Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
I expected my son, Steve, to be nervous about having me babysit for his newborn daughter (my granddaughter), Parker. After all, he’s had a front row seat on my 18-year journey with Parkinson’s disease and knows how gait and balance disturbances, and sleep attacks come and go with little or no warning. I assured Steve that to avoid endangering Parker I would hold her only when I’m seated and feeling secure. Otherwise my husband, Tony, puts her in her bouncy chair or transfers her to her play mat on the floor next to me so we can interact safely.
Parker was almost four months old when I got my first chance to babysit. Steve reminded us that it had been a very long time since we had taken care of a baby, and that Parker was a lot of work; as if he wasn’t. She would be up for an hour or two, take a bottle, need a diaper change, and then be put to bed. Nothing new to us, we assured him. The basic “how tos” of taking care of a baby haven’t changed that much in 36 years.
The biggest dilemma we faced is which pjs Parker should wear. She didn’t indicate a preference, so we went with ones that looked big enough that we could slip them on without upsetting her. Piece of cake. Afterwards, Tony stood her up in her crib so we could admire our handiwork. Her pjs were on backwards. The tag at the front of her neck was a dead giveaway. Parker found this quite funny, I told her we’d leave it for her daddy to find so he wouldn’t look deeper yet to find something else I had done wrong.
Next time we will bring a change of clothing for grandpa who ended up wearing much of Parker’s milk.
The three of us thoroughly enjoyed our time together. I was surprised to hear myself singing the French children’s songs my grandmother sang to me so very long ago. Mamaleh, she called me, a term of endearment I whisper in Parker’s ear. Each new baby links one generation to another. My desire to see Parker grow up and have children of her own drives me to keep fighting Parkinson’s.
All in all Tony and I did okay. The next day, Steve reported that Parker slept until 12:45 a.m. – a new record. And, by the way, she had only good things to say about you.