I have really looked closely at answering the question, "Who is a caregiver?" over the last few weeks (and months since forming this NPO) because we have gotten many inquires about who is "eligible" for a fundraiser ticket. It is a word I typed into google back in the fall when our mission statement was coming together. The problem is that a caregiver doesn't really have one definition. It looks different in every person's situation. We know it generally means "giving care" but the to whom and by whom has so many variations. They are all important and deserve to be recognized and honored (a main reason for our fundraiser!).
A lot of my personal beliefs about what it means to be a caregiver come from my experiences. They vary from having taught 5-year-olds to read, to changing diapers, to providing some entertainment during chemo appointments. I AM A CAREGIVER. That is a big part of my WHY for starting The Right Relief Inc. I want others to notice the "care-giving" work they do on a daily basis and make it part of their identity too. I AM A CAREGIVER. You probably are too. Stand up and shout this to the world right now!! :)
I taught kindergarten and 1st grade for 8 years and now assist in a 4K classroom. I've put on countless band-aids, kept my cool and calmed a kiddo with a broken arm and hugged sad little ones until my arms were sore. But beyond physical caring, so much more comes with a teacher-as-a-caregiver role. I called and emailed parents when I suspected something was up with their child. I always had pretzel sticks on hand. I made special trips to the public library to fill in holes and find specific interests for my students. I put in late hours and early mornings making sure I was a prepared as could be to teach and care for my students. I put extra effort into behavior rewards for deserving and improving kids. I cared for my fellow teachers/teammates by being part of the Sunshine committee and being a listening ear. Teachers care for each other as much as they do students it seems.
I am a caregiver to my 2-year-old daughter Violet and soon to be baby number 2. Caring for infant Violet was challenging mostly because I was so tired! Parents care for their kiddos no matter how tired, stressed, sick or busy they are. They are Caregiver Super Heroes in my book. It is more than just feeding and changing diapers. It's rocking before bed and in the middle of the night; wiping up spills and tears and other things...It's playtime and book time and taking them outside for some exploration and fresh air. I am so passionate about being a mother that I could go on. Thanks to my pregnancy hormones I'm getting emotional just writing this!
Lastly, I helped care for my Dad who ultimately passed away from brain cancer. I was not the primary caregiver and did not live at home at the time. It didn't make my care-giving any less "important" or meaningful to me. I met him at his chemo treatments and sat with him for the day. I brought him his preferred lunch/treats. I watched daytime TV with him. I tried to provide some peaceful energy while he slept. I played board games with him and usually got beat terribly. On trips home I was his eyes when the cancer started to affect his vision and his clouded brain attempted home improvement projects he wasn't up for tackling. Replace the vent/hood (from the 80's I think) of our stove? Sure thing Dad. Repair damage in our attic from a small fire. No problem. He was a caregiver to me for 18+ years. I'm glad I could (in a small way) care for him too.
So, who can attend our Honoring Caregivers Fundraiser on February 2? CAREGIVERS!!! By any of the above definitions.
*Reminder* We need you, our Right Relief Community, to reach out and let us know who you think deserves a free ticket. We have 5 sets (2 tickets each) to give away. Give someone a guilt-free night off. A night of football and fun. A night of good comfort food. A night that will replenish the caregiver to continue doing their most important job in life.
Don't wait! Fill out the form on our website homepage. Message me on Facebook at @TheRightReliefInc. The event is fast approaching and these FREE tickets aren't going to be around for long.
To purchase your own ticket and find out more information, visit www.therightreliefinc.org.
And, in case you didn't get my message, I AM A CAREGIVER! YOU ARE A CAREGIVER! You know caregivers and interact with them on a daily basis. Connect them to The Right Relief Inc. today!! Be a part of our #ReliefSquad.