TABLES TURNED

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My regular readers will know that I recently took up playing basketball. This week my 12 year old daughter decided she needed to train me to help improve my skills. Ever diligent, she googled the dimensions for the key on a regulation size basketball court and then marked out the area on our driveway with masking tape.

She then patiently described the techniques required to assist me in shooting and set plays designed to beat the defense. As she took her teaching role very seriously, I was left thinking how strange it was to not be the one to be teaching and guiding her and that somehow the tables had turned. It was sweet that she wanted to donate her time to give me instruction, when she could have instead been relaxing inside.

Once she had finished with her instructions we played a very vigorous game of one on one basketball that left us both hot and sweaty. The noise of our competitive game roused my son’s interest in playing and then before long, my husband also joined in, in a battle of the sexes basketball game. For the record the girls won 😉

It is such a weird sensation having your child take on the parenting role. I’m sure my mother would concur as now I have taken on the responsibility of taking her to the doctor when she is unwell and I often try (somewhat unsuccessfully) to teach her how to use her smart phone. She has mastered making a phone call and is working on text messages!

I guess it is the circle of life and that we all go through the phase of teaching and caring for our kids and then at some point there is an equilibrium before the tables turn and our kids look after us. We have to just hope we have set them an example of patience and understanding, so that they display these traits when the time comes for them to care for and guide us!

THE NONEXISTENT MOTHER  

Imagine a ten year old boy and his seven year old brother are sent away for a holiday with family when their mother goes in for a gall bladder operation. Then imagine their dismay and grief to return from that holiday to find that their mother is dead and buried, with all traces of her existence removed from the house. 

Imagine these brothers then go for another holiday with family again a year later, returning to find their father had remarried without their knowledge.

Unfortunately, this is not a fictional tale; it is my father’s life.

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One last bewildering thing about this story was fifty years later, when my father was told by a long lost relative that his mother had in fact died after an operation to remove a cancerous tumor, not a gall bladder operation. 

Maybe back in the 1950s cancer was considered something shameful and the lies and omissions were to protect the family’s reputation? My father and uncle were never allowed to discuss their mother and had no keepsakes to cherish in her memory. I assume acting like my Grandmother had never existed, was my Grandfather’s way of coping. 

I recently ordered my late Grandmother’s death certificate for my own selfish reasons of wanting to know her medical history and how that may impact on my health.

When I held her death certificate in my hands I was overwhelmed with sadness that this poor woman had not only died alone in hospital without her beloved sons by her side, but then her sons were denied the right to keep her memory alive after she was gone. 

She was the same age as I am now and her sons were similar ages to my youngest two kids. It breaks my heart when I imagine myself in her situation. Not only did she not live to see her young boys grow into men, she missed meeting their lovely wives and exceptional (cough, cough) grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Luckily my father’s step-mother was a loving mother to the boys and a caring grandmother to us, but she should have been an addition to the family not a replacement. When a mother dies, surely the very least that can be done is to allow her memory to live on through her kids.

So although I never got to meet my biological grandmother, I hope she knows she is not forgotten and that her legacy lives on through our family.

 

(Photo courtesy of topstep7, freedigitalphotos.net)