Seth…My Son the Supporter by Robin Gorman Newman

Seth has proven to be such a source of support to me, at the tender age of 8.
My father, age 93, has had a gazillion health challenges since Seth was born, and more than once, we’ve made emergency visits to various local hospitals.

Last week, my beloved dad suffered a series of strokes, and has been at St. Francis Hospital.

When I became a later in life mother, I was somewhat conscious of the fact that I was living the “sandwich generation”….caring for a young child and senior dad.  But, that has taken on  heightened meaning as my father’s health challenges have become more acute in recent times.

I’m finding it essential to do my best to practice good self care, though the stress gets to me more than I’d like.  I’ve had bouts with tears, headaches and sleepless nights, but I want to be strong.  I don’t see anything wrong with crying, but I don’t know what Seth might be thinking or feeling deep down, and I’m trying to stay as upbeat as possible for him.  It’s not that I’m not thinking positive, I’m just drained with all the uncertainty, questions, decisions, etc.  I’ve come to understand….if not accept….that essentially this is what life is.  None of us has a crystal ball.  But, I do prefer it when I feel as if I’m coasting along and in a “safe” place, whatever that means for me. 

I am so proud of Seth when I witness his behavior in the hospital.  He is very patient, plays with his 3D DS and even involves himself in ways to be helpful that interest him.  For example, keeping an eye on the equipment that monitors my dad’s heart rate…..figuring out how to operate the lights, television, phone, etc. in his room…..fetching the nurse when we have a question, etc.  He’s become my little helper, and his spirit and energy help lift me up when I need it.  He’s like a little ray of sunshine, and I’m so very grateful for his presence in my life…and not just at this difficult time.

On the flip side…Seth is very high energy, and after a day at the hospital, I need to chill, and can’t do that with a young child.  There is dinner to be made, homework, bath time, toy clean up, after school programs, etc.  We have an agenda, and do our best to continue the daily routine as we know it, despite extenuating circumstances.   I’m so grateful to my husband who is totally there for us and helpful in every way he can be and more. 

There is the saying “It takes a village….” (to raise a child), and when difficult times arise in life, this feels especially true.