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My Little Girl, My Little Lady

my-little-girl-my-little-lady

I stare at her, so sweet, so precious, all curled up on her single bed, blankets up to her chin. As I listen to her snore to the rise and fall of every breath, I close my eyes and reminisce in silence.

My little girl – oh, how I love her. I will miss the day when I won’t have to meticulously cut her food so tiny to prevent her from choking. I usually have a clean washcloth nearby just in case she drools or spits up. Every once in a while when she wets the bed, I calmly look through the cluttered linen closet to find the prettiest sheets and pillowcase. I’ll usually replace the soiled mattress cover too. The diapers she wears sometimes fall off so I use extra transparent tape to hold them in place.

When we take a stroll through the gardens at the back of the property, she begins to sing as if life couldn’t be better. When an unknown reason causes tears to rush down her profound cheeks, I quickly catch them. When she wants to rock in my favorite chair, I simply take the couch.

Terrible things that happen out in this world frighten her and cause nightmares. So, I search for simple shows for her to watch on television. No news broadcasts. She likes to listen to Wheel of Fortune, the Game Show Network, ice skating or even the Weather Channel. Sometimes, she simply plays her old little transistor radio.

There are times that I run up to her and give a big hug out of the blue for no specific reason. She’ll look up at me in wonder, her eye brows raised. And I quietly whisper “love you.”

During my few moments each day that I find time to relax, I browse through magazines, pamphlets and books to keep up on the latest trends in hopes of making her quality of life the best possible. I converse with friends, neighbors, doctors, and even strangers in the grocery lines so that I can continue to learn and seek new ideas.

I love brushing her hair, so shiny and strong. I gently push it back away from her hazel eyes and tell her how special she is to me. She likes when I rub a little rouge on her cheek bones. It makes her feel pretty. My little lady is so beautiful with a loving heart the size of few.

A rush of excitement comes over me about serving her favorite breakfast as I sit and patiently wait for her to awake. I do the “mom thing” and gently place the palm of my hand on her back to make sure she is breathing. She is -- still sound asleep.

I sit back and continue to think about how important it is to me that my little girl, my little lady feels safe. I always hold her hand when we are near steps. At home, I even put up the baby gate so she doesn’t get hurt. I read to her out loud because the sound of my voice calms her. I put my arms around her and let her know that everything will be just fine.

We've had so many special moments together. When there’s a squirrel or a rabbit in the yard, I make sure she sees them. The bird feeders outside her bedroom window provide hours of enjoyment. On a night of a full moon, I take her to the south windows in the corner of our kitchen. I shut all the lights off and let the moon illuminate the room. When we travel to the shopping mall, we first stop at the penny fountains and hope our wishes come true. And we’ve had a lot of fun planting seeds in little pots so we can watch them grow on our window seat. Oh, the look on her face, her unconditional smile, when they begin to sprout.

Whenever my patience with her begins to run thin, I take a deep breath, think about my love for her, and remember that she used to do all these things (and more) for me. And then gratitude has a way of quickly filling my heart again.

Finally, her eyes slowly open as she looks over at me as if she knew I was there the whole time. I smile with excitement, “Good Morning Grandma, are you ready for your favorite breakfast?”

She nods her head and falls right back to sleep. The draft in her room sends a chill through the air. So I cover her up with a beautiful afghan that she crocheted especially for me many years ago . . . when I was her little girl.

Source:  Sharyn's Slant

Source: Sharyn's Slant

An Introduction To Elder Care

Given the choice, most seniors would prefer to continue living in their own homes, also known as “aging in place“, remaining independent without intervention from others. This population is the fastest growing group in North America, and also at the highest risk for needing care. Medical science is preventing early sudden deaths, which means elders are living longer with impaired health and greater risk of needing long-term care. Unfortunately, many lose the ability to function on their own and require additional help in the home. http://www.eldercare.com/

ElderCarelink

ElderCarelink can help you find the right type of living arrangement for your loved one if in-home care is not appropriate. Their nationwide network includes:

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities
  • Hospice Care Facilities
  • Independent Living Communities
  • Nursing Home Facilities
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities (for recovering patients)

Comments

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 24, 2012:

Aw thank you Sally, I am so glad I did too as I was able to share this early hub with so many of my friends I hadn't yet made back then :) Thank you so much for your feedback.

