Why We Should Care For Our Parents

Old age, for all of us, is a new phase in our lives that should be honored. In the beginning of our lives we started out as babes in the arms of our mother. We were fed, pampered, and swaddled in warm clothes. As we grew older, our parents directed us, shared wisdom, and shined guidance onto our lives. Then we, like our parents, left home, found careers, and some of us made families of our own. Now, with the nest of youth long faded, and children gone, comes a time when our parents need us to help prepare them for the transition into a new stage of life.

Photo Credit: Xavi Talleda

Old age is like a second childhood for our parents. Just as we care for our children, the same attention, needs, and advice are required by parents. We have learned the sacrifices made to give our children the essentials of life, as our parents did for us. Many of our parents find themselves floundering and fluttering through this new transition in their lives. They struggle. As their children, we are called by love, by duty, and by respect to help care for those who held us up when we stumbled in early years of our life.

Like us, our parents call on us to fulfill their emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial needs. Regardless of the circumstances, we bring a blessing to our parent’s lives. If they need help around the old homestead, yard work, or meals delivered, we should oblige them. Sometimes caring simply means making a phone call and paying your parents a visit on a quiet afternoon.

Then, there may come a time, when one or both of our parents are no longer able to live alone. Our parents opened the door of their home and their heart the day they brought us home. So why now should we not open the door them?

The bible tells us, “The church should care for any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God very much….But those who won’t care for their own relatives, especially those living in the same household, have denied what we believe. Such people are worse than unbelievers” (1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8).

Unfortunately, caring for our parents is no longer an obligation many of us are willing to accept. Instead we see our parents as a type of burden. When we should be taking them into our homes, we put them in retirement communities or nursing homes. We leave them lonely and basking in the memories having loved ones close at hand.

Recent studies show that elderly family members placed in nursing homes with no frequent visitation or connection with family members grew depressed, withdrawn, and pass away sooner than those whose family members take an active role in their care and attributing to their needs.

Your parents need love, attention, and care, just as you did when you were a babe, when you fell and cut your knee and your mother bandaged it, when you came home with that first good grade or trophy and your father patted you on the back. Now, those memories are being re-lived by the people who helped make them happen, because that’s all you left them with in the nursing home. That, and a few pictures by their bedside.

When we care for our parents, we bring honor and blessings to their lives. Throughout our lives there will be transitions. We grew from infancy to adulthood. We bring into this world new life, and thus take on new responsibilities. We begin life in the arms of our mothers, and we finish in the arms of our children.

What other way could be more perfect than God’s way?

Dairy Farmer Dad, What’s Yours?

When I was little, I always followed my dad out to the barn. I’d stand down in the pit of the milking parlor or sit on the stairs and watch my dad milk the cows. Once, my mom pulled one of the milk hoses close to my ear and the sound of the chugging milk up through the line sounded like bunnies chewing on carrots. It made me laugh then, and it still makes me smile today.

As I got older, I made bottles and fed calves. I helped muck out the barn and climb to the top of hay wagons to kick down the square bales.

Whenever my dad got in the truck and headed for a cattle auction, I slid in the truck cab,too, excited to go on the adventure.

That’s what life is, an adventure. If we look at it any other way, then we lose that sense of anticipation which keeps us moving ahead.

I’ve walked beside my father through many an auction house, either seeking cattle or horses. We’ve gone on long rides making a 16 hr round trip together and just under an hour. My dad and I have delivered baby calves, nursed sicked heifers, built feed bins and hay racks.

One time when I was in college, Dad’s truck broke down with a full load of heifers in the trailer. I spent a late night in truck garage studying for a test the next day, but I passed. It’s a good thing I was working on school work in the truck on the way there! But it’s just one of those fun memories I get to hold and even reminiscence with my dad every once in a while.

How about you?

My father is a retired dairy farmer, what’s yours?

Does Your Name Define You?

With as many head of cattle as there are on the farm, plus the other animals, you would wonder how we keep track of them all. But like a teacher may tell you they get to know their students, a farmer knows his animals. They’re more than the number tags in their ears, every cow, cat, goat, rabbit, dog, and yes even the ground hogs have names here.

 

kindergoat

As part of this transitioning I spoke of in yesterday’s beginning post, I decided I needed to do some name investigation of my own, for my own name. I found this from urban dictionary and I think this sums me up pretty well –except for the “they don’t really have friends they trust.”

