Little Diapers and BIG Diapers…

Author: Brad  |  Category: Care Giving, Family, Health & Wellness, Jobs Careers

As I’ve shared in prior posts, I’m the oldest of nine siblings. Second came Kim and then Marc.

Then there was the ever-so-slight pause in production to make time for the first import – Lisa (from Korea).

And finally (for awhile) came Heather and we were five.

I don’t recall exactly how old Heather was when #6, Susan arrived, but I do know that there was a long enough break there for the folks to raise a few pretty good babysitters. By the time Susan did get there, Kim and Marc and I were pretty well versed in everything from diaper changing and dressing to feeding to bossing to pretty much whatever was required to ride herd on the younger set.

Mom, being who she was (and is to this day), the consummate outgoing, kind-hearted, compassionate, always-concerned-about-others, what-can-we-do-for-you type, had long since managed to network herself into “the loop” down at Holt International Children’s Services in Eugene, Oregon. She was, it seemed, at the ready when it came time to “mother” a few more. All of us now rise up and call her “Blessed.”

So it was that once the crew of babysitters had been sufficiently reared (“you build it, they will come”), along came Susan, LeaAnn, Matthew and finally, Bethany (finally!) 🙂 Along the way, there were also a number (I can’t remember the number, so it must have been significant) of foster children that lived with us for varying lengths of time.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way complaining about the fact that we were a large family. It most certainly made life rich and always an adventure.

I simply give this long evolution of the Family Boardman to make this point: For some of us Boardmans, care giving is like breathing. When I started having (and marrying into) my own kids, no problem. When they started having their kids, piece-o’-cake, in terms of how care is done and what’s involved.

And isn’t it interesting that we all start out in diapers, outgrow them, change them and many of us (just give it a few decades!) end up right back in them? Ah, yes, care giving for the oldsters. The disabled. The infirmed. Same thing as with the youngsters with just a bit more lip!

Mom’s mom, Gramma Bahl, came to live with us (Carrie and me) after the second time she took a tumble to the floor and couldn’t get up (living by herself) until we happened in to check on her. That was enough of that!

Then you can ask my wife and her brother Doug about taking care of their dad, Jack, following multiple strokes. Resistance? What resistance?

January 9, 2000, 4:00 a.m., June (my Alzheimer’s victim mother-in-law) and her developmentally disabled daughter Elisabeth came to stay.

Elisabeth remains.

In fact, hang on, I have to go feed her some lunch!

Back again.

Yes, Beth (as we call her) is my age and one of God’s blessings to our home. She does most everything for herself. You just have to tell her when to do it and how much. Believe me, if you have to take care of someone, you want that someone to be like Beth!

A couple years ago I reconnected after some time with some older friends (now in their mid eighties) whom Carrie and I had known for 25 years or so. Since our last meeting Dorothy had become a stroke victim and now required total care and could no longer speak. Ralph was taking care of her at home as best he could, but when, after looking in on them for a few months, I discovered that he was doing her care giving from his wheelchair, once again we decided: That’s enough of that!

After a year and a half of caring for the two of them in the un-privacy of our family room, they did end up moving to an Adult Family Home south of Seattle. But while they were here, I decided this whole care giving business was probably here to stay. None of us seem to be getting any younger and at least in or surrounding our family, it seems like someone is always either getting ready to need care, in the midst of getting care or…well…every once in a while they do get better!

All that brings me to this: Progress on Project #1 which I mentioned briefly awhile back. I’m building a care giving room in my garage. As we speak, the flatbed is pulling away having dropped off the sheetrock and drywall supplies that will be installed beginning tomorrow. I’m actually starting to get excited about the prospect of having a “built-to-suit” facility in which to be able to do what’s necessary for the next person in line.

In fact, this project is now deadline-driven because I learned a couple days ago that Sister Sue will be arriving for a week on August 31st.

It’ll be this new room’s maiden voyage!

You’re in Boardman Country!

Make yourself at home,


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10 Responses to “Little Diapers and BIG Diapers…”

  1. Linda Says:

    Hi Brad .. I came by to see how superman was doing! He and his family are doing just wonderful! I find it very heartwarming! I, too, am taking care of elderly and they are just a joy. We have some bad days but mostly good. Those are the ones to remember!

  2. Diane Says:

    Hi Brad! Sounds like you’ve always known, and have always had, your “niche.” I agree with Linda, heartwarming!

  3. admin Says:

    Hey Linda!

    If you’re giving care I’m sure we’ll have many notes to compare over time.

    And Diane, I know you know what we’re talking about as well!

    Never knew the internet could be this FUN! 🙂

  4. The Patriarch Says:

    It’s good to know that there’s an experienced caregiver standing by when I finally get this big, bad, awesome deck finished!

  5. mosquito ringtone Says:

    These all look so adorable.

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  7. Cheltenham hotel Says:

    Wow that’s a big family! Good fun as the eldest, prob not so much for the youngest!

  8. 640-721 Says:

    it’s funny, keep it

  9. 646-588 Says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal life experience with us because its never easy to share your personal experience with other.

  10. 70-270 Says:

    seems really interesting to be with you over there.