What a strange concept. In a family who lives geographically close (in the same house!), we share very little emotionally. As a rule, we’re very British with our stoic attitudes, stiff upper lip, and if need be outright denial. But for a brief moment this evening, my dad and I had a real conversation.
He’s been very practical about me losing my mobility, but I confessed to him how hard its been to accept using the wheelchair so much despite the clear benefits its had to my pain levels. And he told me not to be so hard on myself and how hard it was seeing me in increasing levels of pain.
This might be a standard conversation between most parents and their offspring. Certainly, we talk to our albeit much younger kids and never end a day without “I love you” even if its met with door slamming teen style. But that’s not a mirror to my parents. Whilst I take many cues from my parents (hey, they didn’t do a bad job!), the softer side of my parenting comes from Mr Geek’s family. I heed their advice on how to roll with the punches of two preteen daughters.
There’s nothing more insane than a family, and even more so mine. My mum has softened over the years, and although she remains the queen of denial, is more open than ever. Much like her grandmother, she’s at liberty to be softer now there are small(ish) people who look to her for cakes and hair brushing. My dad on the other hand has become harder. We used to sing together when I was a kid, either by playing his vast collection of vinyl or with guitars. When we go away, I still end a phone call home with “love you”… But he doesn’t respond. Weirdly, whilst that smarts, I know that’s just him – he shows it in other ways like building Mr Geek an office from scratch, getting my stairlift installed, making doorways accessible for me… But rarely talking. So when we do, it’s great. My Dad is still there.
One thing that’s come out of me getting ill (is it ill when it’s a syndrome? I don’t know.), is that the house is more harmonious. When I was hiding how bad things were there were arguments over being untidy and unsociable (going to bed at 8 because, well pain = knackered), but the pieces of the puzzle appear to have fallen in and whilst I still put on a brave face along with my big girl knickers and get out there to keep working, I can be much more honest about how affected I am by being in chronic pain. Case in point, writing a blog at 3am because my legs have some kind of lightening storm going on and getting up to pee set off other bits (I really wish oramorph was a bit more effective). Tomorrow will be another 13 hour day at work, but I’ll suck it up knowing people will make allowances as I recover on the following days.
It doesn’t matter if I can’t dance, by breaking the pain cycle of hiding how bad it actually is, I’m coping better. I state my pain levels as a fact, don’t dwell on it, then laugh at how it takes two of us to make a smoothie! Who knew that I’d be up at now nearly 4am and actually be OK with that. Take this as a metaphorical ‘hold my beer’,I’m going to try throwing all my spoons in the air 😉
Watch this space.