RSS Feed Print
Tiny caregivers
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2019 12:57 AM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2329

Recently at a beach stop and after transferring dad from the vehicle into his transport chair, I was trying to reposition the cushion underneath him while making sure he would not slip out of the chair.  I briefly glanced up and noticed at a distance a little, dark-blond hair girl with pony tails, probably not even 2 years old, watching me.  It appeared as if she was following her dad and stopped to watch.  With her little mouth open, she had an interesting, curious look on her face.  But, something about the expression on her face was different than what I’ve seen in other children. 

I might be completely wrong, but she had a bit of a concerned look on her face.  The type of look I mostly see in adults that express, “how can I help?” 

Shortly after, her father approached me and asked, “Do you need help?”

I wonder if some children have an innate ability to be caring, or is it taught by parents?  Could it be that this little girl is a natural born caregiver?  Or do her parents teach her to be kind, considerate, and helpful?  Did she learn to recognize when people are in need, or unique?  Or was she just watching how strange dad and I looked?


The caregiver who takes care of my father while I’m not home, has two young daughters.  I allow her to bring her children to my home when she has no one to take care of them (or when she wants to save $$$).

The older daughter is about 12 years and the younger one is about 8 or 9.  The younger one, her name is Gabriella, but we call her Gabby for short.  She’s the type of kid who gets in trouble, threw a rock a boy in her neighborhood and made him cry, argues with her babysitter when she doesn’t want to do a chore by saying, “…you’re no princess….” 

Gabby, is my kinda kid.  Fearless and she’s funny.

What is special about Gabby is that she has such an interest in my father.  Whenever I shave his face or brush his teeth, she immediately stops what she’s doing and will come over to watch how it’s done.  Also, her mother told me about a time when she gave her daughters their breakfast, Gabby rapidly ate her food and when finished, she asked her mother if she could feed my dad.  She was hoping to have an opportunity to feed him before her mother did.

Against her mother’s approval, I tell Gabby, “Please don’t become a caregiver like me for your parents…” 

But something tells me that Gabby won’t listen. 

I don’t know, but sometimes I feel my life and the skills I’ve learned along the way was just boot camp to prepare me for where I’m at now.  I know it’s a choice, but I have certain abilities that other members in my family do not have…. like I’m built for it.   

So, what the heck..??  Was I destined for this sh-t?  Was I born and shaped for a destiny of being a caregiver?!  Or am I a victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time? Great.

My sister called me a little earlier today to remind me about our mother’s anniversary of her death (I totally forgot, again) and to tell me that she’s getting worried that she might have the dementia gene.  After having a nightmare about our mother last evening, she had neurotic day and forgot to do a basic daily function.   Most likely it’s just stress and the nightmare affected her.   

However, I’m preparing to stay away from becoming her caregiver……and to be at a better place at the right time.

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2019 3:53 AM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1285

Ruthie ( if I may be so bold as to add the " ie "  ), you are a real jewel.
Jo C.
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2019 9:20 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11597

Ruthie, you hit my soft spot.  I have a deep, deep love for children and am very good with them; I have been blessed with being able to be around many of them for so long; it has been one of the greatly enjoyable parts of my life. 

You ask an interesting question; is it nature or nurture or a combination of the two that causes a child to have a well developed sense of empathy?  It seems that in some children, they are born with a heightened sense of others and what others are feeling; there seems to be a brain connection there.  I think that nurture can permit this tendency to either flourish or to become more pale depending on circumstances  Yet, some kids in dreadful circumstances have continued to be highly empathetic.

It is interesting that studies have shown that highly empathetic, kind people have well developed areas of the brain that foster such feelings; one of the main areas for this is the supramarginal gyrus.

 I have four children, all grown; all were good kids, BUT . . . . one of my little ones was a super-empathetic nurturer from the get-go.  I smile when I remember when he was just a toddler.  He would see me sitting on the sofa in the family room and he would go and get an afghan.  He would take great effort to cover me with it.  If anyone needed anything, he was always trying to help.

He had a "bug hospital," and worried about animals; when he was ten, there was a car accident near where he was riding his bike; when the police officers arrived, he was in the middle of the road trying to provide aid to the injured.  One officer came to tell us what a kind boy we had. 

He just cared deeply.  When he was in Jr. High, he befriended another boy who was a dwarf who had severe physical disabilities.  He and this friend were close for years until that boys family moved away.   He had many friends, yet was always attuned to those with challenges.

He is now grown; he has four rescue dogs and I DO mean rescue; these were the poorest, most injured dogs and they now thrive and adore him.  His wife thank goodness is an animal person too.  Sadly, his wife is unable to have children. The rescue of animals continues to be something he does and he seems to be a magnet for lost and abused dogs.  He spends time finding them homes and has paid out of his own pocket for vet bills to help the sick and injured before finding homes for them.   At work, they tease him about being, "the dog whisperer," because injured and stray animals seem to find him and he always ensures their safety. Never a "kill shelter" placement.

What did he become?  A police officer.  So wish he had chosen a different profession but there we are; it really concerns me, these are not good days.  He is well known for going "above and beyond the call of duty," but does so very quietly and is so good to the elderly and those with terrible losses.  He also has quietly and anonymously put together multiple fund raisers for people in dire straits.  This is just who he is.

Interestingly, this sort of behavior was also part of my childhood; pretty much along the similar lines stepping out for others from a very young age.  Did we inherit a gene?  Evidently our supramarginal gyruses are puffing away.  Both of us are the only left hannders in our extended family.  Not saying that left handedness contributes to this, just another trait we share.  What did I become?  An RN.  Go figure.

Thanks for the disussion Ruth; it is interesting; it seems your little friend, Gabriella is on her own path with this and it will probably be with her all of her life. Enjoy her and if the occasion arises, give her a little hug from me.


Posted: Friday, April 19, 2019 12:33 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2329

I don't mind being called "Ruthie".  I have a co-worker that always yells in the morning when we see each other "....Hey!!!  Ruthie!"  He's always happy regardless of how much work he has to do.

Jo C., that is really interesting to learn about the supramarginal gyrus.  There are so many mysteries about the brain that I'm certain there are more things we have yet to learn.  And about this world in general.  That's what makes life so interesting. 

I can totally understand your worry about your son's field of work.  And you and he are amazing. It feels good to know that each one of us have certain traits that make us interesting and special.  


Jo C.
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2019 3:17 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11597

Ms. Ruth; all of us here know for sure that you are very, very special.


Posted: Monday, April 22, 2019 9:32 AM
Joined: 11/13/2014
Posts: 2365

I agree that Ruth is a treasure. hugs