Yes folks, the rumors ARE true. Vernon’s dogged determination over the entire two years I have been here, has finally paid off. The application process for licensure (Mass LICSW) has begun in earnest. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it was a good idea. It just didn’t seem that a Social Work job was a credible option for a calendar filled 24/7 with caregiver demands. Even the Care.com jobs that have paid for Pilates, and Sculling related fees in the past are forced to take a back-seat to increasing home-focused care needs.
Yet after unearthing the strengths (Either Way Time Passes), that I am still trying to upload, I began to consider all the skill sets that inform my reality. Cataloguing the kinds of projects I enjoy doing for others, and will spontaneously drop previously scheduled chores for, has led to a renewed interest in and focus on work from home opportunities that may improve the quality of this small measure of life. The truth is I am curious about who professional me has become through all these transformations and learnings.
In the afternoons, all my charges seem to have higher needs, as in, “You aren’t serious. Are you telling me that the laundry is MORE important than a walk?” or “Oh, I thought you were doing something but you’re only on the computer writing your blog. Did you pay the water bill yet?” Yet on March 1rst, perhaps sensing the importance of my decision to set the timer for one hour and close the door to the office, both Molly and Thunder laid down by mom and they all had a nap. Not once for an entire hour did a living soul push open the door, left slightly ajar in case of emergency.
I am surprised how much I enjoy remembering developmental stages and factors that influence behavior. Of course, there were some things, such as having an opportunity to reconsider which defense mechanisms I currently use, that were not as much fun. Time passed quickly until the last five minutes, which were torture, but only because I had been sipping tea the entire time and have an aging bladder. When the bell dinged and the door opened, three heads came up, and I was immediately rewarded with delicious moments in the falling snow, celebrated by hilarious furry friends whose antics were delightful.
Not all the sessions are quite so easy, yet I have remained steadfast in my (so far) good-natured insistence that unless someone is bleeding, choking, or in need of serious medical attention I will attend to everything when the particular days studies are complete. I have made my way through the DSM–IV-TR (fourth edition, text revision) section – UGH – and begin Pharmacology today. In truth, I have begun to look forward to each session being accompanied by the syncopated rhythms of nail clacking, slipper shuffling, and choruses of “I think Molly might need to go out.”
All of this renewed focus has reinforced my strong desire to live more consistently. For example, I say that I value the fact that each person in my life who has crossed my path has been important and yet I spent way too much time reading useless facts about teeth restoration I can’t afford instead of finding them and making amends.
This realization unfortunately, led to finding a memorial page for an old friend in Toronto who was tragically lost to a weather related small plane accident. Amazingly, an overwhelming sense of sadness created an opportunity to reconnect with Dena and Linda, who in another life twenty-three years ago, were my twin sisters-in-law. Hearing about the strong successful women they have become, and seeing pictures of the beautiful lives they have created, and nurtured has been a lovely homecoming to long ago discarded parts.
In preparation for rowing season, after a month’s hiatus following the virtual rowing challenge, a commitment to three sessions on the erg add a palpable sense of renewed vitality. It feels great to have a focus again amidst the chaotic, often unstructured, unpredictable high demand world of end of life caregiving.
Inspiration comes everyday, in tiny ways. Re-collecting dropped threads of friends reminds that time is short, and incredibly worth paying attention to. Periods of exhaustion and high frustration are interspersed with laughter and great conversation with mom. Some days, just when I think we are in danger of losing all this hard-won grace, there is a surprise, like a middle of the day phone call from my beloved. New adventures and discoveries await. There are neighbors and friends who care and evidence all around, within and without – the light is returning and growing stronger.