The Intrepid Coach

The Intrepid Blog

Giving it up

I knew I can’t be clinging on forever.

My privacy, my independence, my control.

My parents are aging. For the past 27+ years, they’ve been co-caregivers of my son while I worked. My dad picks him after school and he’d be with my parents till I’m done at work, which can be quite late at times. When I travelled, he stayed with them the whole time. If I couldn’t take him for any appointments, my dad stepped in.

Well, my dad is past 80 … we, his kids, have jointly decided he should stop driving. Both he and my mom have ongoing ailments one expects of senior citizens. It was no longer sustainable for them to ‘baby’-sit for anything more than the odd occasion.

Three weeks ago, my live-in help came into my household.

For months before that, I was trying to convince myself that I needed one. I didn’t want one – I blamed the size of my apartment. No one would be able to handle my son as well as I can etc etc.

But I knew it was a practical decision, it just wasn’t one I was happy about. I even postponed her start date by a few days so that I’d have one final weekend all by myself!

First week … I hovered. I briefed. I reminded. I corrected her over and over again. I must have been so annoying.

At the end of each day, I would text my other half and let him know all the stuff I could do and all the stuff I didn’t have to do, because she was around. Kind of like journaling – but for a very specific purpose. So that when I feel resentful, he can remind me of how much load she has taken off me. I knew I needed to change my perspective of a live-in helper from an intruder to … well, a help!

I would intentionally do things (like go for a run late on a week night) and make plans that I usually couldn’t, without a lot of prep. So that I can appreciate her presence.

Last Sat, I hosted some friends for lunch at my home. For the first time, all I had to do was rock up to the stove and cook! All food prep and clean up taken care of by the helper – I made certain I recorded that.

Housekeeping isn’t her priority. My son is. My directive to her is as clear as can be (I think!) – he is my # 1, so he has to be her # 1.

She gets him ready for the day activity centre, brings him down when the school bus comes but goes to pick him up in the afternoon to come home. The half hour when they are both in transit is what constantly worries me.

I shadowed them for a few days and had a couple of near heart attacks – she didn’t pay attention to the bus arrivals, and missed a stop getting off once. I didn’t think she stayed close enough to be able to react if needed and ‘nagged’ her about it. My son has a tracker on him and I’m glued to the app monitoring his location during that time. She texts me at every stop of the journey – when she reaches the centre, when they are at the bus stop etc.

But after a week, she has proven that she could safely bring my son home to me each day. I stopped updating the other half about this.

Can you remember when you’ve had to depend on someone else?

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