Seasons changing! Dive into life! (but at your own pace)

Heather Jose photo.

Heather Jose

“It’s the last nice day we may have,” the weather man warned, “take advantage of it!”

I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life; I know that, although it is almost 80 today, it could snow tomorrow. So I did. After I finished all my work I changed in to my running clothes and grabbed the leashes. The dogs could barely contain themselves as I tied my shoes. Jumping all over me as I sat on the front step. And then we were off, down the gravel driveway. Me trying to reign them in so I don’t go flying myself. We jogged the half mile to our dock so Elly could take one last swim before the ice comes and locks away her favorite sport of—dock jumping.

Diving into the LakeA regular air dog is she! Tuck, he’s more of a wader. He looks back at me proudly if he gets in up to his elbows. After a bit of frolicking it is time to head home. It is on the way back that it hits me. Jogging with these two is similar to being a caregiver.

What? Really? Hear me out…

Tuck is an aging Boxer now, and we don’t get 100 yards before he is lagging behind. “Come on, Old Man,” I tell him, encouraging him along. Meanwhile, Elly surges forward. She is still young, a lab-boxer mix with boundless energy and an inability to control her enthusiasm. As I negotiate the way home I try to meet both of their needs. When we pick up speed Tucker begins a gallop of sorts, with his tongue hanging out and his breath heavy. And so I slow down, pulling hard on Elly’s collar as she doesn’t want to quit running. Though I try, we cannot find a pace that suits us all.

This is the caregiver correlation: Sometimes we are stuck in the middle. I have to decide whose needs get met and who will have to give in. I can’t do it all. I must also relinquish the thought of this being a workout for me as we together cannot find a pace that will suffice for that either. I knew that before we left, that I wouldn’t be able to workout, but I couldn’t leave them behind on such a gorgeous day. I see that as yet another line drawn to caregivers. Knowing that we often choose not what is best for us, but rather what our charges will enjoy the most.


Last week we asked you to share a caregiving tip with us.

How do you balance it all? What is something that makes life easier? Our list is growing, but we still want to hear from you. Would you take a minute and share with us? You can send us your thoughts either in a Comment, below, or by emailing [email protected]