THAT Must Be Nice: What Not to Say When Caregivers Get Time Away

Well, indeed, it was. It was nice for my husband and I to have a business/pleasure trip planned away from the children. We’d probably been married 10 years and never left the children with someone for this long….1 week.

How surprising it was to me, when telling a friend at church my excitement about our upcoming trip, to hear her sarcastically reply, “Well, that must be nice. Wish I could do that.” I couldn’t help myself respond, “Well, it is nice, because when all of our children are grown and on their own, yours will be on their own along with our 2 daughters, and I’ll still need care for our son when he’s an adult. We’re thankful the grandparents offered now because they will not be here later to help.”


Fast-forward some 30 years and we’re here. Any time we travel for ministry we need to be sure we have care for Joey lined up. At age 37 he can’t be left alone a whole day and certainly not for a week! A few hours max, and that’s if his needs are cared for—unless we want to come home to find him having eaten all the Oreos and lots of Ritz Bits. While we do have 5 awesome caregivers for him (my sister Sue, our 2 daughters and 2 sons-in-law) for times we need or choose to travel, there is a lot that goes into it for us to get away. (And just to mention, often our times of getting away is ministry related so we are meeting needs of others “on the road” and not getting away for rest and refreshment.)

The reason getting away is nice, is because every day is a challenge; and getting away for those challenges is refreshing. That isn’t a complaint but merely a fact. Getting away from the daily challenges in everyone’s every day life is refreshing but when you are caring for one or more people in your family who need 24/7 care and attention; it’s just different. You don’t get to claim your free time whenever you want; you have to organize it with others who can take over what your responsibilities are. When you get to be away and concentrate on just you, you get refreshed.

So I guess what I really longed for, the response I needed and would have appreciated from my church friend would have been more like this, “I’m happy for you to get away. Have fun!” Here are some other responses that would have been grand, too:

  • “So, how did you decide where you would go for this wonderful week?”

  • “Only a week….I wish you could get away for 2.”

  • “ I am going to pray for you daily that you’ll get the refreshment you need.”

  • “You work so hard every day. I hope you get the break you need. HAVE FUN!

And this isn’t just for the church setting. We would all do well to be happy for others when they get to do something fun, exciting, and adventurous. It blesses our souls, it strengthens us to go on, and we have a memory which to hold when we have a bad day. Let’s learn to encourage others rather than dampen their plans. THAT must be nice!

Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at and social media at: