February blessing
Opinion | Poetry

February blessing

Now it’s February. We can’t forget it’s the month to celebrate Black History (I highly recommend I. Wilkeson’s book The Warmth of Other Suns), and there are some who like to acknowledge St. Valentine on February 14. Yet, I must admit, I’m finding it hard to write about non-COVID-19 things. After almost one year, this…

Happy New Year?
Disability | Family Life | Opinion

Happy New Year?

In 1999, Ralph and I were living in Minneapolis, and there was hype over the impending switch from 1999 to 2000. Given that computers were programmed for just two digits (keeping 19 as the understood first two digits), experts feared the systems that ran everything, including banking, power plants and library fines, would not be…

WITH US
Family Life | Holidays | Opinion

WITH US

“So, when are we decorating for Christmas?” My oldest turned to me and asked, as she does every year when the calendar marks November. If you’ve read my column in the past, you’ll know she’s also the one who programs my kitchen radio to every station that only plays Christmas music. The kid has an…

Holding Our Own
Family Life | Opinion

Holding Our Own

Thanks to Gordon Lightfoot, I associate this time of year with the gales of November. Forty-five years ago this month, one of the largest ships of the Great Lakes sailed and sank – the Edmund Fitzgerald. The last words from the captain over radio transmission were, “We are holding our own, going along like an…

The Gift of Respite
Disability | Opinion

The Gift of Respite

For those unfamiliar with my column, I’m a mom to four great girls. Caring for neurotypical teens is not without its challenges, but I have chosen to focus my writing primarily on my two younger daughters. Rachel and Janneke are neurodiverse with specific medical needs that create an added layer of complexity to mothering. Juggling their care alongside engineering the home routine keeps me more than sufficiently busy.

(Trying to) Choose Joy
Disability | Opinion

(Trying to) Choose Joy

To follow my previous column (CC May 11), our family has appreciated having a community nurse return to our home for weekly hours. I am thankful for the help with medications, pain management and extra time over the dinner hour. Though a sense of familiarity in routine has returned, I cannot ignore the persistent feelings of discontentment. Rachel and Janneke cannot verbalize this to me, but they are missing the informal connections with classmates.

Risk and Reciprocity
Disability | Opinion

Risk and Reciprocity

As I write this, our family is preparing to welcome a nurse back into our home after suspending our community nursing services for the last five weeks. The stories in early February of a contagious yet elusive virus created concern for us with the possibility of a community transmission into our home. Our younger daughters, Rachel and Janneke, are part of the vulnerable sector in this province, and our caregivers also work with multiple clients and in long-term care homes.

Freedom Stories
Disability | Opinion

Freedom Stories

Shortly after Rachel was born, I spoke with a mom who had two older children with disabilities, and she wisely encouraged me not to hide. Her own experience had taught her that people will not help if they do not know the need, and people will not know how to respond unless they hear the story. Because Rachel and Janneke were not able to verbalize their stories, I took that advice and chose to share glimpses of what I called our story. Interestingly enough, Janneke’s sounds are now increasing in volume and range, leading me to wonder if she’s trying to tell me her story.

All this need, all the time
Disability | Reviews

All this need, all the time

“I would never quite be the same.” So ends The Dwindling, a personal and quirky account of Janet Dunnett’s experience in caring for her aging parents. Not intended as a spoiler alert, it is a truth woven through the thoughts and stories from Janet’s perspective. Lest we think caregiving for aging parents is gentle and warm, filled with vignettes of wonderful memories, Janet shares the less-than-perfect but very real experience of helping her parents through their dwindling years.