A lot has happened here with The Funny Family. SuperDad got downsized from his job of 10 years, leaving us scrambling to figure out our next steps. We had considered moving to be closer to my family and I even went down to interview for a job there. That didn’t pan out, but in the meantime, Super Dad decided to make a career change, after 20+ years in the same field. *cue my panic attack due to all the unknowns*

So, SuperDad registered for classes and got himself licensed as a real estate agent. He’s now all official and stuff, so he’s hit the ground running. It’s good to see him so excited about his career again and I’m looking forward to see him create his own success instead of depending on people who care nothing about him or our family stringing him along with promises of pay increases and possible new positions that never come to be. I know he’s going to be fantastic at this.

With CityGirl and BittyGirl now in 4th grade and 2nd grade, that left DittyGirl at home with me. BUT WAIT! She got accepted into the public school pre-k program and will be in school as well. *cue my immense excitement* She totally needs the structured day school will provide and the socialization with other kids.

So where does that leave me? Lounging around the house in solitude everyday, sipping adult beverages and eating bon bons, awaiting their arrival home from school? Well, no. I’ve always had a job (or jobs) while I’ve been at home with the girls, but I felt the need for even more change. I’d gotten myself a little part time job outside the home doing really banal tasks that bored me to tears and left me feeling extremely useless. I quickly learned that I needed to find something that would help me feel productive and useful. I decided I wanted to do something that would actually make a difference.

A friend of mine told me I should apply to work with her. She’d recently been hired and would be working the graveyard shift (10pm-6am) part time. My little part time job let me make my own hours and I found working overnight was actually not that bad. So I applied. And I interviewed. And there was a day shift position available. And I got hired. And then it turned out that I could go full time immediately. So I accepted.

I just finished my first full week and I already know I made the best decision for myself and my family. But so much more went into this decision, I feel the need to talk about it. I cried while explaining it to SuperDad. Because it’s emotional and it revolves around people I loved very much. So I’m going to explain.

Elder care isn’t something many people think about. But I do. When my Granpa was in his last years, he was in a nursing home due to strokes and dementia. We visited often, but not as often as my Granny. Granny was there every. single. day. Granny, herself, had emphysema, so this wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for her either. But she was there by her husband’s side every day. Granpa got GREAT care. The nurses were attentive and jumped whenever he needed assistance. But as we walked through the halls to get to his room, I didn’t see everyone getting the same care. And as an 11-year-old, this made me sad. Knowing many of these folks didn’t even have family coming to see them broke my heart.

Years ago, before I even met SuperDad, I worked in a nursing home. I started as a receptionist, but was quickly promoted to an Activities Assistant. Soon after that, my immediate supervisor put in her notice and I was promoted to a management position as the Activities Director. I loved my job. I loved my residents. It was my favorite job ever. Still is to this day. When I got the job, Granny told me that I had better treat those folks like family, and I promised I always would. I loved joking around with them and listening to them talk about their lives. They saw so much history happening around them. I threw a birthday party for a resident who turned 100 years old and made a list of all the things that were invented during her lifetime. It was quite eye opening.

So, here I am now, about 14 years later. I am a caregiver at a local assisted living facility. I still remember my promise to my Granny. It’s certainly not what anyone would consider a glamorous position. But I get to treat these residents the way I would want my family treated. I get to help make their day brighter. I get to listen to them tell me about their lives. I’ve only been there 5 days, and I already know a good bit about many of the residents. One worked for the state for over 35 years. Another lived in Alaska and loved it there. One never had children. One woman loves to be sarcastic and joke around with the staff. One woman can’t handle not being a help and insists on clearing the tables after breakfast. There’s a couple who just moved in and the husband is always telling his wife how much he loves her and that he loves looking over to see her pretty face. They sit on the front porch, their heads leaning against each other while they talk.

This is my extended family. These are the people I leave my house to help take care of and then I come home and love on my own family. It’s not just a job, it’s a privilege.

SisterFriend sent this to me this week, and it couldn’t be more perfect: