11 Things Being A Caregiver For My Family Has Given Me In Return

11 Things Being A Caregiver For My Family Has Given Me In Return

I don’t take care of my family for the recognition from others, I do it because I love them.
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I currently help take care of my uncle who has Down Syndrome, my great uncle who has chromosomal miscounts, my grandmother who has had three amputation surgeries this summer and my grandfather who is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.

I have had many opportunities to learn as I have helped take care of my family members.

I want to share the lessons that I have learned, especially with those that take care of others.

1. Patience Is Important

There are days when I forget that my family members are older than I am. Sometimes, they cannot move or think as fast as I can. There are days when we don’t get along, even if it's over something that's unimportant.

Regardless, I love my family and have had to learn to be patient with them.

I also remind myself that they are patient with me.

2. Communication Is So Much More Than Spoken Words

Both of my uncles can be very difficult to understand verbally at times and get frustrated because of it.

Instead of increasing their frustration I have learned different ways to communicate with them.

Pointing, drawing and acting out what is needed or wanted are all ways that we can communicate without speaking.

3. It's The Little Things That Matter

My uncle loves coloring, and seeing his face light up when he has drawn something for me is priceless. My grandparents will often bring home treats for me when they’ve gone shopping.

Even just a hug will make my day.

4. Remember To Tell Your Family That You Love Them

This seems obvious if you are taking care of them, but it is important.

Caregiving may show that you care, but it means less if you forget to express it verbally.

Again, the little things matter.

5. There Will Be People Who Don't Understand Why You Choose To Be A Caregiver

Why would someone choose to take online college courses instead of moving on-campus?

Because my family is important to me.

Because of this, I decided to further my education while still helping them as much as I possibly can.

6. It's OK To Doubt Yourself

I’ve faced situations when I’ve been insecure about my abilities as a caregiver.

Life is unpredictable.

There will be situations when you don’t know what to do, and that's OK.

7. It's OK To Ask For Help

When you become overwhelmed and don’t know what to do, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

It is better to ask for help and feel a bit stupid than to struggle and regret your decisions later.

8. There Will Be Days When You Need A Break

If you don’t occasionally make time for yourself, you will get worn out.

Even if it’s just going to the grocery store by yourself, find a way to get away.

If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of those you love.

9. You Will Wonder How Much Longer You Have With Your Family

I have seen my family members go through extremely difficult health problems. It’s scary when you're faced with knowing that you could lose them at any moment.

Don’t give up hope or the memories you have of them.

10. Stay Humble

While it’s nice when people tell me that I’m inspirational for taking care of my family, it's also embarrassing.

I don’t take care of my family for the recognition from others, I do it because I love them.

11. You'll Never Regret Time Spent With Your Family

There are days when I disagree with my family members, days when I wonder how much longer I’ll have with them and days I just shake my head. Yet, I don’t regret any of the time I have spent with my family.

Being with my family through the difficult times is what has made us stronger.
Cover Image Credit: JaelAnn Hoover

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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16 Meaningful Things You Should Tell The People You Love More Often

The best way to make sure you don't lose the people you care about is to make sure they know how much you care about them.

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One way — the best way in my opinion — to make sure you don't lose the people you care about is to make sure they know how much you care about them. Everybody needs reassurance at times. It's human nature, and nothing feels better than hearing from somebody you love that they appreciate you and love you too.

There are plenty of ways to say "I love you" without saying those three words. Think about the last time you said any of these things to the people you love.

"I see all that you do for me, and I appreciate it." 

If you love somebody, you never keep score. But you should always thank them and make sure they know that what they do for you doesn't go unnoticed.

"Tell me about your day." 

If someone is important to you, you're probably the first person they want to tell things to. Asking this simple question — and making sure to listen to the response — makes them feel closer to you and like you're a part of their life.

This one can be especially crucial for people in long-distance friendships or relationships.

"I'm proud of you." 

"I miss you." 

These three little words can change someone's entire day.

"I'm lucky to have you." 

"Do you need to talk about anything?"

Sometimes, it's hard for people to openly start talking about things that are bothering them or things that they're struggling with. If someone you love seems off, asking this question can be a good opportunity to make them feel like they can talk to you about whatever is on their mind.

"What can I do to improve our relationship?"

This is something relationship counselors preach about, and it applies to relationships of any kind. It's so important, and your relationships will only benefit from this conversation!

"Is there anything I can do to make your day better?"

"I wish you were here."

"I don't want to lose you."

"You look really good today."

This one is super easy and not as deep, but it still makes someone feel really good — especially when they aren't expecting it.

"When can I see you next?" 

This is so underrated! It feels so good to know someone is looking forward to seeing you again. We stan effort!

"You make me so happy."

"You're doing amazing."

"I hope you have a good day."

This is super easy to text or tell someone in the morning. It lets them know you're thinking about them and sets up everyone to be in a good mood for the day!

"I'm sorry I don't say these things more often."

These are all such small sentences that hold so much meaning. Believe me when I say hearing these things from the right person at the right time can change everything for somebody.

It takes seconds to say/text these things, so there really is no excuse for not doing it.

Before you think, "Well, they never say this stuff to me either," stop and think about the last time you said one of these things to someone. Sometimes, it takes you to start. Your relationship is worth more than your pride.

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