Monday, January 3, 2011

The Character of a Man

Sometimes when you are raising the next generation of young men you often wonder, "Am I doing a good job?" or you ask yourself, "Could I have done something different?" these are question every parent ask themselves at one time or another. Then one day that crossroad in a person's life appears before them – that defining moment that shows the world who they truly are. For some it may come young and for others they may be older, but all are faced with that one important turning point in life. One person may find it a challenge while another simply slide easily into home plate. Ours has always been a family who respected and cared for our elderly. It is just a fact of life like breathing air but I never considered it a character trait that could stir so much love, happiness, security and pride in a parent. My grandmother cared for her mother. My mother lived with and cared for her mother until her passing in 2004 and she also lived cared for her brother who had a stroke 10 years ago until his passing a month ago. This is where my story begins.

My mother is in her seventies. She has bone deterioration due to medication she has had to take and arthritis which makes walking difficult. She is a diabetic and an insomniac. Now for the first time in years, actually thirty something, finds herself faced with living alone. She finds being alone a difficult. So the boys often take turns spending the night with her. In 1995 we purchased the house across the street from her so that we could be near her and my grandmother should they need anything.

The boys and I would watch my grandmother during the day while mom was at work – fixing her lunch and spending the afternoons with her until my mother came home from work. It was a great learning experience for all. See my grandmother was in her eighties and was a treasure trove of stories and had a collection of nostalgic memorabilia you would not believe – it was history come to life. At that time I didn't realize the true lessons that would later define their character, nor the sense of responsibility, love, compassion, and determination that those afternoons poured into the heart of Kody.

From the first day of my uncle's passing Kody began staying the night and most of the days with my mother. Helping her with whatever she needed – vacuuming, dusting, changing the light bulbs in the ceiling fans, answering the phone because she was sleeping, cooking dinner or breakfast, washing the laundry. The kid can do most anything except when it comes to tools – Collin's an expert in that area, the kid can fix anything, so Kody calls his over for that kind of stuff. But the important thing to him is to be there. He knows she is the one who now needs help and company. They have found a great bond and rhythm to their days. Then one afternoon he comes home and asks me this --- Would it be alright if he moved in with granny, he thought she needed someone to help her and she didn't need to be alone.

She had a bedroom that had been empty since old granny passed away. (My uncle had lived in the garage apartment behind the house.) He could help her with whatever she needed around the house. Help her go to the store. He would come home in the mornings for school and go back and help her with dinner and spend the night. Collin and Joseph could each spend a night sometime during the week with him. If I needed him for anything he would be right across the street. He had given this some thought I realized as he voice all his thoughts.

So hubby and I talked it over and then talked it over with Collin and Joseph. The conservation with the other two seemed to surprise me because their concern was the same as Kody's had been - granny now needed someone to look out for her. So to make this long story a bit shorter Kody now lives across the street with my mother. He has kept true to his word about coming home each day and it has really worked out.

Tonight my I asked my husband, "How many 14 year old boys in this day and age do you think would move in and take care of their granny? Not because they were made to but because it was the thing to do – just like breathing air." He answered, "Damn few, if any at all." Then he smiled and said, "We did good."

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