Sharyn

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on January 24, 2012:

What a beautiful read, Sharyn. I'm so glad you posted the link on fb, or I might have missed your touching and evocative words. :)

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 24, 2012:

Morning Ardie,

Thank you! I'm so sad when I hear about bad experiences with nursing homes. All of the home health aide work I have done has been in private homes so I really cannot say whether I agree or not. I just have to believe that what you experienced is not the norm. Thank you for your feedback - I appreciate you!

Sharyn

Sondra from Neverland on January 24, 2012:

Oh Sharyn, you're just such a sweet person! I saw some truly horrible people at the nursing facilities while my older friend was there and I wish he could've had a helper like you!!! 103 is amazing for Grandma.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 23, 2012:

Hi Daisy,

Thank you so much for your feedback. This little piece is very special to me!

Sharyn

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on January 23, 2012:

What a beautiful article, Sharyn! You really got me on this one...I enjoy reading Hubs that have a *surprise* ending.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 23, 2012:

Ardie, Linda, Cindy, Ruchira, Debbie, Nell, Tammy & Vicky,

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL COMMENTS AND FEEDBACK. I was extremely fortunate to have had my Grandma around for so long. She outlived my Mom, her only daughter. Mom died in 2005 at the age of 68. Gram died in 2008 at the age of almost 103. I terribly miss the two most wonderful women you would ever want to know.

I have always loved working with the elderly ever since I was a young girl (16-17) and helped take care of my other Grandma who had a stroke. Later in life, I became a certified home health aide and have worked with the elderly on and off in between jobs. I've had great corporate jobs with great pay but nothing compares to my passion for working with the elderly.

I'm so glad I posted this as my HOTD today. Although sad, it all brings back such wonderful memories. Thank you all for sharing them with me.

Sharyn

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on January 23, 2012:

Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! So neat how you didn't reveal who your little girl was until the end. I adore this hub. Voted up among others. Beautiful and awesome, for sure!

Tammy from North Carolina on January 23, 2012:

Ok.. you owe me a box of tissues. This is very endearing and the love for your Grandmother really shines. My grandma passed suddenly and didn't need any care but she was the only positive female figure I had. You are a true angel!

Nell Rose from England on January 23, 2012:

Hi, this was so lovely, it got me quite teary! seriously, it brought back memories of when I looked after my mum and dad towards the end of their life, my brother did most of the helping because he lived there with them, but I had to get round there most days, I couldn't keep away, wonderful!

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on January 23, 2012:

Wow..this is so beautiful...it made me feel so much love...being a grandmother is so awesome...this hub is so awesome....I voted up...debbie

Ruchira from United States on January 23, 2012:

Beautiful piece, Sharyn!

There is no place like parents in the world and we as adults feel it only when we have our little angels!

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on January 23, 2012:

What a great hub. What a wonderful attitude to have! What a treasure you are for each other! I wish so many more people had the attitude that you have in caring for the elderly. It would be a much better world. Thanks for SHARING!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on January 23, 2012:

Awwwwww how sweet!! I never knew my Grandma's, you were blessed:)

Sondra from Neverland on January 23, 2012:

Oh Sharyn, you brought tears to my eyes! I wondered where this was headed and by time I got to the end my heart was so overflowed with love and compassion and I just wanted to hug you!!!!!!!! Beautiful.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on December 06, 2011:

Good Morning Maria,

It's kinda fun have you go into the archives. Thanks so much for your comments on this one. Caring for the elderly is something that I am definitely passionate about. I wish everyone felt that way. Hope you have a beautiful day!

Sharyn

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on December 06, 2011:

OK, third cup of coffee... in a heap...

I have just read Will Starr's Christmas story...

stessililly's tribute to Elizabeth Taylor...

and now this most treasured love story from your archives, dear Sharon. The tissues are piling high!

You write with gentleness, sensitivity and true connection. Oh, wouldn't it be a blessing if all of our elders were given the same sense of love and acceptance after all they have done for us through the years. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out, dear friend, mar.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 13, 2011:

Hello ljmama,

It's so nice to meet you. Thank you so much for your extremely thoughtful comments. Have a great evening!

