There is nothing better than last nights kebab for breakfast. Or lunch.

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Posted by Me - - 10 comments

A BIG welcome to my guest blogger, Diney... 
Older mums are fun - unless they forget to take their HRT!

I’m Diney and am delighted to be a guest blogger on Manda’s blog, if only because it makes me sound like a real writer! I have an opinionated 10 year old daughter who is now fully informed on all things grown up as I gave her ‘the talk’ a few days ago, so now she thinks she is going to be able to give up hockey (which she detests) if she has a baby. Hmmm…..perhaps that talk should be reviewed again.
I’m married to the kindest man ever, and we have been together since I was 15, which is some going! We live in rural Northumberland, together with an exceptionally greedy cocker spaniel, a massive Maine Coon cat who thinks he is a dog,  a kitten called Saffy, and a nameless aged gerbil who is a glutton for sunflower seeds and will probably live on for years because of them.
I’m also Mum to (ahem!) a gorgeous 28 year old son (I was a teenage bride!) who lives in London and is getting married in May. On this blog I call him Big Bro to protect his identity just a smidgeon.

Role Reversal

Having children changes you for ever. Nothing warns you of the magnitude of that overwhelming surge of sheer love and adoration you feel for your child as you cradle it in your arms. Nothing. Am I correct so far?

From being free, independent and, dare I say it, a little selfish, suddenly you are no longer Living the life, when there was no problem waking up  the ‘morning after’ with a massive hangover, or sleeping it off at the weekend, with enough disposable income to enjoy the theatre and restaurants as much as your little heart desired, with no-one to think of but yourself (in most cases). This is a generalization, but you get the picture. Life BC and life AC.

Of course that all changes once you hold your own little bundle of pleasure in your arms and you become instantly grown up. Just like that. You become in a split second a carer instead of being cared for and you begin to realize, slowly at first, just what your own parents have done for you to get you to this stage of life relatively unscathed. Oh yes! You realize that they must have felt like this when they held you in their arms all those years ago and lovingly cradled your soft downy head and kissed you warmly on your soft peachy cheeks.

They, too, must have worried the first time they had to change your nappy, or give you that first tentative bath. They were new to being carers as well, once upon a time. They must have been just as anxious about you on your first day at school, and maybe they cried softly too as they watched you walk into school, wondering if you were happy and had made friends yet, just exactly as you have done with your child(ren).

Roles change, and the child becomes the new parent,  the parent/grandparent then has time for themselves, if they are lucky, and can hopefully have a relationship with their grandchildren.  The sad fact of life is that the roles eventually change again, and the child becomes the parent, the parent becomes the child.  This is such a hard role reversal to compute. It seems totally against nature. They have always been there for us (if we’ve been lucky enough) but suddenly they become ill or frail and old and they depend on their children. Us.

My father in law was our family doctor, and my parent’s best friend. I’ve known him all my life. A wonderfully kind and gently spoken, reassuring doctor who instantly made you feel secure as a patient under his benevolent care. He was of the old school era who kept his clothes handy to pull on during the night over his pyjamas when he was called out to see a patient on an emergency call. That would happen 7 nights of the week, and it was often more than one call a night. He had a brilliant brain, was one of the pioneers of giving blood transfusions and of setting up the blood transfusion service in this country, and he could answer any question on any subject you may throw at him. He had a sensitive side to his nature in his love of opera, and would switch on his beloved hi fi system (which he mostly built himself from electrical bits and pieces) and have one of the great love stories of Puccini  playing literally at full blast so the wonderful arias enveloped the entire household (and bad luck if you didn’t like it! Luckily, all four children grew up with a similar love of opera as a result – or perhaps despite it always being played!)

Now he stands looking out of a window in a home for the elderly with EMI dementia, my sister in law no longer able to give him full time care, having tried valiantly for almost two years but finally metaphorically throwing up her hands in despair. Now he pulls and tugs at his sleeves and cries, speaking gibberish, not eating, looking lost and bewildered.

Dementia is so prevalent nowadays, and yet there is no funding available for research into this terrible problem, there is no cure, nor even anything  to help prevent it’s insidious onslaught on the brain.

Clearly my dear father in law is aged. He delivered my husband himself on the kitchen table because his partner was delayed in snow. He cradled his son and his three other children in his arms and loved and cherished them all just as we do ours. Now dementia has robbed him of the correct role reversal, when he could enjoy being cared for and loved by all his family in his retirement as a widower.   

What an end to a victorious life, which he spent daily saving other people from pain and indignity. It sometimes makes me wonder, what is life all about?

But then the sun shines and all seems better.

10 Responses so far.

  1. What a lovely, bittersweet post, Diney. He sounds like a wonderful man... and what irony that an incurable illness robbed him of his brilliant mind.

  2. Mick says:

    It is a lovely post isn't it. It brought a tear to my eye. xx

  3. Sorry that was me (Manda) Didn't realise Mick was signed in on the computer! x

  4. A bitter sweet post indeed - beuatifully written Diney.

  5. lastofthemojitos says:

    Oh what a beautifully written but very sad post Diney. Your father in law sounds like an amazing man. It must be heartbreaking to watch a previously strong man, crying with bewilderment. So sad x

  6. Mari says:

    That was so touching. I really feel for you and your SIL it must be so sad to watch such a wonderful, intelligent man vanish behind the face of this disease.
    Thank you for sharing

  7. New Mummy says:

    What a lovely post, thank yoi for sahring with us x

  8. Heather says:

    oh Diney, you brought a tear to my eye. Beautifully written and so touching.

  9. Susie says:

    That really made my heart burst. Even more so because i am going through that with my grandmother. My dad is an only child, lives in the USa and my grandmother lives here in Israel, so I am her caretaker.

    A few years ago we moved her to an assisted living facility, because she was unable to be on her own anymore.

    Her memory loss is getting worse. A few years back when she forgot my birthday for the first time ever was a big wake up call for me. It has been slowly getting worse, the crying the frustration and the confusion.

    It is sad, but am doing the best I can. I also try to view this as her soul's journey and I am there as a supporting role, but it is not my journey to go through. Like I said helps a bit.

    Your post was written beautifully.

  10. diney says:

    Thank you all guys for such lovely, empathetic comments which mean so much. It is so painful to even think about him even as I type this while he sits alone in that new world of his.