Sunday, September 24, 2006

Caregiving Metaphysics Parenting

Parenting ‘competed’ with caregiving for my attention that morning of Patti’s first MS exacerbation and every morning in the years to come.

Patti could never again safely hold or carry our daughter, never changed another diaper, and couldn’t read to her … you get the picture.

On the other hand, I was blessed with an opportunity denied to most males. Raising a daughter as the nurturing parent and sharing the wide eyed wonder of childhood was beyond priceless.

At first I was overwhelmed. With confidence came the relaxation to enjoy childhood. I may have learned as much from playing with Barbie’s as from the world’s great philosophers.

There has been some debate over which of us would grow up first Megan or me. The first time you grow up everyone is in such a rush.

There were some things I never saw coming such as the first menstrual bleeding. Hey! I’m a guy raising a daughter, when did she get to be a young woman?

I would do the single digit years again any time any place. The teen years, once is enough.

Parenting & Caregiving also had a dark side and eventually I could no longer work full time. With Patti’s progression, bladder and bowel incontinence plus outbursts of emotional lability were potential nightmares with Megan and her friends playing at the house after school. There is only so much a young child can do for a parent. I had to be there. Again, it’s about choice. I chose family.

We worked to keep the family together. We began to divide time up between ‘family activities’ and ‘able bodied activities’. After all Megan would have to live in an able bodied world. So many things can only be learned by doing them.

Megan, at age 16, and we as a family faced her Mother’s admittance to a 24/7 care facility. That’s more than unusual at an age when most kids are trying to fly under the radar.

Home caregiving rarely stands alone. In ‘our story’ parenting was an equal partner from 18 months to 18 years.


  1. Patrick, Megan sounds like she has become a well-balanced young woman!  As you said, it was all a choice. Just think what you would have missed by making a different choice for YOUR life as well as Patti's and Megan's life!!  Trust that I know what I am talking about when I say, it's all worth it!!  (I had to play cars, not Barbie!! lol)

  2. Megan is such a special young woman to have you and Patti for her parents:) have a good week


  3. Hello friend. Drop in when you need a break. Tammy

  4. have done a wonderful job

  5. I would do the single digit years again in a heart beat too, Patrick, LOL. These teen years are about to do me in, although he is a good kid.

    You and Patti have done a wonderful job raising a fantastic young woman. Megan is probably a lot more mature than most kids her age and probably has a compassion about her not found in a lot of kids that were raised by two able bodied parents.

    (shh, don't tell Matt, but in his younger years, he was known to play Barbie with girls from school :)


  6. That is why I nominate you for BEST FAMILY AWARD. You deserve it better than anyone in J-Land. Bam

  7. And that is indeed a lifetime.

    Did you ever think you were chosen for the job? I mean, from Above?

    You switched gears as needed, you chose family, you took care of your beloved, and became a full-time dad in tune to his daughter's life. I've heard the stories where the marriage suffers because the one must care for the other in what seems to be an imbalance of giving. How many of us could actually say without hesitation that our spouse would take care of us so readily, with devotion and an eye for the needs of the one weakened by a deteriorating condition? And you have more to tell us, that even so, it was equal partnership in your story of parenting. I'm thinking we have another Saint Patrick of the Caregivers among us! You are a saint in my book. <grin> bea

  8. You did a great job Patrick! You stepped up and your daughter and Patti love you even more for it. Raising kids is tough all by itself!



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