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I am the caregiver in my extended family.

I don't really mind; I feel privileged that God has given me so many people to care for. Wouldn't the worst thing be if nobody needed you or loved you?

But I have to admit, as school looms on the horizon for next week, that I am tired.

I'm my mother's only child, so I obviously do a lot with her. Now, she's not sick; she's extremely active and capable and doesn't ask much of me at all. She also helps quite a bit whenever I ask. But if anyone's going to do anything nice for, or for anyone else on her side of the family, it's me. I'm the oldest in my generation, and the most settled. So last night I hosted a birthday party for my aunt. It was great fun, and I'm happy to do it. But I did it.

On my husband's side, I'm the longest serving daughter-in-law. My in-laws have four boys; my husband is the oldest. The next two are both divorced. The youngest only married two years ago and is the only one who doesn't live in town. So I'm the default caregiver on that side, too.

Now, my in-laws are also healthy and they don't require very much from me at all. They also help out quite a bit! And my favourite part of the summer was the cruise we took with them. But, once again, if someone is going to host a family thing, it's me (unless my mother-in-law does it).

And who do you think looks after the nieces and nephews from the various divorced families? Me. Not full time, of course. In one case, the father, my brother-in-law, is very involved and is a great dad. But if he needs help in an emergency, I'm the one he calls.

As for my other nephew from the other divorce, I homeschool him along with my daughters. So we care for him, too.

I love all these people. I like them being around. But this summer I don't feel like I have had any time to relax, except that cruise (which I am still very grateful for). I have been looking after kids and getting our house in order after some renovations, and I just didn't get done what I needed to.

I had big plans for the summer. Summer is usually my most prolific writing time. But I didn't have the time off this year. My husband was working hard, I had the kids, and they always wanted to do something. I felt like I couldn't keep them inside all the time while I worked, and half the time someone else was over anyway, so I didn't accomplish much.

And now I'm about to start school more tired than I've been in a long time.

I know I need to learn to say no, but it's hard when it's your family. I guess I just need someone to say thank you. That they realize what I do, and they appreciate it. It would be nice if my children said that every once in a while, but I think my husband's going to take care of that with a heart to heart with them tonight. But right now I feel like I have given and given and given all summer, and very few people have given back. I'm tired. I could use a hug.



At 5:04 PM , Anonymous Megan said…

Shiela, I know exactly how you feel! Whenever my extended family faces a crisis, starts to fall apart, or needs something done, I'm the one that's called. And there have been some BIG crises lately. As a new mom, a wife, and a full time PhD student, it's easy to get overwhelmed - especially when my husband is also heavily involved in the church youth group and gone many evenings. But most of the time, I don't need an extra hand -- I just need a hug and someone to appreciate all I do. Including pumping breastmilk twice a day at work...which it's time to do right now, judging by the spreading stain on my shirt...ugh.

Anyway, I hope you get your hugs soon! And let me thank you for the huge encouragement you've been to me, both through your blog and your books.


At 10:18 PM , Blogger Christian said…

Well done, good and faithful servant.


At 10:15 PM , Blogger Karen said…

Hugs to you!

I tend to be the one who gets called too-whenever anyone is in a crisis.

I can hardly wait to get one of your books-just can't do it right now.

Thanks for giving to us all through your writing.



At 12:22 AM , Blogger Tracye said…

Hugging you!

You are a blessing!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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