Sharyn

Ingrid Ramirez on April 13, 2011:

Absolutely breath taking....you have beautifully captured the dynamic of the parent/child bond and. The importance of reciprocating the love and caregiving we receive as children to our parents and grandparents. Wishing you continued blessings :)

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 22, 2011:

Hello Lucky Cats,

Thank you so much for your kind comments. Yes, I was extremely lucky having the most loving Mother and Grandmother in the world. My Mother left this world way too early five years ago at age 68. I miss her terribly. (see Dimes From Heaven) Her Mother which is my Grandmother written about here passed away two years ago at almost age 103. I didn't get a chance to change roles with my Mother which I would have gladly accepted. I did however have the unique opportunity to be one of the main caregivers for my Grandmother during her last years. These two beautiful woman are who made me the person I am today. I have been blessed!

Thank you again LC for stopping by!

Kathy from The beautiful Napa Valley, California on March 22, 2011:

This is SO BEAUTIFUL! What a loving tribute to a beloved Grandmother. Of course, at first, I thought you were writing about a child but, as we all know; this life can certainly confront us with twists and turns that change relationships and cause us to exchange roles. You are very lucky to have someone in your life who inspired such great love and caring...that means you received that kind of love and caring.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 18, 2011:

Thank you TH for your kind comments and fan mail too. Glad you found me!

tnderhrt23 on March 18, 2011:

Very sweet, poignant write...You are a good mommy!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 10, 2011:

Thanks SO much Stan for your wonderful comments. They mean more than you know . . .

Stan Fletcher from Nashville, TN on March 09, 2011:

I gotta' say, this really blew me away. So cool how the story morphed to the end. Very, very good storytelling and incredibly touching. You are the real deal.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 07, 2011:

Epi, thank you, thank you so much for your awesome comments. Taking care of the elderly for me is truly a labor of love and compassion.

epigramman on March 06, 2011:

...woweeeeeee!!!!! this is quite an awesome piece of writing - so life affirming and full of love from your beautiful heart and mind - I will not soon forget this one - it's a truly a labor of love - and much much more than just a 'slant' too - because this is 'life' and a gift to the rest of us - who know what it's like to get older and be with the ones we care for!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 06, 2011:

Aw, thanks Jeanastra, I really appreciate your feedback.

Jeanastra on March 06, 2011:

WOW! Nicely done. I didn't see that coming and you brought tears to the eyes of a very cynical individual. Thank you, Sharyn.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 04, 2011:

Thank you Marellen for your comments. Please do not feel bad. Every situation is different. It's difficult to be in your situation for the length of time you have been taking care of your Mom. You have been a blessing to her. Remember that. And also remember to take breaks, special time just for you. My thoughts are with you.

Sharyn

marellen on March 04, 2011:

Sharyn...That was so beautiful, it almost makes me feel guilty for the things I write. Wish I had your insight, patience, and understanding. I will reread this many times. Thank you for sharing this.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 04, 2011:

Thank you for your kind words bluestar. I have always enjoyed working with the elderly ever since I was a teenager. Whether it has been for a family member or others, it is always rewarding. Thanks again!

Annette Donaldson from Northern Ireland on March 04, 2011:

Sharyn you are one in a million. Working with the elderly is a full time vocation, I know. Your love for your mum is enviable and I salute you. Take care

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 03, 2011:

Thanks Sunnie for your wonderful comment. Tears can be good :)

Sunnie Day on March 03, 2011:

Wow! Okay I am officially tearing up right now, at work! That is the most beautiful story!

God Bless,

Sunnie

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on March 01, 2011:

I try!!! One is all grown up now:( and :-)!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 01, 2011:

Thanks Kelly - You are lucky to have 3 girls! Start "training" them now so that they know that you expect them there for you in the future - ha!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on March 01, 2011:

Loved this - of course! I have 3 sweet girls:-)

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on February 24, 2011:

Thanks ginniloo for the thoughtful comment.

ginniloo on February 24, 2011:

Very touching, thanks for sharing.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on February 23, 2011:

You are so right Micky -- thanks!

Micky Dee on February 23, 2011:

Oh! Keep that treasure safe! It's all we have. There are no other treasures. God bless you!