House of Literature Bookmobile

This is the place I share book (movie) selections and reviews I have found worth mentioning. I'll also share gleanings of family life, faith, home education, and ongoing writing projects. Book selections will include children's books, books on home education, Catholic books, classics, series, raising children, and books that are made for reading under a shady oak tree with lemonade, in a bubble bath with a latte', or next to a snuggly fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Love Keeps Giving and Giving and Giving

Remember the story by Shel Silverstein of The Giving Tree? Is there any home that does not have this little green book upon their bookshelves? Let's hope not.

I've always thought it a beautiful story. In reading this symposium of The Giving Tree, Amy Kass's certainly gave me a different perspective. I had never heard the version of the mother bird and her babies shared by Kass's rabbi. It's really a depressing outlook, but it got me thinking...

In reality, I've shared a bit of this controversial issue that the writers here shared. I felt it for the first time when my mother-in-law passed away. We cared for my father-in-law who has Alzhiemer's (he is now in a nursing home). For the first time in our 18-year-marriage, I found my husband thrown into the difficult position of caring for us or caring for his father. He was divided in mind, body, and soul. For the first time in 18-years of marriage, I did not feel as though he was completely there for us. He was divided and, at times, I felt abandoned. After all, I had never had to share him with anyone else.

Of course, it wasn't either of our fault. I had five children to look after (the youngest being only 18 months). My husband had an ailing father. We did what we had to do and we plugged away; trusting in God and trusting in one another's love and commitment and vows.

To make this difficult time easier for him to bear, I did what I could; but the spouse cannot as thoroughly stand in the same place the orphaned child does. I reacted to decisions and caring for my father-in-law with my head. My husband reacted to all things pertaining to his father with his heart.

Somehow, with the help, backing and support of the other three brothers, we made it through that first difficult year and then the second one. Things have definitely settled down.

In reading Amy Kass's piece, it made me re-evaluate our whole position again as caregivers to our children first and then to our parents.

Two months ago the nursing home called to ask if my husband would be coming to get his father from the home in case of evacuation. My husband did not hesitate or pause. He simply asked where they would evacuate the nursing home residents to. There were two other Veteran Homes in Louisiana and he was assured that his father would be taken and cared for in one of those.

With a wife and five children standing in back of him and not knowing where any of us would end up, my husband told the nurse that he was sure his father was in good hands and would be better served at the nursing home than in the camper with all of us.

As it turned out, we were evacuated again the next morning from our first location and ended up with my two parents, my brother, and my 80+ grandmother in the camper with us. My husband would not have it any other way.

When my husband gives, he gives without counting. He gives till it hurts, then he gives some more. His commitment soars, and he carries us on wings of love.


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