Monday, April 29, 2013

Breaks Are Nice

This week-end the oldest stayed at a friends, the went roller skating, camped out on her back porch which is 2 stories up and had a blast being a kid!

Out of all the grands, she always needs the break because she is always in the hypervigilant role of caring for her sibling's, or helping a friend with homework or something where as the oldest, she is the one in charge and sometimes she needs a break from being in charge!

I have been having frequent what I thought was silent migraines which cause dancing lights, odd sensations in my head, hands, fingers, gives me tunnel vision and I feel yuck for days.  No pain thankfully, so I was trying to quilt between these spells yesterday.

It needs to be ironed, but so far in spite of my vision issues, I think it is coming along. I am hoping to work on it this morning and see how things go as I still feel that odd sensation behind my right eye telling me to take it easy.

So, my quilt is all laid out on the table, fabric scraps are all over, I am in my usual grubby clothes and comes a knock on the door.  

There were 2 of our old neighbors and I was so happy to see them, I really didn't care what I looked like.  They had taken time out of their day to drive 40+ miles to stop by and see our new home and to take us to lunch!

Oh well, take the kids to lunch!  I had to go pick up the oldest so didn't get a chance to go this time around, but it was so nice of them to come by and try to give me a little break!

Taking the kids to lunch, I got to drive into a new area of Olympia I had never seen and have some peace for 30 minutes but those darn lights started dancing around my eyes again. Luckily by the time I picked oldest one up, they were gone!

Breaks are nice!  They are so welcome by those that work all week...they look forward to those week-ends even if they aren't Saturday and Sunday.

Breaks are nice, husbands take little ones away from family to recharge whether it be a beer with buddies, fishing alone, hunting with friends or working on a race car.  No work pressures, no honey do lists, just time to do what they want.

Breaks are nice, wives head to Vegas with friends, go on shopping lunches, attend clubs during the week or get their hair done...time for them, time to relax!

Breaks are nice, Foster Parents have them in the form of Respite sitters, so when they want to go out, have some time to themselves, they schedule a respite sitter ahead of time and they get a break!

Breaks are nice for parents when grandparents come and give them a needed time out from the kiddies so grandma and grandpa can spoil them to pieces.

But what happens when you don't get a break?  When you don't have anyone to take the kids so you can unwind, spend some one on one time with your spouse or for that matter even yourself?

What about those grandparents that are raising their grandchildren and have no one to give them that break or the newly widowed mother, father or spouse?  Who gives them a break?

When we lived in Arizona, I had a wonderful hair dresser named Deb and when she found out I was raising my grandchildren as her mother raised her sisters children when her sister passed on, she gifted me with a hair cut, color and waxing.

I paid for her services, but I paid so little I felt guilty until she told me to stop trying to tip her and robbing her joy.  It was a wonderful feeling to know I had that time once a month for me!

But many grandparents don't have that.  I am almost 60 years old, I feel old, I look old and I don't like it!  But I know to get my hair cut and colored would cost me over $100, so I have told my family I am growing my hair long for them.

I volunteered for an organization for a short time in Phoenix known as Fresh Start Women's Center  and what was amazing was they had Self-Esteem Services to help women.

At the time I was simply blown away and now they even offer more services:
  • Wardrobe
  • Make-up
  • Hair
  • Skin Care
  • Body Work
  • Image Consultant
How amazing is that? Not all of the services are free, but come on, most there are a charge for is $5 and while they offered on a first come, first serve basis, it is so worth it to have this for the community.

What would happen if churches began to offer these services on a once a month, every 3 month or regular basis for grandparents?  Perhaps begin the day with a brunch or end the day with a catered dinner?

But create a day where they are not only pampered (men as well), but are allowed to take some fun classes to help them along in their journey.

I for one, never raised girls, this pre-teen girl drama drives me crazy and I don't know how to entertain them, do their hair, etc.  How I would love to take a class for a few hours where I can learn to straighten, crimp or fancy braid girls hair.

Fresh Start also offers lots of other services for just women:
  • Family Law and Document Prep and many grandparents raising grandchildren would love to be able to just ask questions without paying legal fees or have someone help them with guardianship paperwork.
  • Mentoring    
  • GED Program
  • Financial classes
  • Even on-line classes
This wonderful organization was started by 2 wonderful women Pat and Bev who wanted to help women and help them they did!  All it takes is vision!

I will never forget the first young lady I met sitting at the front desk.  She walked into the beautiful lobby and she was just sobbing. 

Her boyfriend left her and even took her babies diapers to sell for drugs.  She had used the last bit of her money to put gas in her moms car which she borrowed to drive to Fresh Start and it had just blown the radiator in the parking lot, she was a mess!

The poor girl didn't want to call her mom as she felt she had already let her down so much, calling her to tell her she broke her car was going to devastate any hope she had left.  It didn't. Her dad came down, replaced a hose and told her to stay as long as she needed to they would watch her little one.

She went into a meeting and I never saw her after that on my volunteer days and I wondered about her.  Then one day, I ran into her going into Target in our area and asked how she was!

She wasn't that same young girl I saw. She was beaming from ear to ear, her mom was beaming. Seems she took the classes, listened to what was being said, took the self-esteem classes and one day a local bank manager was teaching a class and was so impressed, she hired her!

This young lady had a good job, her own apt, a new used car and forever a support system behind her she could rely on whether it be her family or Fresh Start!  I was proud to have been a part of that.

Grandparents raising grandchildren need this type of support, this type of a break as do widows and widowers in our church and community.

How many widows I knew at our last church that had no family to help them repair a flat tire, go with them to a mechanic, replace the screen door, repair the (fill in blank) and yet we have people in our churches that would be willing to help if they only knew they were needed!

Why is it we isolate ourselves from those in need?  I was never taken up on the offer, but I also told a young mother in our area, if she ever needed a nap or to run to the grocer, I would be more than willing to watch her 2 little ones!

Sometimes it is those who we think are so strong, so independent and don't need anyone, it is those who need help the most. I know, I am the one who always tells others I am fine.

Then you have those strangers who see right through you, who you have never met that show up at your door step with Spaghetti, French Bread and say, ' I heard your wife had back surgery and I just wanted to help.'

Trust me, those breaks are important!            

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