My husband and I were wrapping Christmas gifts last night. I’m not sure we had the whole holiday spirit concept in proper focus as we moaned and groaned about what a pain this was, why he kept stealing the tape, and how our knees were killing us while we sat on the floor to wrap. Every year we swear next year we will only use bags, if we buy gifts at all! Yet there we were. And if got me thinking, what is a gift-really?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as follows:

1. A notable capacity, talent, or endowment,

2. Something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation,

3. The act, right or power of giving.

I think it is easy to forget that gifts are not solely things we order on-line; but gifts are also our time, our talents and our love. In fact, being a caregiver is, in and of itself, a gift. There is no question, it is a gift we sometimes wish we could return, but a gift it is nonetheless. Each of us gives our time, our energy, our worrying, and sometimes our own well-being, to help our loved one with PD. I think the definition above got it right when it said giving a gift was “power”. Think of what we, the caregivers, can do--have done, the power we wield. Why we organize days/weeks/months; drive, and drive, and drive, etc.; keep track of doctors, medicines, appointments; remind our loved ones to move, stand up straight, do those mouth/hand/balance exercises the doctor recommended; we become doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and researchers; we cook, clean and keep house-including things our loved one handled previously; we plan meals, make meals, clean up after meals-often while our loved one watches (Ok…I tried to resist, but I have to roll my eyes here just a little!); we find the lost; we remember the forgotten; we calm the panic; we become the constant our loved one can count on. We’re super heroes! There should be odes written to us, blockbuster movies about “Pick-‘em up off the Floor Wonder Woman” or “Remember u’r Medication Man” [known as RUM for short—which may lead us to an entirely different topic for consideration.].

I’d like to empower all caregivers to remember how super, awesome, courageous, patient, loving, heroic, marvelous, amazing, needed, appreciated and miraculous we all are! Especially during those times each of us feels sad, or alone, or underappreciated--because those times are part of caregiving as well. Let me ask you this, are others in your family or circle of friends running to volunteer to do what you do? Probably not. What does that tell you? You ARE A SUPER HERO! [And yes, I’m shouting!]

So why, you may be wondering, did Annette choose this topic for the December blog. I chose it because caregivers forget how important they are to those receiving the care-who sometimes forget, and sometimes don’t know how to say thanks. I chose it because every article I’ve read on caregivers this week has been on the topic of caregiver stress and depression around the holidays. I chose it because I went to services of celebration last week for two of our RSB fighters, and heard memories of how much their caregivers (wives) had added time, and not just time, but quality time, to their lives. And maybe I chose it because I needed to hear it too.

May your season be filled with many gifts.



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