Since being diagnosed, I’ve noticed very much that my priorities have changed. Life is still busy, as I work four days a week in a busy stressful job, plus I have been doing my intensive four week exercise programme. However, I am trying to make a conscious effort to spend more time with family.
Yesterday, I picked up my three grand-daughters on a rainy Autumn day and brought them home to my house for a baking day. I talked to them about tradition – we come from a long line of home bakers and I have fond memories of my Mum’s and Nanna’s yummy baked treats – and how I wanted them to know how to bake too! I know they have baked with their Mum and their Uncle, but it is important to me to also share that tradition with my girls.
Previously, I have baked one item with all three girls and it has been a bit of a challenge, with each vying to do the tasks and a lot of management required to keep them all happy. So, this time each child chose something to bake – with a bit of guidance from me – so I could have one on one time with them. For the two older girls – twins who are nearly twelve – I got them to read and find ingredients. I got them to find the right measures and work out how much of each ingredient they needed. This was a good maths exercise! For the younger – nearly 8 – a bit more oversight was needed.
It was such a nice way to spend time individually. We talked about the apron they were wearing, which their Mum and Uncles wore when they were young. We talked about how we were going to ice their creations and add sprinkles and take them home to show their parents. At the end of the morning, we had two cakes and some muffins and three very happy and proud children and a proud Nanna too.
This for me was a magical moment and reminds me that you don’t have to spend money to spend time with your grand-children. It also reminds me of a time when my own children were young – I had separated from their father – and I was very hard up. I packed some jam sandwiches and some cordial and fruit and took my three for a bush walk. I was feeling a bit sad that I couldn’t afford to do more with them. One of my children turned to me and said, “we do much cooler things with you than with Dad”. I thought my heart would burst! Their Dad could take them to movies and other things that I couldn’t and I had felt they were missing out with me. But, that comment meant the world to me, it meant that spending time with my children and connecting with them was much more important than any money could ever be.
So, I will apply that learning to my life more consciously now as I navigate this life with Parkies and my family. I will look to make moments where I connect one on one with the special people in my life and build some ‘Nanna/grandie’ moments, some memories to hold in our hearts for the future. We don’t know how much time we have and we can’t always have time in our busy lives to be together, but we can make those moments count. We can make memories to treasure for the future and that’s what is important.