3/29/10 - Caretaker

I’m a caretaker. I always have been. For as long as I can remember I am always the first to wonder if someone is ok if I see them hurting, no matter if I know them or not. I latch onto babies because I know that they need to be taken care of. I’m just a care taker. Which is a good thing considering the rigors my children have put me through. If I weren’t a natural born care taker, they’d be hurtin’ kiddos right about now. There was a part of me that thought once upon a time that being a caretaker made me weak in some way. That the act of caretaking surrendered my power to the person I was taking care of; that by putting myself at their disposal that I was somehow expressing codependence instead of the inherent strength it takes to honestly put someone else before yourself.

Now I know that was all bullshit of course. I embrace my caretaking abilities on a daily basis. And it turns out to be an extraordinarily good thing when you have one parent have a massive heart attack one day, move in with you to recuperate for 3 weeks another day and then six months later have the other parent diagnosed with end stage lung cancer.

So here I am, taking care of my Dad. By cooking all of his favorite food for him while he still has an appetite and wants to eat. By doing things around the house to make his life easier. By helping to keep track of meds and new symptoms to tell the hospice nurse. All of these everyday things that seem so simple but are the best way I know how to take care of him right now. Because all of these things still allow me to be his daughter whilst doing them. Despite my caretaking proclivities, I have no desire to morph into a full time nurse to my father. I just want to be his daughter. Love him as his daughter. Support him as his daughter. It’s a delicate balance to strike to be sure. But I hope I’m at least in its general vicinity.

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