Before I even arrived home from my vacation, I had prepared a list of things I needed to do. I knew there would be a lot of mail and other things waiting for me and I wanted to have an organized approach.
As I began to complete items on my list, I would cross them off. However, each day new items seemed to come up and get added to the list. So the first full day home I bought groceries for me and dad and I went to the library for books for myself. The next day I went for my blood test and picked up some prescriptions. The following day I took my car in for inspection at the mall. While it was being worked on I shopped for gift cards for dad’s companions and got my purse strap fixed.
The following week I went to 3 medical appointments. Unfortunately, I had to make follow-up appointments with two of the physicians I saw. So – cross of three and add two items to the list. And so it went – as items were crossed off, other things came up. Then dad asked about getting a television and more items were added to the list. Each day one item was crossed off the list.
After 4 weeks at home I now have completed many tasks – some of which were on the original “To-Do” list, and some were not. However, here I am after 4 weeks and my “Revised To do List” is longer than my original list was.
I now realize this is a never-ending cycle. I will finish all the tasks I had set out when I arrived at home. It may take me until mid-June to do so. But by then, I will have new tasks added to my list. I have to view this as just another part of my life. As long as I can fit in some fun tasks in between all the duty tasks, I will be making progress.
I try to schedule one or two pure fun activities each week. I meet at the clubhouse one afternoon each week for cards and games with my friends. I go to the library and book club regularly. I see my son and grandson every Sunday (at dad’s). I attend family get-togethers at my daughter’s home and see my children and grandchildren and other family members. If the weather improves, I will get back to my relaxing walks in the sun. (I had counted on that happening sooner, but the weather has regressed back to winter!)
I feel good about all that I have accomplished in my first month home. I know I will continue to be busy caring for dad, spending time with my children and grandchildren and doing those tasks for my own daily living – maintaining my health and my home. Now it is time for me to drop the pressure to accomplish at least one thing on my list every day. I will just go forward doing what needs to be done and stopping to smell the flowers along the way.
As I do, I wonder about the rest of you who are also caring for family members. Do you find yourself constantly keeping lists and checking things off? Do you feel like you can ignore the list for a day or more and just relax? Maybe I’m just a list maker at heart. I remember my children had the “Frog and Toad”book where one character makes a list of tasks for the day. It starts with “1. Make a list”. Then he crosses that item off the list and goes on to number 2. Maybe that is just me!