When I was a little kid, I was excited whenever somebody asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I always had a solid list for Santa because, from my perspective at least, I was always a good girl. That made the question easy to answer back then. People have been asking me what I wanted for Christmas for the past few weeks, and these days I have found it difficult to come up with anything tangible. I am at the time in my life when I just don’t want any more stuff. But there is a group of guys in my life who are giving me the best Christmas present that I could ask for.
I wrote a post a few months ago about my “dream team” of caregivers. The four college students who help me out with my day-to-day needs so that I can live the best life that I possibly can. Each of the four brought something unique to the table, and because I have struggled so much in the past to find reliable caregivers who stick with me for a while, I was more grateful for this particular team of caregivers than I could ever express to them.
I typically work with college students. Therefore, I understand that their lives can be unpredictable. That proved to be the case for one of the people working for me. She found another job that she thought would be a better experience for her future career, so she quit suddenly and unexpectedly.
I have been hiring and managing caregivers long enough to know that December is a really bad time to advertise. Even when people want a new job, typically towards the end of the year they are finishing previous employment, or they want to take a break between jobs to enjoy the holidays.
When this caregiver quit, I was devastated. I knew that I probably could not replace for a while, and I knew that being a caregiver “down” would mean that the rest of the team would probably have to work more shifts than they intended. Experience has taught me that is a big deal since it was right before finals and so close to Christmas break.
When I explained the situation to the other caregivers at our next scheduling meeting, I told them that I understood this was a busy time of year for them and that I was okay doing as much as I could by myself.
They would not hear of it. The exceptional young men who make up the rest of my team of caregivers rallied around me, even though doing so was not easy for them.
When all of them had a final exam at the same time one morning, one of them arranged with his professor to start his test later that day. He didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of me getting out of bed on my own. (Thanks, Ryan!)
Another caregiver lives about four hours away. But he is coming back on two separate occasions for a few days over Christmas break so that he can help out and make sure that my needs are met. The two of us even made a list of fun things to do while he is here so that he can be sure that I have a good time over the holidays. These two trips were not part of his plan originally, and he made arrangements to stay with one of my other caregivers while he is in town since the frat house where he lives is closed between semesters. (Thanks, Ben!)
The third caregiver has family that lives just outside of town. He worked the majority of Thanksgiving break by himself and told me that he was happy to work often over Christmas break as well. He has already asked me if I would be okay with him making homemade waffles for breakfast on Christmas morning. He is an amazing cook. (Thanks, Jake!)
What my team of caregivers are giving me this year is so much bigger than anything that can be put in a box.
When one of my caregivers quit without notice, the rest had every right to tell me they could not pick up the slack. They all had other things going on. Instead, they all took it upon themselves to rearrange their plans so they could make sure that I knew I was safe and cared for.
It’s a gift that is simply priceless!