Celebrating Our Sons and Daughters
Each year, August 11 is celebrated as National Son and Daughter Day. It is the perfect day to celebrate our love for our children. The earliest record of this unofficial holiday goes back to 1936 when J. Henry Dusenberry first had the idea when a boy asked him why there was a day to celebrate mothers and fathers but not children. The focus of this holiday is to think about how much you love and appreciate your children of all ages. At one point at least 22 states celebrated this day. In 1972, a Florida Congressman lobbied to make it an official national holiday, but it still remains an unofficial holiday.
Most parents of younger children feel that nearly every day is focused on their children, but as we get older the tables begin to turn. As an estate and elder law attorney, I see amazing children who sacrifice quite a bit to help their parents as they age. I am often touched at how much love and care so many adult children provide to their parents sometimes at the sacrifice of their own children or grandchildren. People often express that we do not take care of our elderly anymore and while there are many examples of that, I’ve been blessed to meet some pretty amazing ‘kids’ over the years.
I have many stories, but a few come to mind. For example, I once worked with an elderly man who was a little difficult when I met him, but he had four children who all came into the office with him. The children were so patient with him, making sure that his wishes were fulfilled, they were trying to figure out how to keep him safe at home for as long as possible. I worked with them for quite some time before I learned that Dad was actually not a great Dad to those kids, but they still worked as a team and did everything they could for him. I was amazed that even though their father wasn’t there for them, they were there for their father.
Another family had a few adult children that lived in the area, there was so much love in this family because they had wonderful parents. Unfortunately, both parents were in and out of the nursing home. This roller coaster of decisions has huge health and financial consequences often causes friction among the children, but not these kids. They visited their parents almost every day, regardless of whether they were at home or in the nursing home. They did everything they could to make sure their parents knew they were loved and respected, they also kept their sense of humor which kept their parents’ spirits up.
While those children were amazing because they all worked together, often it is only one child trying to take care of everything on their own. Although its nice that they don’t have anybody to fight with, they also do not have anybody helping them. One ‘kid’ comes to mind who was actually a senior citizen himself, but he not only worked closely with us with one parent, but then a second parent as they went through various health issues. Never once did he complain or get frustrated with the situation.
If you are lucky enough to have awesome parents or awesome children, make sure you take a moment to let them know how much you love and appreciate them. Don’t assume they just know how you feel, it’s pretty nice to hear it too!