Family & Friends

I have the greatest cousins & friends!

My dad’s 86th birthday is January 19th. I sent an email out to friends and family this evening asking them to send cards wishing him a happy birthday. I’ve already heard from some saying, “Done!” He’ll love hearing from bunches of people, even if I have to explain to him, who they are. Then he’ll look at me and say, “You did this on the computer, didn’t you?”

Driving home today we had a car in front of us with a bumper sticker saying, “Be nice to your children, they’ll choose your nursing home.” It’s sort of funny and sort of sad, and so very true. After being w/ my dad on Christmas day and watching the photos I’d scanned, our oldest son has said he wants my photos so he can keep me happy watching pictures when I’m old (er).

On Wednesday night, dad had to go to the ER to have his catheter reinserted. The nursing home called about 9:30 to let me know. So, I had a cup of coffee (it was my bedtime) and drove to the hospital to meet him there. I got there before him, got him registered and waited. The ambulance arrived and I greeted him at the door. His comment, “How did you know I was coming here & what are you doing here?!” He sounded ticked, but really wasn’t. It took about a little over an hour to get everything fixed and then he was headed back to the nursing home. I went over to the nursing home the next day and one of the PT’s saw me. She told me that dad told her I’d been at the hospital w/ him the night before – he told her he was upset that they’d called me BUT – he also told her that he was so happy that I was there when he was rolled into the ER. So, I lost a little sleep but – gee, I’m so very, very grateful that I can be there for my father. I’m lucky.

This story will make you pause… The Wooden Bowl
I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table.
But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. “We must do something about father,” said the son. “I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.”
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl!
When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.
The four-year-old watched it all in silence.One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?” Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I’ve learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.
I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life..”
I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.
People love that human touch — holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

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7 Responses to Family & Friends

  1. amylia says:

    How nice you can be there for your dad. And it’s nice he is learning to accept goodness and help from loved ones, even with a little resistance.The Wooden Bowl–very telling. I do love eating out of wooden bowls, but not in that way! Message noted.

  2. Jeff says:

    This is a very important story, Colleen. Thank you for telling it.

  3. landileigh says:

    dearest colleen,thank you for your story today. my husband has been caring for his father since july. he has parkinsons and has been in and out of the hospital for staph infections. i’ve seen a gentler side of him since taking care of his dad. Sometimes i’ve gotten frustrated and your story made things much clearer in my mind.landileigh

  4. Molly says:

    What a great story! I hadn’t heard that before.My grandma is 96 years old, and lives in assisted living center. When she comes for dinner, she needs help cutting her food, etc. She laughs when she drops food, saying “oh, I’m acting just like a little kid.” She loves butter, and will ask for more and more of it. Now my mom’s and my line is “when you’re 96 years old, you can eat a stick of butter on your roll!”Glad you’re able to help with your father. He’s lucky to have you.

  5. Oh, this hits soooooo close to home. Yes, your dad is lucky to have you, and you him.All of the baby boomers will be getting old at the same time – I do wonder how we’re gonna handle it!

  6. Donna says:

    I’m glad you were able to be there for your dad. I believe it meant a lot to him for you to be there. I’ve seen the wooden bowl story before. But it’s been a while. Very touching…

  7. Kay Dennison says:

    We never stop having lessons in life — I’m always saying, “Ohhhhhhh nooooooooo not another learning experience!!!!!!! By the way, you are going to be featured on The Friday Groaner tomorrow.

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