Just as the snow was starting to fall today in earnest and the winds were really starting to wail, I realized that I was going to have to go by myself and do the daily duty of checking on my mother-in-law and making her some food. My husband pretty much does this every day; whenever I am not at work, I accompany him. Our adult kids also help out with this task.
Because we do it every day, it is really easy to get in the habit (and you almost need to rely on the stability of habits to deal with the ups and downs of caretaking an elderly parent) of having a task-oriented approach to the visits, instead of a relational approach: “This, that, and the other thing must be taken care of every day.” Busy lives, filled with work and other responsibilities, make it difficult to find the time to drive there, finish the required list of tasks, and return home or work or wherever else it is that you need to go next.
Today, even though all the snow, storm, wind, and whatever was awaiting me outside, I decided to pause and be sure that I gave the right amount of relational time of listening and sitting and talking. That seemed like a kind thing to do.