“I don’t know how you do it,” people say to me.

“Oh, please” and an eye-roll are my usual responses. If only they knew.

The best advice I ever received came from my mother-in-law. She had 13 children of her own and raised a 14th, just for good measure. I asked her once how she did it.

“You just do,” she said.

Family Reunion 2011
Family Reunion 2011

And she did.

Talk about an overwhelming task.

When life is full and feels like too much, I start with the first small thing and go from there.

Routines help — but we can’t be a slave to them.

One small thing.

Then another.

Breakfast set out — juice with pills beside, cereal and Lactaid milk. My father knows to expect these.

Blood pressure recorded. Easy. And done.

Move to the living room and make sure he has his newspaper and a pen.

Help the girls with school.

Or write.

Or read.

Or laundry.

Lunch at 12:30. Soup or leftovers.

And so the day goes.

Like walking over a creek using rocks as stepping-stones. Sometimes things get a little slippery, but I try to maintain my balance.

How do I do it?

One step at a time.

I just do.


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