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In about an hour I am going to start gathering my stuff for the Quilt Retreat. I have been attending this quilt retreat with the same group of women for the past 16 years, missing only a few of them. This is a refreshing respite from everything, including technology. We watch chick flicks on DVD, but we try to cut ourselves off from the news, and regular TV. We quilt, knit, crochet, tat, but mostly quilt all weekend. And we talk, talk, talk. It’s wonderful. My loving husband has made this possible.

Respite is so needed for caregivers. When we would hear recommendations on the radio or from the pulpit that it was important to have a date night once a week, we would laugh (inwardly in church). Some years we had a date night twice a year. When our kids were in early elementary school, it was very hard to find the right babysitter. It had to be someone who could handle the chaos with understanding. “Watching” them was demanding. Our kids also needed babysitting far longer than other kids. The cost was high. A night or a weekend away, well…we couldn’t think about that.

When our kids were in late elementary school, Thresholds came into our life. This agency sent therapists to visit our home once a month and gave us advice on teaching activities of daily living. They gave us special table knife so that my son could learn how to cut his own waffles, for instance. They also had a respite program which helped with the expense of babysitting. So my sister drove four and a half hours to take care of our kids twice a year while we went to stay in a nearby hotel for a weekend. Thresholds recommended a mother of an adult handicapped daughter for short-term babysitting, so that we could have a date night once a month. We enjoyed the quiet. We talked to each other without interruption. We went out to eat and didn’t have to supervise. These respites were a relief. A relief.

We were blessed by them.