Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Caretaker: Part 2

    In the last post, I thought aloud about how enriching and satisfying the role of caretaker can be.  It also occurred to me that my own children have had very little experience in this role.  For one thing, there are only two of them and their age difference was not sufficient enough to make one the caretaker of the other.  And, again, there were only two of them - no little siblings to watch over.  Our friends tended to be couples with kids about the same age or older than ours so our children didn't even get a chance to care for the small children of friends.  Their dad and I were self sufficient and the kids  seldom, I am sure, thought to take care of us.  Sure, they made cards and acknowledged occasions but Michael took care of his chores, I took care of my chores, and the kids pretty much did their handful of obligatory chores and their homework.  Somehow, I doubt they ever thought to take care of us in the way that kids in big families often pitch in as a necessary caretakers for parents or siblings.  My kids didn't even have an abundance of pets.  We had a couple of kitties but these were outside animals who essentially only required food, water, and attention.  In short, they went into young adulthood with few opportunities to experience the role of caretaker.   I wonder, now, how much my grown children have missed by not being able to take care of someone.  I wonder if it is harder for them to ask for help because they don't realize how wonderful it feels to be able to respond to someone who needs you.

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