Hello friends! I had coffee with a couple of girlfriends the other morning. One mentioned that she’d seen my post on my time study and block scheduling up on the Living Well Spending Less Facebook page. The other gave me a shocked look. “You’re still blogging?”
If posting once a month counts as blogging, then yes. Yes, I am. The truth is I miss it. The reality is that things have been chaotic here, for reasons good and bad. I thought I’d fill you in. First up? The not-so-good.
My 79-year-old father became quite ill after complications arose from surgery. He’s been in the hospital for over a month now, including a very scary stay in intensive care. I’m relieved and happy to report that he’s on the mend in a rehabilitation facility now, and he should be going home in the next week or so. While I’m anxious for him to be able to go home, it has been mildly amusing to tell people my dad’s in rehab.
I’ve been blessed to have aging parents (my mother is 80) in remarkably good health. Blessed and naive, as now that I’ve been through this experience I realize what an incredible burden so many of you caregivers are facing. Managing your own family while simultaneously trying to care for elderly parents is challenging and exhausting. I was reminded of how I felt after I had my first child. All the years prior, I thought I knew what I could do to be helpful to new parents. Newsflash: I had no idea. It wasn’t until I went through it myself that I realized how incredibly unhelpful I’d been, but also what was truly helpful. Some people seem to have a natural ability to sense what is needed to care for and comfort others in trying times. God bless these people, but I’m not one of them.
As I come through the other side of this experience, I feel badly for the missed opportunities to help friends who’ve undergone something similar in the past. Instead of dwelling on how I failed them, though, I’m thankful for the insight on how I can be a better friend next time around. A few things I found very helpful myself:
- Gift cards. We ate out a lot, and I found myself looking for a daily pick-me-up at Starbucks. Gift cards to coffee shops and local restaurants helped ease the financial burden of extra visits.
- Phone calls and texts. Just knowing others were thinking of me and my dad was a comfort. It was also wonderful to have a few close friends willing to just let me vent and say things that weren’t always nice or selfless.
- Offers to entertain kids. A win-win for everyone in the family: the kids can get a break and have some fun, the parents can spend the time they need at the hospital without worrying about child care.
- Wine and/or chocolate. No words needed.
On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been busy with clients! On my List of 100 Dreams, I stated that I wanted to start my own social media consulting business. I dove in earlier this year and business is starting to pick up. I’m managing social media and digital content for a local non-profit, and I’m starting to take on individuals for social media consulting and strategy development. My focus is on helping individuals and small business owners/entrepreneurs develop a plan for how to use social media to their advantage. My mission is to make social media manageable and not scary for those who know they need it but don’t know where to start. So if that sounds like you or someone you know, send them my way!
A few other things:
* I haven’t forgotten or given up on book recommendations. I couldn’t possibly, as I’ve read some really good stuff this year! That post is next on my list.
* Our twentieth wedding anniversary is coming up in a few weeks! We’re celebrating with an overnight stay at the 21c Hotel in Cincinnati. Twenty years seems absolutely crazy to me – too monumental and respectable for the age and experience I actually feel.
* May looming around the corner reminds me that summer is almost here. I’m at that familiar place where I’m both excited for the laid back pace of summer and panicky that I don’t have a plan for what our summer will look like. This summer feels even more unknown than usual. We’d been tentatively planning for Elena to go to Spain with relatives, but just this week realized it’s not going to work out. We’d left the summer open as we tried to plan around her, but now it’s just … open. I’m hoping to nail down some plans and hopefully arrange a hasty summer trip for the four of us. Any suggestions?
Any big updates or random thoughts you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!