We 3 is a collection of stories – sometimes touching, sometimes hilarious, always authentic – about a baby boomer caring for her aging parents.
“There are many audiences for books of this type. People will read Ms. Snyder's work for: comfort from the feeling of aging, reflection of family closeness, to cope with caring for a loved one, and so much more.” – Travis Adams Irish
“I recommend this book! Theresa's collection of essays on living with her parents as their adult caregiver shed light on the ups and downs of re-combining the family unit after years spent apart.” – JKMohr
“The stories are charming, funny, thoughtful and informative for many of us who have, or will, taken care of our aging family.” – Marsha A. Schauer
I like sayings or quotes. One of my favorites, that I share with parents of young kids is “The days are long but the years are short.” If you are a parent, you know this to be true. There are some days when you can’t wait to get through it and go to bed. And then, too soon, your baby is in college and your toddler is getting married. Author Snyder experienced the same kind of days and years with her aged parents.
In her heartwarming book, We Three author Theresa Snyder shared short vignettes about living in the same house as a loving daughter and caretaker for her elderly parents. Ms. Snyder told how she focused on keeping her parents both physical and mentally healthy and comfortable. Some of their days together were spent with the author working with her dad in the garden, and then her Mom would join them and the three would sit and relax on their deck in the late afternoon and chat and enjoy the beauty.
The author did more than provide positive and humorous stories and the problems and praises of living with her parents. She also gave tips for caretakers or family members. One suggestion that I thought was so helpful was that she arranged time for herself to get away from home for a bit. She suggested going to a coffee shop and taking a book, “so you don’t feel alone and sit there worrying instead of relaxing.”
Ms. Snyder ended her book, “I hope in my short vignettes you have found a bit of humor, some insight, and a few helpful tips. In parting, I will say that it has been a challenge at times, but one that will be worth every worry, stress and madness in the long run. I will have the satisfaction of knowing I did all I could do. No looking back and saying “I wish I had…”
Each chapter of the book seemed to be an article that had been previously published by the author. They were positive, light-hearted and well-written, but the format of a series of articles is not the most engaging way to present a story. However, I am sure that many readers will be hearted and encouraged by this book. And I picked up another good motto from the author, “Keep Laughing!”
Having nearly twenty years of combined experience educating young children, I completely understand and appreciate the importance of the caregiver role.
However, I have the utmost admiration and respect for those who care for the elderly because at least the children I care for have the capacity to learn something new and retain that knowledge. They have the ability to be disciplined and taught what’s right and wrong, what’s appropriate and not appropriate, what’s real and pretend. Some elderly people lose these means of discernment, depending on their age and mental state. They forget things, act out in public when events don’t go their way, and often times can’t do tasks by themselves. Unlike with children, where these things can be managed and, with proper discipline, prevented in the future, the elderly often have diseases and mental impairments which only worsen with time. Discipline is not warranted because they are not always acting out of their own defiance and stubbornness; their minds don’t always register that their behavior is inappropriate, and they cannot be taught to “behave properly.” It simply is what it is, and what it becomes with age.
It was refreshing to read this author’s journal entries about a-day-in-the-life-of-a-caregiver-for-the-elderly. While she shares the hardships of taking on such an enormous task of caring for both of her aging parents alone, she also sprinkles in humor and inspiration to offer a ray of hope for those who may be going through the same thing now or sometime in the future. She doesn’t claim to be a saint, stressing that just as they say it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a strong support system to care for aging parents, which she eloquently words as: “If family is the hardscape of your garden, then friends are the flowers.”
Reading this story was a bit nostalgic as well, for me. As this author explains, growing up, her home was the hangout house, and her parents took in a multitude of non-biological children, offering them loving, discipline when needed, and teaching them life skills that they were unable to attain anywhere else. My childhood home was just like this. After reading this book, I feel as if I know this author and her parents because we’ve had some of the same experiences – especially the one about the TV remote. Oh my goodness! My father does that same thing when he falls asleep in his easy chair.
There were just so many things I loved about this book. One of my favorite quotes was: “Sometimes caregivers need caregivers.” I can definitely identify with that sentiment, as I’m a person who always put others’ needs ahead of my own as well. It’s how I was raised.
In summation, the message I took from this book was: our parents raise us, wipe our noses and bottoms, dry our tears, help us pick out our clothes, feed us, and soothe our fears. Why should we not do the same for them when the time comes?
Though this wasn’t a perfectly edited read, it was engaging enough to keep me turning pages. I give it a BLUE-worm rating! I highly recommend it to anyone, as someday, EACH OF US will either be the ones doing the caregiving, or perhaps we will be on the other side of the equation, needing to be cared for.