Several years ago I saw an email that recounted the answers of children when they were asked to give the definition of a mother. One answer really stuck with me:
A mother is somebody who always comes when you’re sick in the middle of the night. She may say ‘Damn,’ but she always comes.
When I was a caregiver, there were mornings when I wanted to sleep in, but I crawled out of bed because Mom and Dad wouldn’t understand if their cereal wasn’t on the table and the coffee wasn’t ready when they woke up. Sometimes I wanted check out a shoe sale while I was running errands, but Mom would get restless and fretful if I wasn’t home by the time The Price Is Right was over. Occasionally, I wanted to have popcorn and ice cream for dinner, but I knew what that would do to Dad’s blood sugar.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
On the other hand, I always set my alarm early so my husband David and I could go for a walk or a bicycle ride before Mom and Dad woke up, and eventually I brought in a sitter once a week so I could shop, visit with friends, or go out on the motorcycle. As a caregiver, you need to be available when you’re needed, but you also need to maintain enough of your own life to stay sane. If Jesus needed to take a break now and then, so do you. If something happens to you, who will care for your loved one?
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. Mark 6:31