Friday, August 20, 2010
Holding down a job
We experienced many changes in our life because of Michael’s progressive rare disease, SIOD. As Michael’s physical changes started occurring, accommodating them became a full time job. It became clear to me that not only did we need to make changes in our home and in our transportation, but in my employment as well in order to support Michael’s rapidly changing physical and emotional needs. Quite honestly, so many changes occurred during those years that it would be impossible to list them all. One thing I knew for sure, despite mounting uncertainty, was that I had to accept constant change as a way of life in order to keep some kind of balanced flow to my family’s life.
One morning I was explaining to Michael that the following week I was going to start another new job that would allow me to be at home more. Seated in his wheelchair, he looked up at me and said, “Mom, are you having trouble holding down a job?” You can about imagine what thoughts were running through my head after that statement! All I could do was laugh, hug him and reassure him that was definitely not the case. The real truth- I was changing jobs again to be more readily available to him as his body was failing and his day to day life was becoming more difficult.
Many parents are packing up their sons and daughters this week recounting many of those same types of decisions made with deep parental love. Choices that have required great sacrifice yet were made somewhat effortless simply because parents love their children and want to provide an ease to certain areas of their life.
Lots of these parents are now entering into a new season of life, often referred to as “the empty nest”. What appears to be a new season for mom and dad is really just going back to where they began. Will they remember what it was like? They have the opportunity, maybe for the first time in almost eighteen years, to apply a fresh new focus to their life. Inadvertently, lending confidence to the many changes occurring for their children, sparking renewal in everyone.
As a mother, it seems as if it was easier to make changes that were centered on a need for one of my children. Now it is much more difficult to make when it is centered on me. Walking on the bumpy road of grief I am learning that by placing a new value on the ways I take care of myself, I teach others to do the same. It's a daily search for a healthy balance between meeting the needs of others and my own, completely surrounded by grace. Seeking that balance helps me wear the changes I am experiencing in my own type of empty nest season. Addressing my needs first allows me to give my best self to those around me, equipping each of us with what is required to keep moving forward even though changes have occurred. It’s a balanced order I admit is not easy to change as a mother, but is necessary especially as children leave the nest.
In the past, I might have had some trouble holding down a job in Michael's view. But I can honestly say, it was worth it, any mother would. My family often says that we don’t like change, but now we say, Be the Change.