I interview caregivers
regularly these days.
One question I ask is
“What types of caregiving
have you done
through the years?”
People tell me about all kinds of situations.
After they describe caring for loved ones
following accidents, through illnesses,
and as death approaches,
they’ll often say,
“Of course, I cared for my children (or grandchildren)
after they were born.”
These are, without question, caregiving experiences—
ones that require plenty of time and energy,
ones that can extend for many years.
Yet this normal child-rearing type of caregiving
is unique in an important way—
it is usually anticipated.
This is what we want to do.
Often it is what we have longed to do.
Our caring flows out of us, effortlessly.
In a sense it is unstoppable.
I am learning, and re-learning, that
these days as a grandfather.
Any of us can learn this, and re-learn it,
as parents and aunts and uncles,
as stepparents and godparents,
as people whose ties are of the heart,
whether or not our genes are linked.
The love streams out.
It resists being contained.
It’s rather wonderful, isn’t it?

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