He’s tired, but I keep encouraging him. “How about another bite of applesauce?” He says yes so I lift it to his lips, making sure that my aim is true and that he cleans off the spoon. As long as his response is yes, I keep feeding and asking.
She’s been sick for a few days, but now she’s interested in having something to eat. A big proponent of the BRAT Diet (Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast) after a bout of the flu, I get a bowl of applesauce. Even though she’s pretty good at feeding herself, I sit with her. “How about another bite of applesauce?” She opens wide and I spoon it in. Before long the bowl is empty and we move on to something else.
There’s a difference of about eighty years between the two of them, one at the end of life, the other just beginning. It’s a difficult thing, being with someone whose health has deteriorated, who is only a shadow of their former self. It’s also a difficult thing when a one-year-old gives no notice and suddenly covers you with the hot, steamy contents of their stomach.
These are not things I’m required to do. Someone else can feed them, care for them, nurse them back to health. If I want, I can stay far, far away, and to be completely honest, there have been times when that seems appealing. Yet, I want to be there, I want to help, I want to show love in this tangible way. These are my people, the ones that God blessed me with. Regardless of the path our relationship has taken, I love them despite their flaws and failings, because of their quirks and uniqueness but mostly because they are my family.
When I was working and fantasized about how my retirement would look, I envisioned long, luxurious days walking around the farm, reading my giant stack of books, visiting with friends, writing blog posts and maybe even a book. Those things have happened about five percent of the time. The days don’t feel luxurious, they go by at lightening speed, sometimes I can’t even remember what day it is.
It seems that this is what I should be doing, that I am in this position for such a time as this. The day will come when these two don’t need my help, one will be gone and one will be grown. Both transitions will be bittersweet but I’m thankful that for today I can help with another bite of applesauce.