We’ve had some wonderful acts of kindness from family and friends over the years. There have been times of high pressure when Braeden has been sick, or when Hubby is away, and these acts of kindness have been practically helpful but also a great lift to my spirits. Often people are unsure of how to help and fear it may not be well received. I have never seen it as a sign of my inadequacies, just an indication that people understood things were tricky for us. I thought I’d share some of the things people have done that have helped our family. Being a good friend to someone caring for another can be a simple gesture but can make a positive impact.
1. COOK A MEAL EVERY NOW AND THEN
One of our friends makes us a lasagne every now and then. It is always a wonderful surprise when I get a text message saying, “Lasagne in the oven for you.” Nothing tastes better than a meal I haven’t had to cook and if Hubby is away it is one less think I have to think about.
2. LEND A HAND WITHOUT FUSS
My Mum has always been like a fairy in our lives. When Braeden was younger, I was doing therapy nearly every day. Sometimes I’d get the washing on but wouldn’t get it hung out before we had to leave. Mum would pop into the house while we were gone, hang out the washing, tidy any of Braeden’s toys that were strewn throughout the house and fold any washing waiting to be put away. Returning home was a dream when I found things in order.
As Braeden got older she continued to help for as long as she could by washing up his school lunch boxes, taking out the recycling, cooking meals and more. We were always so lucky to have her help and to have it daily.
3. SIBLING HELP
I’ve been so fortunate to have friends who have understood I couldn’t always reciprocate lifts to activities for Amelia. Someone used to take her to dance class every week which was such a help. Over the years people have helped out with lifts to dance concert rehearsals and Amelia’s music lessons. I could have managed all of these but getting Braeden in and out of the car just to do a drop off involved transfers and getting the wheelchair in the car. Any help was appreciated.
Time as a couple is so important. Hubby and I used to be lucky to have my parents happily mind the kids so we could go out to dinner or a movie occasionally. It has really helped our relationship. Not everyone can afford babysitting so having a family friend or relative do it once in a while is great. If nights don’t work for you or the family, try minding the child during the day.
5. SIT FOR A WHILE
We all want to be bedside for our loved ones post-surgery, or when they are in hospital, but it is exhausting. Having someone come and take over for a while is great. Even when Amelia had her tonsils out I was appreciative of someone visiting so I could go out and do the grocery shop. I came back rejuvenated and Amelia was happy to have some time with her older cousin playing games.
When one of Braeden’s friends was in hospital we took a game into hospital to play and lent him some of our DVDs (remember the days of DVDs?).
When we asked our Facebook community for ideas on how to help someone in hospital we had this response from Mereana which I thought was spot on –
If people say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do” say, “Yes!”
- Meals from friends delivered to the hospital beats hospital food and saves money
- Ask friends to sit with your child to give you a break. Looking after yourself is important and even a short break can refresh you.
- Allow others to help with siblings.
6. PUT A SMILE ON SOMEONE’S DIAL WITH A GESTURE
Not everyone has time to give but a gesture can let someone know you are thinking about them. When he was younger Braeden had the most hideous dose of chicken pox for two weeks. Life was grim from a sleep perspective and Braeden had cabin fever from not being able to go out in public. A friend who works full time popped some sunflowers and a box of chocolates on the doorstep during this time. Every time I looked at those sunflowers my spirit lifted. Nothing else had changed but that small gesture had put a smile on my dial.
My Mum is the queen of bringing me ‘just because’ flowers. They are not delivered for a special occasion they are, as she calls them, ‘just because’. She always seems to know just the right time to give them to me. We had the most incredible support and gestures from friends during Covid.
7. JUST LISTENING WITHOUT TRYING TO SOLVE EVERYTHING
Listening, without trying to find solutions, can also be a good way to help out. Well meaning people trying to fix things just stresses me out. I know they mean well, but cerebral palsy isn’t fixable. Often I just need to chat with someone, occasionally for a whinge but mostly I love a cup of tea and a conversation that is unrelated to anything at home. A good laugh is usually the best medicine.
I’d love to hear of help you have received or kind gestures. If you are the person that has done something for another person I’d love to hear about that too.
No matter the circumstances, I hope you have someone in your life that knows how to help out even if it is in just a small way.
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