Special Thank You to Dad & Grandfather

I owe great thanks to my dad and grandfather for the gift of … baseball.  Now before you roll your eyes please hear me out.  Baseball is something I shared with them, that I share with my family and that I know our daughter and son will share with their children.  For us, as in A Field of Dreamsthe one constant through all the years … has been baseball.”

It all started, fittingly enough, with a visit to one of the cathedrals of baseball, Boston’s Fenway Park.  My father and grandfather took me to see my first game and, as magic would have it, I left with a foul ball.  When you’re a kid it doesn’t matter that it was given to you by the person in front of you who actually caught it – it’s a major league baseball!  And thus the gift was first unwrapped.

Through my youth I saw a number of games with them, be it in the stadiums of my grandfather’s beloved New York teams or minor league and spring training games with my dad, since we didn’t live in major league towns.  I didn’t matter, I was hooked.

When it came time for ME to play baseball, my dad neither pushed nor held me back.  He simply supported me and was there.  I think often of the times that my dad would hit me fly balls in the street after dinner until it got dark.  It didn’t seem to matter that I primarily played catcher so that skill was not key to my playing, it was just something special we enjoyed together.

When I got married, one of the first things my wife and I got for our first apartment was cable TV, not nearly as big then, because we had moved away from home and wanted to keep up with OUR team, the Braves.  Summer nights watching the Superstation made us forget we didn’t have money for other entertainment (thanks, Ted Turner!).

Once we had our own family, baseball became a family activity.  My weekly softball games were a family outing.  Once our community got its own team, some of our best family time was spent with season tickets at the ballpark.  Cheap seats maybe, but the important thing was being there for the games.

When my son decided he wanted to play baseball, I was pleased and proud that he wanted me there with him as a coach.  Thus started a many-season chapter in our family book of baseball, him playing, me coaching, my wife often coming out of the bleachers to be team mom and our daughter keeping score.  Our teams were seldom the best but my focus was on making sure each player learned and enjoyed baseball.

I am pleased that during these years we moved back near my grandparents and that some of the last times we had with my grandfather were at some of our games.  I know he enjoyed both seeing his grandson coach and his great-grandson play, almost as much as we all enjoyed having him there to share it with us.

The fact that our kids are no longer kids hasn’t impacted this gift we share.  Recently the family, now increased by one son-in-law, came together to go see our Braves play.  While sitting there taking in my family as they enjoyed the game, I could not help but think back to that first game in Fenway Park, certain my grandfather was looking down and thinking the same thing.

You might wonder why I have a (years old) picture of myself with my son here when I am writing about my father and grandfather.  I feel the greatest “thank you” I can give them is in the dad I became and my passing along of the gift they gave to me.

Happy Fathers Day!

Caregiver’s Inspiration

Inspiration –  defined by Merriam Webster as the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.

We all need a little inspiration especially those who are working day in and day out to care for a loved one.  Many days seem so difficult when our names are forgotten, when we get yelled at for trying to help, when we are exhausted from the workload, when we don’t get the help from our family that we think we should and when we feel like all our effort is unappreciated.

The following poem was written by Audrey Hepburn and read aloud at her funeral.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

We thank you for your dedication and love.  Your care is appreciated by your loved one even when they can’t express it as well as those in whose stead you are providing that care!

 

A Tribute to Mom!

 

“All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” – Abraham Lincoln

 

We all have moms, or had, that we love and respect.

Some of us have moms that we see every day and some of us don’t see our moms as often as we like.

We look up to our moms, learn from our moms, and try to be like our moms.

Sometimes we think, “The older I get, the more I look like my mom!” or “I sounded just like my mom!”

Being a great mom takes a lot out of a woman-long hours, crabby kids, dirty floors, being the boss, making decisions, and being a role model just to name a few.  All this with no pay except smiles, hugs and smooches if she was lucky.

“Mother is the one we count on for the things that matter most of all.”

-Katherine Butler Hathaway

 

Our moms inspire us to be all we can be, achieve all we dream and be a better person.

