Our Happy Helpers families know Annie well. She comes once a month to lead us in stories and songs and has the cutest service projects. We love Annie and all that she does for Little Hands Can while also running a hip business, Baby Bootcamp -Eugene. More important than any of that, however, is how well she's raising her two little girls. When she shared about her oldest helping her dad, I just couldn't get it out of my head and knew you'd love the story too. So, without further adieu, here's Annie to tell us about Payton's special service.
My Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 10 years ago at the age of 50. He was devastated. I was much more optimistic. He was very young to be diagnosed and Parkinson's can progress very slowly. My Dad's did not.
Payton was born six years after my Dad's diagnosis. Already at the age of 56 he could no longer drive nor could he walk more than a few steps. He was struggling with depression and in a really dark place. He had worked hard his entire life. Retiring with my mom and enjoying their Golden Years together was always the dream and something he worked hard towards. He was watching it all slip away and was unable to figure out how to mentally deal with what was happening to him and his life.
With Payton's birth he found an outlet. An escape. She was so innocent and such a character. And she loved him. She was worth living for. He was needed as he could read her stories and sit with her.
As she began to grow he continued to get sicker and she started to help take care of him. She will be four next month. During her life he has lost all ability to walk, eat, swallow food that isn't pureed, wash himself, use the restroom, get in and out of bed, and his voice is a whisper. His body and face are frozen a lot of the time. She has seen him fall more times than I can count.
She pretends to read him stories, helps him eat, helps put him to bed when he is tired and cuddles with him while they watch TV. She is patient and loving and never forgets he is there. When he gets frustrated and loses his temper she stays calm and quickly forgives. Payton has made this journey more bearable for my father beyond measure.
My Dad's last few years of life may be much different then what he hoped and dreamed for but he still has acceptance, caring and love from someone that has only known him with late stages of Parkinsons. I have never witnessed anything more endearing.
Isn't Payton such a sweetie?! She is the perfect example of how naturally and cheerfully babies and kids help others. Thanks, Annie, for sharing!