I have always admired Herbert Hoover. Bad president, good man (a little like Jimmy Carter, but I digress.) Hoover was a genius at logistics. In charge of relief during World War I, he fed an estimated 11 million children between 1914-18. He repeated his efforts during World War II. He was called to my mind last week as I tried to put the pieces in place to spend the weekend in New York while J stayed at home.
We do not have full-time help at home but rather a patchwork of friends, family, paid companions and S, a 20-something refuge from Africa who has lived with us for three years while he finished college. So what was involved in me getting away for the weekend? Friends took J out on Thursday night so I could pack. (Bless you, T and B.) I also had to text S to make sure he would give J her pills while I was gone, do a load of laundry, text with the freelance writer she meets with on Fridays, email with the friend who was taking her out on Friday night, communicate with the caregiver lined up for Saturday, and reach out to a number of folks to find coverage for Saturday night. Then I had to organize J’s pills and leave her a series of Post-its to advise her who was coming when. Then I put the same information on the calendar in the kitchen in case she ignored the Post-its. That, of course, was in addition to my packing.
I admit that my toils are not on par with organizing the delivery of tons of food to millions of starving children, but it can feel overwhelming at times.
And it was well worth it. I had a weekend of shows and museums, a run in Central Park (in shorts and a t-shirt!), and reveled in the unseasonably warm weather while strolling Fifth Avenue and gawking at the window displays and the Rockefeller Center tree.
We caregivers need these respites so we can be our patient bests upon our return. I am grateful for all the help that enabled me to enjoy my time away.