Sometimes words simply will not do. So I will show you some pics of today in Riverside Park and Riverside Drive. My Upper West Side was blanketed in snow.
I do not like asking for help. At last week’s lecture on teen boys, Rosalind Wiseman said getting help is a lifelong skill, I agreed, intellectually.
I am the driver who does not like asking for directions. In fact, I am the sole long-distance driver in my family. Chris’s Parkinson’s Disease — or his meds — have compromised his ability to drive. My son does not yet have his permit. We don’t own a car any more. But I am the family driver, metaphorically too.
In 2009, on Lindsay’s birthday, we made up 7 rules for living on the back of a paper napkin while drinking champagne at the Yacht Club. This year we did it again, but had to finish up over coffee the next morning at the Inn. Lindsay Pontius and I made up seven new rules for living. And I will blog about these rules in the coming weeks.
In the last round of rules, my number one rule was Pile on the People. Which I then changed to Pile on the Useful People. Because, at some point, I felt that I was helping more than I was helped by helpful babysitters, caregivers, friends.
For example, I remember hiring a professional babysitter when Hayden was a tot. She took Hayden to the playground, while I stayed home and folded laundry. I loved the playground. I hated the laundry.
Luckily, at that time, I had a therapist, April Feldman, who helped me see the error in this equation. Do the fun stuff. Farm out the chores, like the laundry.
Because of Chris’s Parkinson’s, everyone says to me (and I say to myself) “Get help!” But piling on more people (for me) is often piling on more work. I am exceedingly generous, even to the point of bankruptcy.
This may have to do with my white (and wife) guilt for needing to hire caregivers at all. Caregivers are often people of color. I dont’ want anyone to think that I am better or believe I am better than they are. We are all equal.
So what can I do?
- Care about the helpers
- Go to the park
- Farm out the tasks I don’t like
- Get help
- See that asking for help requires practice.
I wrote this at the 475 Riverside Drive ecumenical library’s first and third Wednesday of every month writing group a couple of weeks ago.
The post was inspired by today’s Daily Prompt. The task was to grab any book, open anywhere, go to the 10th word. I grabbed Melissa Gilbert’s Prairie Tale: A Memoir. My word was “wanted.” As in, Wanted: Help.
- Brother and sister from Pinecrest start Parkinson’s foundation (miamiherald.com)
- Caring for Someone With Parkinson’s (shakeitupforparkinsons.wordpress.com)
I am always shocked that my kids make it to the school bus on time. In the morning, I am the pit boss of the Indy 500 — fixing broken wheels and finding socks. So the fact that the kids get launched into the world every single morning — and have never missed the bus — shocks me.
It’s about the routine. To save me from the huffing and puffing and stress of the morning launch, I’m thinking we should tune up our morning and evening routines.
I started thinking about how one small action can cause a new chain reaction last night, when I stood waiting at my usual bus stop for my usual M5 bus. I saw the golden light of sunset and realized I had not taken a photo for the day. So I walked towards the next bus stop.
And on the way to my new stop in the dusky light, the sunset was brighter, the Hudson more reflective and Grant’s Tomb more pinkish.
Walking to my new bus stop, I passed a bunch of kids skateboarding. And I thought, I’ve got to do this more often — find a new way. Because right next to my usual routine is something dazzling and brilliant.
I don’t know if one small tweak will help me with our morning and evening family routines, but I think it’s worth a shot. Chris, my husband, has been gone for nearly a month, directing a show in Florida, so I think the time is now to get into a good new habit before he comes home!