaustion in my mum. I see her struggling to keep it all together for the sake and well being of my Gran. But I also see there is a want to be that person, similar to how I wanted to be that person to my kids and the kids I provide childcare to. Today, my mum asked me to pick up a few things at the store for her and when I asked if she wanted a coffee I could hear that same sound of desparation in her voice that I once had when she would offer to bring me one. When I arrived at her place, I asked if she needed to run out anywhere and told her I would "granny-sit", just as she had agreed to "baby-sit" for me when I needed it. I could tell by her reaction that she was thankful to be getting out of the house for awhile....a feeling I can relate to.
My kids are all school-aged now and I can run out or get coffee whenever I want. In fact, I've never been as free as I am these days. I'm seeing the tables turning now though. My mum has been free for many many many years now but is entering a new chapter of her life where she is once again depended on full time. My childcare job taught me a lot of things over the years and the sense of appreciation I developed will carry forward as I do coffee delivery and "granny-sit" more often from now on.
- Posted from Jennifer's iPhone