A couple of months ago, I made a decision. I didn’t have time to do what was involved, but part of the decision was to make the time. I made the time to begin an uncertain journey.
Monthly One-Week Visits
Once a month, for one week, I go to the “farm,” my folks’ place. They live a mere ninety miles away, but due to my long hours and endless projects, months can slip away between visits.
Earlier this year, mom was diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s. Months between visits suddenly seemed unacceptable, so I decided to make a change.
Once a month, I throw a bag of clothes and my computer in the car, and the dogs and I head to the farm. I set up a docking station in the house we rent from my parents and spend a week in our little country home in the water hollow, just down the field from my parents’ home.
I’m not sharing this as a brag. I don’t have a clue what I am doing. In fact, I felt a little selfish at first. Even though I’m working, the visits are a nice break. I don’t have the worries and distractions that pressure me when I’m at home (in the city). I don’t have to feed or coddle anyone. In fact, I get coddled! Mom shows up with clementines and cashews. Dinnertime? I just show up. It’s already prepared.
Am I doing this for me or am I doing it for my parents? Can I make a difference given my ridiculous work hours?
I’ll answer the second question first.
Yes. Absolutely yes.
While I spend most of the eighteen hours I’m awake sitting in front of my computer, I can take a five-minute walk and I’m in mom’s kitchen. I walk up the field three to four times a day, sometimes to join my parents for a meal, sometimes to help mom do something, and sometimes just to visit. But can I make a difference? Just as doubt was setting in, I realized that the insight I gain during the visits and meals are helping me identify ways to help. This is a new journey for us, and although it’s not one I’m thrilled about, I’m blessed and joyful that I am able to be on board for it.
Regarding the first question: “Am I doing this for me or am I doing it for my parents?”
Both. Why shouldn’t it be both?
For me: The visits are self-indulgent. They take me out of my work bubble. I may not work less while I’m there, but I move more, look up more, breathe better air. I have a break from the regular pressures of home, and I get a little spoiled.
For my parents: This is an uncertain journey. The uncertainty is unsettling. I may not know how to help, but I know it helps to talk, share ideas we’ve found, and be present for each other.
The Magic of Making Time
Remember I said I didn’t have time to do this, but decided to make time? It’s true.
My garden had gone to weeds, the walls in one room need to be torn out and replaced, all of the windows in my house need to be replaced, the shed needs to come down, two ponds need to be dug up and moved . . . The grass and weeds keep growing, the dust and webs keep collecting, the dogs keep shedding, and I can’t keep up because I work ten to fifteen hours a day. I didn’t have time.
What happened when I made time? The list of to-dos didn’t magically diminish, but, magically, I have more energy and vision for tackling that list. I’ll continue to make the time for this uncertain journey, for myself and for my parents.
Enjoy the photos I took on my walks between the water hollow and the main house (it’s not why I go but it’s why I look up when I do).
©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.
One day the memories you are making will be priceless. The photos are so pretty, they must be so inspiring in person.
It’s so hard when you’re in it to see the difference you are making, but you are. These memories that you make today will sustain you for many years to come and also bring immense pleasure to the ones who taught you how to love in the first place. You’re doing a fantastic job!
Great post !