The Pool

Hand in water

Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.—Prove rbs 17:6 (NIV)

My long-widowed mother loved to swim. She appreciated the stress relief it gave her. But as her health declined in her 80s, she had to give it up. She talked about swimming again once her health improved. That was never going to happen, I decided. She didn’t have the strength or stamina to swim anymore. I watched over Mom like a hawk. We had long ago switched roles.

One summer afternoon—without my knowledge—my son, Russ, then 21, called his grandma and talked her into going to the pool with him. They were close, and no doubt he thought I worried over her too much.

Afterwards, Russ told me what he’d done. “Mom, Grandma really wanted to go swimming again. She deserved an opportunity. She wasn’t able to hold herself up in the water, so I just held her in a floating position. She was nervous at first, but once she relaxed, she was so happy.”

I was sure I knew what was best for my mother, but in controlling her life so completely, I had taken away her ability to make decisions on her own behalf. She wasn’t a child, but I was treating her like one. My initial anger at Russ dissipated. He taught me an important lesson that day. Mom needed me to watch over her, but I needed to give her breathing room, too.

Today's Prayer:

Father, as we care for our loved ones, may we always remember the importance of respecting their dignity and decision-making abilities.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts