This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Elizz. All opinions are 100% mine.
The natural, loving care that family members provide to one another is the engine of society. The care we give to those we love makes all other work possible and is the key to our very survival individually and collectively.
What exactly IS this care and how does it play out in families?
A mother arrives home from the hospital, newborn baby boy in her arms. Family and friends arrive with casseroles and plates of sandwiches. In a while, a friend invites the older children outside for a ball game. The new father smiles and whispers to his wife, “I will look after everything… you go and lie down with the baby. I’ll bring you some tea.”
Everyone understands that building the bond between mother and baby is sacred, especially in the first days and weeks of a new life. Everyone understands that the mother’s most urgent task is to bond with and care for her baby without distraction.
Years later, the same mother stumbles and falls. She has broken her hip. Her husband has passed away and all the children, except one, have moved to find work in cities far away. Her youngest son, the baby she nursed so long ago, lives nearby. He is his mother’s caregiver.
Older brothers and sisters telephone and write, asking for daily updates. They use technology and time saving apps to plan a schedule of rotating visits in order to support their mother and their brother in his caring role. They arrange for food to be delivered, the house to be cleaned and for neighbours to drop in for the sake of helpful friendship. They do this so their brother can give care to their mother without distraction.
‘I care for you because you cared for me’ represents the ethic of reciprocity that children of the frail elderly cite as an important motivation for caregiving and how Elizz changes lives every day. When caregivers decide to devote time, energy and kindness to an elderly parent, they have made a moral decision about what is right under the circumstances. And that moral decision is one that is rooted in love. Parents of children with disabilities or spouses of people with chronic illness make this decision, too.
There is a saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Fill yourself up first so you can then overflow.” When we see someone giving care, we pour in her cup. And the pouring and overflowing repeats itself in every family, in every culture.