October 19, 2008

Care for the Caregiver Retreat

Yesterday, CREDO (Navy chaplain org) offered a day retreat for those in the role of caregiver. It was 7 hours, and they provided childcare free! I honestly didn't care if it was the most boring 7 hours of my life-I knew I had to take advantage of it. Two of my favorite MOPS moms joined me. All of our kids are used to playing with each other, which made them all feel like they were just getting a really long play date! (By the way-these are 2 great friends. One brought me a strawberry cake Fri night just because I had such a hard week.)

It turned out not to be boring at all. We had 4 themed sessions that would introduce a topic, and then we went around the table answering discussion questions. Here were a few things that stuck with me:

  1. Explanation of why to use "I" instead of "you" when answering a question-In our English language, we tend to use the word "you" when describing incidents. This allows us to disassociate from our feelings and experiences. Using "I" makes us take ownership and "reclaim" our story.
  2. Stress Assessment-I took one of these a year ago and my numbers were off the charts. It was encouraging to take the assessment this time and score in the borderline high stress. And some of the things that added to my score occurred a few months ago and aren't happening any more. It's nice to be reminded that stress comes in waves, and it can decrease!!
  3. "When I weave, I weave." We watched a video of a photographer from National Geographic, who walked us through what his process is in discovering the best shot. He was once assigned to photograph a weaver, and when he asked her what she thinks about while she's weaving, she said simply, "When I weave, I weave." I must practice that discipline of simplicity. When I'm with one of my children, I'm with them. When I listen to a friend, she has my full attention. When I'm driving, I'm ONLY driving!
The chaplain invited a friend of hers to visit with us during lunch. His name is Keith Barany, and he's a comedian who has done a bunch of stuff. He currently writes for Jimmy Kimmel, although it's not in his bio. He was funny, except for the one question I asked, "What's Jimmy Kimmel like?" Suddenly he had only one word, "Nice". It was awkward! But he had some good jokes, and I guess his emphasis is PG Comedy.

Leading up to Sat, the organizers were asking me all kinds of questions about Sam's illness. Her breathing treatments & chest PT are done in the morning and at night, but she has to take her enzymes before she eats (in other words, all day). At one point I thought they may not let me come, but they allowed me to go into the childcare room to administer her meds throughout the day. I couldn't help but think of the women not present because they care for children who have really difficult special needs. Those women can't go to something like this, and my heart breaks for them.

One cute thing that happened. When I went to the kid's room for the morning snack, the workers realized that Timothy and Samantha were siblings. Samantha had called Caedmon (Amber's son) "my brother". I think the workers really thought they were brother and sister for a while. Ironically, as they were telling me the story, Timothy said, "Caedmon is my brother, too". Sweet, sweet friends.

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