Remember When We Thought This Was A Good Idea

notes, observations and musings on a life that took me by surprise

Archive for the tag “parents”

Thanks

I haven’t written anything in a while.  My dad died in late January, and a bleak February and March didn’t have me in the mood for blogging.  It just took one thing, one rather odd thing, that has stuck in my craw to bring me back.

I am the Chair of the Parent Council at my children’s school.  My first started at the school 10 years ago, it will be another 6 before the last one graduates.  For all of the past 10 years I have been involved with the Parent Council.  I have been Chair several times.  I organize fun fairs, movie nights, pasta dinners, guest speakers, hot lunch days fundraisers and field trips.

I would say that I don’t need to be thanked, but, I kinda do.

Our school board organizes a thank you breakfast for parent volunteers.  Each school gets a table of 10, usually the principal, vp, and the rest are parent volunteers.  In the years that our current principal has been at the school we have never attended the breakfast. I have enquired about it, and he usually plays it that he is doing me a favor, he knows who busy we moms are and he doesn’t want to put another item on our agendas.

Hmmmm.Yeah, no.

See the thing, is at almost all schools there is a core group of volunteers, usually stay at home moms or moms who work part-time, who do the most of the work.  Then there are tons of parents who come out to help on the day of big events, like fun fairs and pasta dinners.  Nothing would happen without that army and about 99% of them come and spend 3 or 4 hours volunteering after a full day of work.  We are all busy. No one is really looking for another thing to do, but this is different.

This breakfast is the one day of the year, the one event that I can attend that I haven’t organized.  I can  come as a guest. I get treated as a guest. I don’t have to set up or clean up or anything else.  The whole thing is wrapped up by about 9:30am.set.

When I found out that this years breakfast had come and gone, I was upset.  I spoke to other volunteers, who were not surprised that we were left out again.  For a while I felt foolish that I was so mad about missing this event, but as time passed I realized I have every right to be mad. The administration at our school would have been given lots of notice about this event.  There was plenty of time to organize a table. I am being told it is not worth 2 hours of their time to say thank-you to myself and the other members of our Parent Council who put so  much time and energy into  helping with these days that the kids love so much, and , often make quiet a bit of money for the school.

I can’t speak for all the parent volunteers, but I don’t  need to be thanked all the time for every little thing, but that it would mean the world to me to think  that they thought enough of us to take time for this one Thank You.

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Wish You Were Here

Four years ago this month my mother died.   My sister died a few months earlier.  They both had cancer, my sister lived for 10 months after her diagnosis, my mother for 6 days.

My siblings and I knew that my father was beginning to show signs of memory loss and that the death of my sister, the oldest child, had been very hard on him.  Our mother kept telling us that he was worse than we knew – she was right.  When she passed so suddenly his care fell entirely into our laps.  We kept him at home.  The man was 80 years old, had just lost his wife and daughter, was losing his memory, and there was no way we were going to make him leave the house he had called home for 60 years. We managed this by taking shifts, someone with him all night, someone else all day. We managed this way for almost 2 years. Then he became very ill, and he went to hospital. He was so sick.  He just kept asking to go home. So we brought him home, to die.  He didn’t die though, and we realized, even with the home care we now had to help us, caring for him at home was no longer an option.  He was declared a crisis placement and put in a nursing home.  He has been there for just over 2 years now.  He is in his own world, rarely speaking, not knowing any of us.

Death is hard. My mother and sister were sick and then they were gone. I missed them. I miss them. Somehow, there was a way to make sense of their deaths. I could explain to my kids that while one of their aunts, had cancer and had an operation and got better, not everyone is that fortunate.

What my dad is going through is much harder to handle.  He is both here and gone, quiet literally  a shell of his former self. The kindest man I know, the one who saw and/or spoke to 5 children and 14 grandchild daily, stopped knowing us. He stopped calling us by name, and because the cruelty of dementia knows no bounds he began swearing and acting violently. My dad who told me he loved me every time we spoke was now telling me to fuck off.

What gets me through this  is my siblings.  We have always been close, both emotionally and geographically.  I am thankful everyday that we like each other and we love to laugh.  When I think about my mom, I know that, the love we still have for each other would make her proud.

I was supposed to write this post to my “dream reader”. Really I think my dream reader is someone who “gets” me.  These events, the death of my mother and sister, the way my father is drifting away, have changed me and shaped my world view more than any others.  I guess if I was going to pick specific dream readers it would be my mom and dad,  figures.

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