Leading by example really resounds in my family when it comes to family values, and expectations. And even if everything else was do as I say, not as I do (and it wasn’t at least not all of it) I’m certain that the the core family values that have been shown and instilled in us by our parents, and theirs and so on are some of the best gifts a parent could give to their children.
Since before I was born my mom and dad have had a history of caring for ailing parents and family members. Doing what it takes to make it and keep them at home “where they belong”. I have extended family that did the same and many still doing it. They’ve all balanced the hardship of caring for those that need them with living their lives as fully as possible. And because of that, I hear so much from their generation, “Just put me in a home when I get there, I don’t want you to have to deal with it.” But if it’s up to me, I could never do that. Not after such strong examples I’ve lived through.
My mom and dad are currently caring for my aging grandparents as needed. My grandfather is nearly blind, and has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and my grandmother is dealing with the onset of dementia. I have had the opportunity (neither good nor bad) to experience the situation from a point of view that allows me to see two angles of family dynamics. On one hand, it is SO hard emotionally, and mentally to live so far away with little ability to help where needed and comfort when desired. On the other hand, I listen to my parents stories and prerogatives and see the sacrifices they make to help as much as possible; and I know that unless you are them..unless you are the ones giving up vacation days to take them to doctors appointments, spending time on their home improvements, reminding them about holidays, stopping by to change lightbulbs, putting out constant proverbial fires started by their physical and mental state, and hurting for your parents as they cry day in and day out–you have no idea what it is like.
I’m so lucky to have such well intentioned parents and examples in my life and I can only hope to continue that notion with my own children.
It’s funny isn’t it. How badly we want to grow up when we are little, and then before you know it all you want is for time to slow down.
The paradox of life.
So many of them seem so true….
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too
much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a
living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years.