Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Dear Friends

My aunt just died at a ripe old age. I'd been her Power of Attorney for 10 or so years because she was a childless widow and I was her closest relative. On her deathbed, my mother had asked me to watch out for her sister, be there for her, and take care of her if necessary, so I took this job very seriously, but doing it from 1500 miles away was somewhat of an adventure, to say the least.

Now, I'm not a particularly organized person, so keeping track of someone else's bills in addition to my own was a recipe for disaster. Still, I managed to pay almost everything on time. I filed her taxes before April 15th, and I learned enough about Medicare Part D to enroll her in what I thought was the best plan. I was part of quarterly Care Conferences with the nursing home during which I got updates about her waning appetite (except for her continued love of dark chocolate), her failing eyesight and hearing, her occasional falls (never resulting in a broken anything), and her all-round grit. In between all of this, her medical team had to fine tune her meds for the dementia she started having shortly after going into the nursing home -- the dementia that made her say really mean things to me and accuse me of running off with her money and letting convicts live in her recently vacated home of 50 years. It was more than hard to see her grow so old and become the shell of the fun-loving, super-smart, big-hearted woman she'd once been. One part of me knows I did the best I could to be the loving, helpful niece she needed.

The other part -- the part that is always eager to be hard on myself -- believes otherwise. I should have made more trips to visit her. I should have brought more of her beloved chocolate when I did visit. I should have sent her Valentine, St. Patrick's Day, and Easter cards these last few years (even though she was blind). I should have -- well, you name it and I tell myself I should have done it.

Thankfully, though, as I become more and more aware of my self-critical tendencies, I remind myself to take a deep, grounding breath. In doing so, I am able to see more clearly what I did right, and that I did the best I could. In the process, I find that when I step back and give myself a break, it's easier to give others a break, too. My aunt certainly put me through my paces in the last few years of her life, but her last -- and maybe best -- gift to me was learning more about myself and how this awareness affects both me and ultimately those around me.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

Holiday 2008

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Late Spring 2008

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Holiday 2007

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Holiday 2006

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