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Thread: Celebrating the Royalty and Nobility in Everyday Caregiving

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    Default Celebrating the Royalty and Nobility in Everyday Caregiving

    Hi Everyone!
    Here's a blog post that I wrote today - too bad the photos didn't show but you can see them on my site at http://www.donnathomson.com/2015/01/...bility-in.html

    Anyway, I really love the subject of this post and I hope you will too. Love to all! x

    Celebrating Royalty and Nobility in Ordinary Caregiving
    “So Brother Matthew locked the gate behind me, and I was enclosed in the four walls of my new freedom.”

    Thomas Merton

    Caregivers like me know how the four walls of home can sometimes close in and feel like a prison. How to find freedom, satisfaction, meaning and joy within those walls was the subject of my book, "The Four Walls of My Freedom: Lessons I've Learned From a Life of Caregiving".



    Thomas Merton was an American Catholic writer and mystic. He entered the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in rural Kentucky on December 10, 1941 to begin a life of solitude and contemplation. In his hugely popular book, "The Seven Story Mountain", he described that moment this way: "...So Brother Matthew locked the gate behind me, and I was enclosed in the four walls of my new freedom." I did find a sense of personal freedom and meaning in the ordinary tasks of caring over years. I learned to look more carefully, listen more intently, feel more acutely. I learned to celebrate the ordinary.

    This week, I've been following an inspiring story about celebrating the ordinary on the internet. It all started with this posting on the popular site, Humans of New York:
    "Who's influenced you the most in your life?" "My principal, Ms. Lopez." "How has she influenced you?" "When we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter."



    Then this story appeared:

    A couple days back, I posted the portrait of a young man who described an influential principal in his life by the name of Ms. Lopez. Yesterday I was fortunate to meet Ms. Lopez at her school, Mott Hall Bridges Academy.
    “This is a neighborhood that doesn’t necessarily expect much from our children, so at Mott Hall Bridges Academy we set our expectations very high. We don’t call the children ‘students,’ we call them ‘scholars.’ Our color is purple. Our scholars wear purple and so do our staff. Because purple is the color of royalty. I want my scholars to know that even if they live in a housing project, they are part of a royal lineage going back to great African kings and queens. They belong to a group of individuals who invented astronomy and math. And they belong to a group of individuals who have endured so much history and still overcome. When you tell people you’re from Brownsville, their face cringes up. But there are children here that need to know that they are expected to succeed.”
    A couple days back, I posted the portrait of a young man who described an influential principal in his life by the name of Ms. Lopez. Yesterday I was fortunate to meet Ms. Lopez at her school, Mott Hall Bridges Academy.

    “This is a neighborhood that doesn’t necessarily expect much from our children, so at Mott Hall Bridges Academy we set our expectations very high. We don’t call the children ‘students,’ we call them ‘scholars.’ Our color is purple. Our scholars wear purple and so do our staff. Because purple is the color of royalty. I want my scholars to know that even if they live in a housing project, they are part of a royal lineage going back to great African kings and queens. They belong to a group of individuals who invented astronomy and math. And they belong to a group of individuals who have endured so much history and still overcome. When you tell people you’re from Brownsville, their face cringes up. But there are children here that need to know that they are expected to succeed.”

    And I thought, we are like the children at Mott Hall Bridges Academy - we may be invisible and ordinary on the outside, but we are ROYAL. We too, "have endured so much history and still overcome." So, the next time you are feeling invisible and unappreciated, imagine Ms. Lopez' voice in your head. "You are a nurturer, an enabler. When the dignity of someone you love is under threat, you restore it. You are a healer. Your hands soothe and your voice comforts. You are a conjurer! When shopping for food has been put aside for more important tasks, you find something nourishing to create from what's left over. Never forget, the worth of a life is measured in how much love we have given, because what we give will come back to fill our hearts tenfold."

    Today, let us recognize and celebrate the dignity, value and even royalty of ordinary caregiving. Because Ms. Lopez would say that there's nothing ordinary about it.
    Last edited by Donna Thomson; 01-25-2015 at 06:55 AM.
    Donna, Mum to Natalie (22), ablebodied, kind and beautiful and Nicholas(26), severe CP, non-verbal, tube fed, multiple surgeries, chronic pain, happy kid except when the Liverpool football club or the Ottawa Senators Hockey Team are losing!
    Check out my blog: http://www.donnathomson.com


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    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    ((((((Donna)))))) ~

    Great blog post as always!

    "And in the end ...
    The love you take is equal to the love you make."


    I've never thought of myself in terms of royalty, but if I did, it would likely be Roseanne Barr's "Domestic Goddess." I remember years ago watching a documentary on the British Royal Family, and someone remarked that the Royals "don't even know that cucumbers have seeds." I can't imagine any Royal doing the things, which I do every day, if they are protected from the seeds of fruits and vegetables.

    I agree completely with you and Ms. Lopez.

    I've always regarded my care giving as anything but ordinary. Repetitious, perhaps. Laundry is ordinary, but four+ loads a day is not. Colostomy, G Tube, Trache, Indwelling Catheter ~ nothing ordinary there.

    On the other hand, it's second nature to me, so I don't think of it as special either. It is just our life.

    But today, taking the cue from you and Ms. Lopez: I am the Domestic Goddess, the Queen of Laundry, The Secretary of Arrangements, the Countess of Colostomy Changes, the Duchess of Tube Feeding, and Her Royal Highness, Princess Rose of Catheters and Cucumber Seeds!

    Bobby pins are holding my tilting tiara in place; I've got the Royal Wave down pat, and I'm ready to climb into my waiting horse-driven carriage.



    That was a fun fantasy! Thank you (((Donna)))!!

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Last edited by Earth Mother 2 Angels; 01-26-2015 at 08:37 PM.
    Mom to Jon, 48, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

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    Excellent. Rose, my post accomplished its mission, which is to show the nobility and very honourable nature of our caregiving work. You are Princess for today, Rose! Sending much love, Donna xo
    Donna, Mum to Natalie (22), ablebodied, kind and beautiful and Nicholas(26), severe CP, non-verbal, tube fed, multiple surgeries, chronic pain, happy kid except when the Liverpool football club or the Ottawa Senators Hockey Team are losing!
    Check out my blog: http://www.donnathomson.com


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