This has been one 'New Year' that I did not expect. I've taken care of a sick parent before. Just a couple years ago, I was helping with my mom. Now, here I am taking care of my second ill (and recovering) parent, my dad. I left many important parts of my life behind to take on this mission. I left my kids, husband, job, home, friends, all that is 'comfortable' to me.
While my brother and I have achieved tremendous strides getting Dad home and accomplished all the legal aspects of protecting him and his corner of the empire he built in this world, it's the little things that are humbling. Day in and day out, I do 'little' things for my dad. I make breakfast, retrieve the newspaper from the front yard, straighten the pillows, drive him to appointments, lay out his clothes. I think the most humbling for me is helping Dad shave. As a small child, watching your dad shave is interesting. As an adult-child caregiver, watching your dad shave is humbling. So if it's breakfast he wants, a ride to get a haircut, help dialing the phone so he can talk to a friend, I'll do it. No question.
In doing these 'little' things for my dad, I think of my favorite saint, Therese of Lisieux. She is the patron saint of illnesses and missions. She practiced little vitures to achieve great deeds. Her theme was of littleness: 'The Little Way'.
"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."
There will come a time when the tables will turn and I will be returning to Colorado, leaving yet another important part of my life behind. But knowing that I did everything possible to make Dad happy and help him restore his health, independence, and dignity makes the return easier. I don't mind doing the little things for my dad. He's my dad!