We strive throughout our life to make her proud and raise our children in her image.

We will be forever thankful for the lessons she taught us, the patience she showed us and the unconditional love she shared with us.

My mother was the making of me. She was so true and so sure of me, I felt that I had someone to live for – someone I must not disappoint. The memory of my mother will always be a blessing to me.  -Thomas A Edison

 

With love and affection, we remember our mother’s on this Mother’s Day!

Meeting Our Parents — All Over Again!

Many of us are caregivers to our senior parents.  Some of us are trying to do this from a distance and realize that it is very difficult to meet the needs of aging parents that way and still be comfortable that they are safe.

As a result we have decided to move to be nearer our parents or move our parents to be closer to us.

Oftentimes, we have not lived near our parents for decades.  Our contact with our parents throughout our adult lives has been family get-togethers and holiday visits.  We have gone in and out in a flurry of activity spending time with our loved ones in short spurts.  When we have visited, we saw signs of aging that began to worry us forcing us to make some changes.

We may have longed our entire lives to be closer to our parents, to be able to share fun family times and our children’s lives.  We regret the ball games they didn’t get to attend, the birthday parties they weren’t able to participate in over the years as our children were growing up so fast, the school events they missed, and just the day to day activities that make up a family’s existence.

Once we make the decision to live closer the fun begins!  We now are getting to know our parents as adults.  We are experiencing their quirks firsthand.  We are learning what they have been doing to keep themselves busy throughout the day.  We now know what they eat every day and what they refuse to eat.  We are learning things about them that we never knew before.

Some things we are learning we wish we didn’t know.  We are finding out what they think, how easy they share their opinions-good and bad, and how they are really handling their day to day affairs.

Sometimes this information is surprising, scary and leaves us with a feeling of sadness at how much they really have progressed in their aging process that we didn’t notice before.

We are essentially meeting our parents all over again now that we are able to spend more time with them.  If we can look past how they are able (or unable) to care for themselves, we can discover the things we don’t know.  We can talk about the family tree, their early life, things they did when they were young, their plans for their future, their desires as they continue to age, things in our life that they missed and how important having them close by is to you.  We can finally know them as people.

Let’s all grab the gusto and share our lives each day being thankful that we can finally be together.  Some days it might be harder than others, but in the long run, we will be better for the time we shared.

Vacationing with Senior Loved Ones

Is your senior planning a spring trip or summer vacation?  Are they going alone, with a group of friends, with a church group, with family members or with YOU?

No matter who they go with on a trip, as they age there may be pitfalls for everyone to be prepared to overcome.

What you need to know when you are on a road trip:

  1. Plan, plan and plan.  Know particular laws and customs before you go.
  2. Be sure you are not a victim of crime.  Know where you plan to sightsee and if there are parts of town that you should avoid.  Stay in well-lit areas. Only carry the cash you need in small denominations.   Carry your shoulder bag tucked under your arm and put wallets into front pockets.
  3. Bring the proper clothing and footwear depending on the weather and temperature for the place you will be going.  Ending up in the hospital is no fun time for anyone!
  4. Label your luggage inside and out. Never pack irreplaceable items like medications in your luggage-instead keep with you. Lock your suitcase. Don’t over pack and leave expensive jewelry or family heirlooms at home.
  5. Let someone at home safeguard copies of your documents such as airline tickets, passports, advance directive, driver’s license, medication lists and itinerary.
  6. Travel with emergency phone numbers and contact information for family members.  Keep your important documents with you at all times including medication list with names and dosages as well as an allergy list.
  7. Never leave your car or hotel room unlocked. Store all valuables out of sight.
  8. If traveling abroad, learn a few key phrases in that country’s language such as need help, get police and need medical help or doctor.
  9. Pack an extra pair of eyeglasses in case of loss or breakage.
  10. Select “senior friendly” activities that suit your fitness level and interests.

By planning ahead, preparing for emergencies and staying safe, everyone will relax and enjoy the time of their lives making memories together!