Late last year I (Tim) noted here that I was stepping away from almost 30 years of pastoring churches. I don’t know if that was the first domino to fall, but it is certainly one in a line of related changes ’round here.
I stepped out of that emotionally draining work (really, another form of care giving) and, in short order, found myself less glum and stressed at home. Melissa notes that I come home much perkier and roll better with intrusions like snow shoveling, bed frame collapses (I don’t think I bothered to blog that, but Joey’s bed frame required emergency disassembly and disposal) and putting VCRs out of their misery.
All of a sudden the chores called forth by care giving aren’t as burdensome.
I smile and laugh a lot more.
I sleep better.
I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for a few months and the first words out of her mouth were, “Wow, you look younger.”
At the same time, I’ve taken a job that is doesn’t bleed me dry emotionally but has me away from the house more. Which means…
Melissa is sentenced to longer stretches of each day alone with Joey and his needs, demands and antics. That’s a big ol’ domino that fell on her.
Our calendar is a mess. Doctor appointments set up months ago have to be rescheduled because I’m not available to watch or transport Joey. Melissa and I enjoyed a weekly early dinner date – that’s been “suspended.”
Finances are… uh… adjusting to the change.
The dog and the cat seem to like the new arrangement because they get to go outside (dog) and sleep on the bed (cat) longer and later in the day.
It is likely that all the clickity-clacking will slow down in February. Joey will start an extended day program that will give Melissa respite. The financial reorganizing should be in shape by that pay cycle. Who knows how many decades younger I’ll look after a few more weeks without infusions of toxic stress.
Care givers snort when we hear the advice, “You have to take care of yourself.” I finally got around to doing so via a big, abrupt (and way overdue) change that’s certainly improved my daily quality of life, but it’s caused chain reactions with mixed outcomes for the rest of the family and others in our lives.
Sometimes taking care of ourselves stinks for those around us. But if we don’t do some things to keep ourselves well, we will simply fall down. Not with the click of a domino, touching and moving others, but in an inert heap that’s no good for ourselves or those in our care.