I decided to go look at my old “thoughtful” posts from February to see what I had already posted on love.
Then I found this old post from 3 years ago that I never posted. I don’t know why it was never posted, when I had written the whole post and even added pictures and printables, but I want to share it with you today.
This originally should have been posted a couple of weeks after Valentine’s Day, and I had titled it, “Love Does not Need to End Just Because Valentine’s Day is Over.” I left this the way I wrote it 3 years ago, and added a few notes on the bottom.
Last week, I was rebuked in my soul.
Family is very important to my husband and me. Growing up, neither one of us came from a family that was financially wealthy, but we were rich in our family’s love for each other. “Blood is thicker than water” was instilled in us at a very early age.
Now I am grown with five children of my own, and I have told people, “I may not have a lot of money, but I have five children. We may not be able to retire in style, but that’s why we have five kids–they can take care of us!”
And I would get responses such as, “That’s not the way it is anymore.” “Kids don’t take care of their parents these days.”
And I would vehemently oppose that. I would think, “But it doesn’t have to be that way!”
Now, I know of course that sometimes parents need more help than children can give and that it is in the parent’s best interest to get them some help. I am just opposed to the idea that children don’t want to mess up their lives to take care of aging parents. I feel that it is my responsibility to do as much as I can to take care of the parents who invested their lives and money into the raising of my husband and me.
So I blithely continued on my way. And then last week, I got a wake-up call.
I decided to call my grandma who is 91. She lives eight hours away from me and her son does a great job making sure her physical needs are met. But while I’m on the call, she tells me that I am her favorite grandchild. (Shh–don’t tell my sisters and cousins!)
Now probably part of the reason for this is because I went to stay with her for a couple months right after my grandpa died unexpectedly. My grandma was only 64, and she had 50 cows to care for on the farm, hay growing up around her, fences that had to be mended, and she just lost the love of her life. Her life had revolved around him for over 40 years, and now he was suddenly gone. So as an eleven year old girl, I helped carry pails of water out to the barn dressed up in her old sweater. We would go down in the basement and stack her wood for the next winter. I would hold the hammer as she fixed the fence out in the hay fields. We would take turns pushing that old push lawnmower around her huge yarn. And we would play card games and make grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. I gave her a reason to keep living–she just couldn’t stop as she had to take care of me. She took me to church as she knew that is what my parents would have wanted–and she made new friends.
A few years ago, I also took care of her for a few weeks after she had been sick. I was the only one able to do it, but the caretakers came in my house, and she always felt a little bad about that seeing I had 3 very small children at the time.
But another reason is that I call her periodically. However, it had been two months since I had called her–and that smote me to think that she thought so highly of me, yet I was too busy to call my own grandmother who now is stuck in her house most of the week. And I say that I expect my children to take care of me some day?
How do I pass on that love for the elderly, that love for family, if I talk the talk but do not walk the walk?
Well, we had already decided that we were going to go visit some Senior Citizens who live in a retirement center right by our house for Valentine’s Day. I feel that my kids “get, get, get,” and that for Valentine’s Day, we should show some love to others that are not just their friends. So we prepared a plate of goodies for the three apartments we were going to–and I packed a box of goodies to mail to my grandma.
We were able to go visit these people on the Monday before Valentine’s Day, and it was such a special occasion! The one couple used to live in Germany. They were 13 years old when the war started. I can’t wait to hear their story one day. The other couple is close to 90 years old as well. They had a display of shells and sea stars under glass that the kids loved seeing, and the last lady had a teacup Maltese that my kids absolutely adored.
To tell the truth, we got more of a blessing out of it than they did! Two couples have already sent us Thank You notes–talk about good manners that are lost today as well!
And what did we learn from it? That love does not have to end just because Valentine’s Day is over. We have already told them that we want to visit them more in the summer when we can have later nights and we can go outside (their apartments are small for 7 additional people–5 of them being rambunctious children!)
I do not know for sure that my kids will care for me when I am older and frail, but I hope that they at least will have a love for the elderly and those who need help — and that is my job to teach right now!
It does not have to be complicated. It can be just a conversation, a card, a phone call, or a hug. When we went, I just took a paper plate, punched some holes in around the edge, ran some ribbon through the holes, and tied a bow at the top. I tied it up in some basket cellophane wrap that I had and attached a tag I made. I did not want my children to have the excuse that you have to go out and buy something big to go show love. Even those who do not have much can be a blessing to others.
We can still show love to others all year long!
If you would like to print out these little cards for yourself, just click on them!
Update to this post:
My grandma is still alive at 94, but doesn’t remember me unless she sees me as she has dementia. She is now in a nursing home as she needs too much care for her 70 year old son to give her.
I called her recently and said, “This is Tammy — your favorite granddaughter!” She said, “Well, I don’t know about that, but thanks for calling!” She still has a sense of humor even with her dementia. I don’t call her like I should. This post was a reminder of what I need to do as a daughter and granddaughter.
The husband of the couple that I mentioned that we went to see from Germany just passed away a couple of weeks ago. What a sweet couple they were!
Now we live in Florida and are in a church that is comprised of 60% of the congregation being over the age of 65. Before Christmas, another mom and I were taking 1-2 of our children weekly to go visit different elderly people in our church who needed encouragement. They are so kind and loving and full of wisdom. We need to start going on visits again. We also go swimming in a couple of the pools that are owned by elderly widows in our church. They have become 2nd moms/grandmas to our family.
Things come and go. Relationships and people are what matter. Take time to nurture the people in your life!
Here are some other Valentine’s Day posts you may be interested in viewing:
- 75+ Free Printable Valentines
- 8 DIY Non-Food Valentines
- Printable Valentine Cards with Crayon Hearts
- Printable Frozen Valentine’s Day Cards
- Easy Valentine’s Day Cookies
- Valentine Rice Krispie Treats
- Valentine Seven Layer Bars
- Cheap DIY Valentine’s Day Crafts with What You Already Have
- 9 Minute to Win It Games for Valentine’s Day
Here are a couple of posts I enjoyed last week:
- The Good Shepherd from MississippiMom.com
- Why You Need a Mommy Daughter’s Day and 75 Ideas for What to Do from Kandy Apple Mama
- Dealing with Disappointment from Jennifer Lambert
- The ONE thing I did that transformed my relationship with my daughter from Sarah E Koontz
- 6 Ways To Change Our Words From Negative To Positive from This Blessed Mom
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