A Susan is someone who is generous, smart, and open-minded.
They love to have fun, but know right from wrong.
They don’t really have friends they trust, but are always there for other people.
Susan’s are very good at keeping secrets and building friendships.
They don’t hate anyone and never hold grudges.
Their biggest weakness is forgiveness.
She forgives to easily, and has an amazing capacity to care about people, even those who hurt her.
A Susan is extremely beautiful but denies it.
She never sees the good qualities in herself but only in other people.
Susans are very ambitious.
They love to get involved and are very athletic.
They tend to be really talented at their favorite sport and always give it their all.
When it comes to the future, Susans dream BIG.
They’ll do whatever it takes to reach their goal and won’t allow anyone to bring them down.
Susans make excellent companions and will love you like no one else could.
They care more about their lovers feelings than their own and will do almost anything to see them smile.

I know for a fact my mother never thought of any of these things when she was naming me. My name to my parents was a family name. My grandfather called one of my aunt’s “Susie” even though that wasn’t her given name, so my mother gave me the more formal name of Susan, which I transitioned from Susan, to Susie, to spelling it Suzy that my family and friends call me today.

Some times a name is the most important gift we can give to the ones we nurture.

Here on the farm, many of the cows are raised from calves, some are purchased. Choosing these names is not a random page turning and finger landing on a word type of routine. I named the cows after their characteristics. Having been gone so long, my nephew and nieces, being raised on the farm, now have that privilege.

Today, I met a cow named Newspaper. Why Newspaper? Because she was black and white and red all over. Some of the true markings of a Holstein.

People, however, aren’t like cows or your average household pet when it comes to names. Or are they?

As a mother, naming my first two children was a no brainer, when my third arrived I still searching for a name that my spouse would approve of. During my entire pregnancy, my first child insisted I was having a girl and called child three, Sarah. Yet, my spouse didn’t like that name, I didn’t like his suggestions of names, so the day after our third child was born we sat in the hospital with a baby book and finally agreed on a name. So instead of a “Sarah” we brought “Alessandra” home.

This isn’t uncommon in some cultures, where babies don’t receive their names until days or weeks after they are born. It gives the parents an opportunity to get acquainted with their child’s characteristics as an infant before selecting a name. A few cultures even give a second name after the child reaches adulthood, a name that even further compliments the person they’ve come so far in their life journey.

Your name and the story of your name is as uniquely defined as you are. I’d love to hear it. Don’t be shy, please share it in the comments section below.

 

 

An Introduction

Transition, the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

I believe there comes a time in our lives when we all go through a period of transition. For some of us it’s choosing a new career or deciding to move to a new place, but for many of us it isn’t always about discovering who we are, or who we want to be, but reclaiming what once was.

Dairy Cow

This evening I stood outside the milk house door listening to the rain ‘ting’ on the metal roof and gazed past the parked machinery and into the empty fields awaiting the cows to come from behind the house and gather in the south wing of barn. As the rain rippled across the puddles in the drive and a goat brayed at me from a calf hut by the tree, I felt more like myself than I have in a very long.

I come and visit on weekends and holidays, each time knew this was the place I belong. This is the place I should have never left.

This is the place where I have returned.

After fourteen years, no place has ever felt like home as it does at this moment with the rain beading down my arms and dampening my clothes. It’s cleansing in a way.

“It doesn’t matter what I do, your never happy,” my husband has often accused. And, he would be right. I’m never happy, because my happy is here.

I’ve returned to the farm for the summer, bringing my urban tainted children along with me. Rather than them hear the stories of growing up on a farm, they will at least have this time to experience it for themselves.

Video games will be few. Texting/ messaging– what’s that?

I believe that every great adventure needs to be recorded, this is where you’ll find mine.

When a heifer has her first calf, she becomes a cow. If you ever look at a cow’s registration certificate (birth certificate) every cow has a Dame (mother) and a Sire (father). As a mother of three, for this purpose of this blog, I guess you could say I’m a dame.

As the daughter of a dairy farmer, I suppose that makes me a Dairy Dame, and thus the name of this site.

Welcome to my adventure, I invite you to come along on this journey in the pursuit of happiness, discovery, and farm life.