There is JOY in being connected to family and friends during the Christmas season.
There is PEACE in the presence of people who consistently show up in your life.
I started December with a goal in mind — BE with family and friends. Enjoy those who are an active part of my story. Embrace the gift of community.
Community starts at home. It begins with family. But community goes beyond parents and siblings.
Community for me includes caregivers and friends. I need people beyond my family, like everyone else. This is why people aren’t just important to me. They are gifts. They are reasons to say prayers of thanksgiving to God. He always knows what we need and who we need in our lives.
Earlier in the year, I reconnected with someone who was my caregiver for years. Her name is Rosa. We lost touch for a while. We had gone separate ways, but still thought about each other. I reached out to Rosa this year and I’m so glad I did. I needed a caregiver, a reliable one. I had tried a couple of new caregivers and they were not working.
Enter Rosa. She came back into my story and every morning she comes I smile. We have a special bond. You may notice if you’re around us.
Last month, I told Rosa I wanted to host friends at my house. My parents had an event and I decided to plan a party. It is good (and healthy) to establish some time where we both do our own things.
I didn’t want to stress my parents with the details. But my plans always involve others and I would need some help. So I thought of how to take charge and exercise independence:
- Rosa said she’d come early to help me prepare. She would also stay as parents left and friends arrived.
- I picked the menu and bought items online as I could. Then my mom had less to pick up from the grocery.
- I marathon cooked with a friend, who also recently became a part-time caregiver.
- The night of the party we all put the final touches on the table and the dishes. Mom, Dad, Rosa.
- I pulled out my walker, so I could freely move from room to room.
I watched my idea come to life and waited for friends to come. It was extra fun for Rosa to meet friends and friends to meet Rosa. I’ve told friends about Rosa and Rosa has heard stories about friends.
Once again, caregiving done well goes beyond tasks such as getting out of bed and up for the day. It’s coming along beside me, being my hands, and becoming a part of my community.
Rosa is like family, and I loved giving her and my friends the chance to finally meet. And I loved the chance to invite friends in and celebrate the community God has given me.
When I’m surrounded by my community, I’m not fighting a cultural misconception. I’m proving one wrong.
When I’m among the ones who really know me, I don’t feel like I have to bridge a gap. There is no gap.
When I’m with those who are on my team, I’m not questioning if they care. I’m thanking God they do.