(a little late)
My daughter Jackie and her daughter Hailey came over yesterday so that she could use my washing machine, so the day was spent having fun with Hailey, watching movies and happily letting Jackie fix dinner as an exchange for laundry room privileges.
It was a nice visit, but tiring - I am now thoroughly in the midst of a good arthritic flare, complete with bottoming out levels of exhaustion (so to be fair, the day would have been tiring with or without company).
But as far as gratitude goes...
I am grateful for opportunities to help.
There are some things I can't give - specifically regarding my daughter's family (who moved out about 2 1/2 months ago now)... I can't give my babysitting time to them, for a lot of reasons mostly having to do with it being very hard work for me and time spent doing that means I'm not doing anything else. And my energy is my rarest and most valued commodity, since I have to live life between flares. (this is something that may not make any sense at all to anyone not experiencing it but that's ok)
I actively seek ways to allow them to barter for the time, rather then exchanging money for it - but I have some pretty strong opinions on valuing those who are looking over your kids enough to pay for it, and if I'm budgeting and making choices to limit activities based on affordability..well... I did my time doing that with small children, and now it's their turn. (There is a bit of tough love in play here - the transition from 'oh mom will take care of this' to full self sufficiency has been a bit slow going where they're concerned - free babysitting was my personal line in the sand and one I'm getting subtle pressure to erase... 'his mom will watch her free... except she's busy....')
But I do give where I can, of what I can. Doing their laundry here while they save up for their own machines is something I can offer, and I'm glad to do so. In an odd way I think my standing firm on my own boundaries - on the line that lets me enjoy giving instead of resenting being taken from - is also helpful, to them as well as to me. She commented yesterday that she is actively trying to wean themselves from leaning too hard on me, because I'm leaving next summer, and that's a good outlook to have.
That fine line between being helpful and keeping them overlong in the nest is a tough one for me - but I always know when I've hit the right balance, because (like yesterday), I can feel good about what I'm offering. And I am finding that 'help' is more helpful when the other person has the opportunity to give back.
Dinner last night was nice - she brought over fixings to make croissant sandwich roll ups (ham or turkey slices and cheese, rolled up in a croissant and baked - yum!)