When I was young and living at home with my parents, every night my mom would pack lunches for my dad, my brother and myself to take to work and school. I remember she would be thrilled when the weekend or a holiday came and she did not have to pack lunches for anyone. The interesting thing was, she didn’t have to pack lunches but she set about making exceptional meals, which took so much more of her time. But this was what she ‘chose to do.’
All of us I’m sure have routine chores we have to do.
When my dad came to live with Dave and I during his last years, it seemed that I was running a diner, as he would only eat certain foods and it was never what we were having. I would also have to be sure to dispense the 13 pills he was taking. Inviting my dad in to live with us is not something we had to do, it was something Dave and I ‘chose to do.’
When Dave became ill, different routine chores presented themselves. Driving him to doctors appointments, his medications, vocal coaching, and later helping him with clothes, shaving and other needs – there were times I felt exhausted but it was something I had ‘chosen to do.’
To shift one’s mindset from something ‘you have to do’ to something ‘you choose to do’ makes all the difference.
Time and distance can bring about a reframe in perception. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to care for my children, my dad and then my husband. I know my mom felt that way about caring for her family.
One thing we might want to remember is whenever the ego starts complaining we are really up to something big; and that is caring for one another.