The water sitting in small pockets after rainfall needed to be changed on my front lawn and for a long time it had been all too difficult. I had a new idea and wondered why I’d not thought of it before. It now seemed so simple, take up the pavers, put a pipe under them and then pop them back in place. Simple! Yes. If I had a small army of helpers to assist me of which I didn’t it would be easy. I was slightly challenged. The pavers had to come up, I could do this easily, I thought to myself. A pipe had to be laid, yes I thought dig a trench and lay it down then cover it back up. A drain hole had to be dug for the correct box to be put in and a few other things needed to be done.
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
I believe everything happens in life for a reason. My dad had offered a bunch of rocks he’d dug up from the garden so he transported them to my house. We unloaded them and had a laugh and I started talking about my idea with the transferring of the rainwater. Now, my dad is pretty handy and has built a few houses in his time, so I asked his advice on how to do the job. After explaining he asked if I would like a hand. I was overjoyed because his expertise was invaluable and his muscle much appreciated.
We got to work, pulling up pavers, and he started digging. Disappointment when he hit rock, “Oh, I thought to myself, our house is sitting on a bed of rock.” A jackhammer came to the rescue and the rock crumbled away. The hole was dug and the trench for the pipe was happening. It all came together over the space of 5 hours and the final pavers were jigsaw puzzled back into place as the last bit of daylight disappeared for the day.
The whole experience had me reflecting on different times I had spent with my dad who is now 78 years old. I reflected on how much he has taught me consciously and unconsciously over all the years. Today, he was still teaching me and I loved the close connection we had whilst both of us were down on our knees putting the pavers back into place. The discussion was fun, “no, it’s too high” I would say. “Get it out of the corners, it’s the key” he would say. “Bang it like this or it will break”, he added. The whole interaction was great and I was celebrating inside about the time I had with him. I thought to myself, ‘it’s Father’s Day next week’ and how it’s very cool to be doing this now and being fully present with him. In fact, spending quality time is essential. Appreciating all he has done for me over the years, the stories, the support, the love (even though it was never spoken about), just him being there has been special.
My paving, pipe and water transferring system was an experience I will treasure forever and remember easily as I step out my front door and walk over the pavers. My parents, like many others are ageing and with this, they are getting slower and a little different in their decisions. To be there supporting them to prepare for their old age is meaningful and important to me. There have been times when things haven’t always been smooth running for us, however they have been supportive to my choices in life. Parents do give unconditional love.
Tips to stay plugged in and supportive to ageing parents…
- Have good communication with them, either by skype, phone, text message, they appreciate a regular connection,
- Take them for a drive, out to lunch or grocery shopping,
- Invite them to help us with our jobs around the house,
- Seek their opinion and thoughts, they like to feel helpful and needed,
- If grandchildren are around, make regular visits a priority – grandparent role modelling is invaluable,
- Ask questions about their life, learn how things were as a child, with their parents, their start in life, first job, when they were married etc,
- Look through old photo’s allowing them to reminisce,
- Help with things around their house – odd jobs etc,
- Visit when we can if they live abroad,
- Take away for a weekend break or on the family holiday.
“A daughter may outgrow your lap but she will never outgrow your heart.”