You gave up your full-time, long-term job as a librarian to care for Mom. Was that a hard thing to do?
It wasn’t hard to give it up; I just miss it. I couldn’t see NOT leaving after all my parents have done for us these years. I wasn’t worried about money…I just knew I would miss my co-workers and all my regular patrons at the library. That was my social outlet. I don’t get out very much, so going to work every morning after taking kids to school was a joy for me. I started working at the library at the age of 16 and I totally loved it.
How does your Mom feel about the choice that you made?
My mom is very thankful. She feels at time that she is a “bother” because she is a total assist. I put her on the bedpan and have a Hoya-lift to get her in and out of bed. I re-assure her that she is no bother.
You are also a single parent and have three children. You are all living in the same house together. How do the kids feel about you being grandma’s caretaker? What is their understanding and do they help out?
I have 3 children Frederick is 19, Regine is 14 and Joseph is 8. My mother has always been very close to my children especially Freddy. They have a very special bond. he was a two pound preemie who suffered brain damage at birth which resulted in him having hydrocephalus, which is fluid on the brain. He has a shunt to drain the fluid into his stomach.He is now going to be a Sophmore at American International College in the fall and is on the wrestling team. My dad and mom spoiled him so much and he formed a very special bond with my parents. He would walk home every day to check on her during his freshman year.
My daughter Regine is an exceptional student. She taught herself Japanese and has a love for the Japanese Culture. She plays the Flute and has a cello that she is waiting instruction to play. My little Joey was diagnosed with Autism when he was little. He’s going into 3rd grade in the fall and did very well his first year of full-inclusion. He is reading above 5th grade level and is a real funny little guy.
They are all so helpful and I don’t know how I would make it without them. They all have their own little duties from putting ice in the cup…to fixing her pillows if she calls them. In the beginning I think it was hard for them because it was a big change in routine. We were so used to going everywhere together as a family and now I have to leave either one of the two oldest with her for a few hours while I shop. We have not been out together as a family in a year. I don’t have anyone to watch my mom. They are just happy grandma’s back home. They did not like her being away.
Is it challenging to be both a full-time mom and caretaker?
In the beginning, her bed pan schedule was so crazy that i could not sleep until her last time “on” which was 2:00 a.m. That changed and now her last time is at 11:00 pm and it has made a big difference. I can get more rest and I don’t feel as tired as I did in the beginning. It’s challenging but not something I think about. I just do it. I find myself doing so many of the same things my mom did raising us. It feels good to know I can handle this. I’m not saying its always easy, but I have never given up and never will.
What is a typical day like?
I get up a 5:30 a.m. and head straight for the coffee maker! lol. Nothing happens before I take that first sip. Then it’s getting my mother on, and letting her get some more sleep; seeing the kids off to school during school time, then i have an hour to do something. Whatever I like. Then I get my mom bathed and dressed, fix her breakfast and start cooking dinner for the kids when they get home. I usually do my phone business or computer business during that time. Then I fix mom lunch and wait for the kids to get home. They run straight to her and we talk, then I get her back to bed and changed. When she’s down for the night, that’s my favorite time. After we eat and I help the kids with their homework, I can watch a good scary movie or take a nice nap. Once the kids are in bed it’s housework time. My days are definitely routine, but I am far from bored.