Remember the Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Old movie, but a true classic. I watch it every year.
George Bailey dreamed of traveling. He didn’t plan to stay in Bedford Falls at all. Then one event after another extended his stay there. He could have traveled, but each time he planned to leave, he felt a responsibility to stay and help someone. He managed a bank but never made a huge amount of money.
When a catastrophe happened, he wished that he had never been born, and an angel-to-be showed him how his life had affected other people.
It struck me that a lot of relative caregivers could star in that movie. They give up their dreams – whether it is comfortable retirement, travel, ending the child-rearing era of their life, or whatever. They are giving, caring, unselfish people who put others first. They may not have much money, but they find a way to provide when the parents don’t. They are tired but they keep going, for the children. They may have health problems, but they fight through the pain. They may have very little support, but they raise those children anyway. They deal with ambivalent feelings about the parents of these children, but they don’t let the children feel it. They are heroes.
You caregivers, when you are tired and worried and feel like it’s not worth it or you don’t matter, think of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Think where those children would be without you!
No, things probably won’t end like the movie did. In real life, we have to console ourselves with the smiles and hugs from the children………But isn’t that what keeps us going anyway? It’s a Wonderful Life for caregiver grandparents and caregiver relatives.
I salute every grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, or any other relative who took over and made the gigantic effort to make a child’s life better!!