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Tough choice

By Randy Clinkscales, Elder law attorney
Randy Clinkscales

Recently my wife and I ventured to Wichita so that we could spend some time with our two grandchildren. Max is new to the being a grandchild scene, having only been born in May. Alex, on the other hand, is three and really has this “being a grandson” role down to an art. He is also growing up and is being potty trained.  That means he wears “big boy” underwear (but still is wearing pants that are roomy enough for Pull Ups – kind of like a diaper). 

On this particular day, Alex spent most of his time with Barb and I. We took him everywhere, including the zoo, shopping, playground, and lunch. He was so good, and always appropriately and timely asked to use the restroom. 

About 3:00 pm we decided to head home (I don’t know if it was because he was tired or we were tired!). As a celebration of a great day, we stopped for takeout ice cream. I gave Alex his ice cream cone while he was sitting in his car seat. By the time we got to his parent’s home, a portion of the ice cream had melted, covering Alex’s hands and arms. I carefully lifted him out of the car seat, keeping my distance from the ice cream mess. I stood Alex on the ground. He took a step or two, and his too big pants fell down to his ankles. 

Alex looked down to his pants around his ankles, then he looked at the ice cream cone in his hands, and finally to me. He then repeated that process. 

I could tell he was trying to figure out what to do, and if, perhaps, I had a solution.  How could he keep his ice cream cone and his dignity? What was most important?

I thought about that experience with Alex for several weeks. I know there is a lesson there, if not several lessons.

Here’s one: It is okay to ask for help so you can keep what is precious to you. 

Too many times people have something special, but they don’t know how to protect it. It could be a business, farm, savings—but even more fundamentally, to stay independent and to stay at home.

But they are afraid to ask for help. And things work until they don’t. 

I think one of the best parts about what I get to do is helping families decide what is really important to them, and then showing them how we can protect and keep it. 

Let me go back to Alex. What did he do with the ice cream cone? After looking the situation over a couple of times, he decided to just keep on walking with his pants around his ankles and eating his ice cream cone. My wife and I could have helped, but we were laughing too hard.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help to keep your ice cream cone. You can have your ice cream and dignity both! 

Randy Clinkscales is an elder care attorney in Hays at Clinkscales Elder Law Practice P.A., 718 Main.