As I write this we are halfway through teaching our first Powerful Tools for Caregiving class. It has been an exciting time of learning and growth for all of us. Each time I work with caregivers, I am reminded of a common theme – the delicate dance of trying to help care recipients (especially parents) while still respecting the individual’s right to make their own choices.
This class has also given me an opportunity to reflect on my own roles:
Mother, of a freshman in college, trying to make the transition from parenting with the ‘rescue/unsolicited advice/caregiver’ approach (ok, maybe a little helicopter-y) to more of a ‘coach’ approach. I am so grateful to Page Cvelich for introducing me to Kimball Gruder, author of Successful College Parenting. Her advice to listen more than advise has become my mantra – especially during those times when I am really nervous about his new independence and the choices he may or may not be making while he is 2 states away from us.
Daughter, of parents who are almost in their 80’s making a move to Florida. There are many aspects of this move that I have questions and concerns about and yet – once again I am reminding myself that this is their life.
With both my parents and my son it is common for me to remind myself to breathe, knowing there will very likely be unintended consequences from their decisions that may involve me.
Other roles: grandmother, sibling, wife, friend and colleague. Each of these roles has a slightly different hat and a slightly different dance move. (Cut to “Do You Think You Can Dance – starring ME!)
Some might describe me as a tiny bit controlling, and change is not always easy for me – I find it uncomfortable at best and terrifying at worst. I have started a meditation practice to work on mindfulness. I am trying (which is why it’s called “practice”) to work on embracing these changing roles in my life and accepting new challenges as opportunities to learn. To be honest, sometimes it works, and sometimes I end up with ice cream and Netflix instead. Depends on what, and how much, is changing at any one moment.
And now – off to practice my moves.