Have you ever taken the time to look at one of those calendars that shows all of the National Holidays and Observances for a given month?
As I struggled to choose the topic for our blog this week, I decided to take a peek at the highlights for November in hopes of finding some inspiration; and I found myself a bit overwhelmed, and more than a tad amused at many of the things that we “celebrate”.
Here’s the list just for the third week in November:
Monday World Kindness Day, Sadie Hawkins Day
Tuesday Loosen Up/Lighten Up Day; American Teddy Bear Day; World Diabetes Day;
National Spicy Guacamole Day; National Pickle Day; Family PJ Day
Wednesday National I Love to Write Day; National Philanthropy Day; America Recycles Day;
National Clean Out Your Fridge Day; National Drummer Day; Raisin Bran Cereal
Thursday International Day for Tolerance; National Button Day; Have a Party With Your
Bear Day (not to be confused with American Teddy Bear Day-see above);
National Fast-Food Day; National Black Marketers’ Day
Friday Homemade Bread Day; Take A Hike Day; World Prematurity Day; Use Less
Stuff Day; Great American Smoke out Day
Saturday Occult Day; National Apple Cider Day; International Stand Up to Bullying Day
Sunday Family Volunteer Day; National Adoption Day; National Camp Day; National
Integration Day; Play Monopoly Day; Women’s Entrepreneurship Day
In total, there are currently 120 “day” celebrations; 12 observances that last a week; and 36 that get the whole month in November.
Many of these are very obviously worthy of pausing to consider, commemorate, and honor such as Veterans and Military Families and Educators.
Others . . . well . . . do Banana Pudding and Pepper really need a whole month, and should “Use Your Common Sense” only get one day?
In truth, pondering this list distracted me even further from completing my blog. Instead, I had so many questions . . . mostly in regard to just who decides what makes the list. What are the criteria that must be met in order to get a day a week or even a month? Who votes? Is there a limit as to the number that can be included? Afterall, those squares on the calendar are pretty small!
It led me to think about the deeper concept of what we, as humans, as individuals and as societies value; and why, perhaps it can be so overwhelming to set our priorities and focus our energies when there is so much competing for our attention, our affection, our time and our money.
It forced me to think about the things I value, as well. And not just value, but that I take for granted. That has actually been something I’ve given a lot of thought to, especially over the last several months as I’ve started to work more closely with the families, we serve through our Patient Advocacy program. Hearing their stories, and the incredible challenges that many of them face as they live with the reality of having a child who is ill, makes me realize most of my struggle's pale in comparison. In fact, while we all have things in our lives that we wish we didn’t have to deal with . . . I think most would agree, nothing is more heartbreaking than having a child who is suffering.
For these families, their calendars don’t have space for National Cook for Your Pet Day, or Jellyfish Day, or Vinegar Day. They are filled with doctor’s appointments, and therapy appointments, and schedules that revolve entirely around caring for their child and trying to keep it all together. Theirs are just put one foot in front of the other day, make it through one more day - days.
Do you know a family like this? My guess is you do, but you don’t know how to help. Perhaps you ARE a family like this, but you are afraid to ask for help. Wherever you find yourself, my best advice is to REACH OUT! There are so many ways we can support each other, and so many resources available to those who need assistance.
That is the purpose of our Patient Advocacy Program at the Olivia Caldwell Foundation. We work to help families get connected to resources. Sometimes that means finding goods and services, but sometimes it’s connecting them with other people who can lend a hand or just an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on . . . small things that can make the Day-to-Day days so much easier!
So, as we head into these months, full of holidays, celebrations, commemorations, and commitments . . . I encourage you to make room in those tiny, crowded calendar squares to take care of yourself, and to look for opportunities to help others.
By the way . . . November happens to be National Family Caregivers Month and Gratitude Month! Now those are worth celebrating!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.