My Creative Voice

Trying to add value, make sense of what's coming next and keeping things going in the same direction.

>When the Parent Becomes the Child

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>Well…

Most days I want to write about my son and the adventure that is our life together. Occasionally I want to write about my husband and daughter who are along for the ride and add great moments to the adventure. Today I want to write about my mom.

Mom. I waited so long to hear my kids say that word and now sometimes it makes me cringe. That is usually because it is followed by a May I have ? or He’s bugging me. Other than that I love it. Beats the heck out of hey you. As my kids age, I look back at my past and my relationship with my mother. It has had it’s ups and downs as all relationships do. She has been my most avid supporter and my worst detractor. She has helped me financially, emotionally and many other ways. My kids adore her. I mean running up the stairs, big hug, Hi Nana ! adore her. And I love that. I love that my kids love my mom as much as I do. I love that she loves them right back. I love that I can prevent her from doing the same things to them that she did to me – a revenge of sorts. I love that I have learned from her what to do and what not to do. I love that from some of things I’ve chosen not to do, new traditions or ways of parenting have grown. I explain to my kids. I apologize to my kids. I tell my kids more often than they want to hear that I love them. I act silly with my kids. I take them to all kinds of places that sometimes I enjoy, sometimes they enjoy and sometimes we enjoy it all together. The flip side of that is that I yell at my kids, I snap at my kids and I sometimes am not as selfless as I’d like to be. I get that from my dad but that’s another blog. My mom did not have the support that I do in a husband. She did the raising for better or for worse essentially on her own. I haven’t had to pay a lot for therapy so I can safely say she did a pretty good job. She questions herself when she sees the state of my house but I think mess can be a good thing. Unless it moves on it’s own and then it’s time to tidy. So far we have no errant piles of unknown origin running around the house so I can live with that.

I am far more like my father than I like to admit but it has also served me well. While my mother is an extremely intelligent woman, she is low on guts and confidence. I like to think I am intelligent and have guts to spare. I am working on the confidence. I do not back down from a fight. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I take on a challenge and generally succeed. I like a good fight and generally win. I like for someone to say no so I can say why ? I like things done my way – it’s better and easier anyway. I’ll just do it over my way so you might as well. This type of personality has served me well on many levels and it has helped me with my mom. God love her she can drive me bendy. She did not stand up to her mother. She allowed Grandma to speak to us anyway she wanted. She allowed Grandma to discipline us. She allowed Grandma to be critical and unfair. I do not. If my mother steps out of line I show her to the front of said line. This is my house, these are my kids and this is my marriage – thank you for the advice anyway. She gets that which is also good. Over the past 15 years my husband has come to love her as much as I do which says alot. This brings us to time…

As I’ve grown up, my mother has aged. Goes with the territory I guess. It has creeped up. What has slowly happened is that our roles are starting to reverse. I think she sees it. I fight for her. I advocate for her. I protect her. I guard her. I support her. All the things she did for me. I don’t think I gave her much cause to have to fight, etc. but she stepped up when she needed to. She sent the Daytona police a nasty letter when I got arrested and paid my fine. She lent me money to buy my house. She was there for the birth of my son. She is there when it counts.

Lately my mom’s health has been troublesome. When I say lately, it’s been for the past 15 years. My mom fought the great fight and beat alcohol. I will respect her for the rest of my life for that. She has had fallout from her alcohol abuse and cigarette habit. She affected her gross motor coordination with her drinking. She has essential hypertension which is exacerbated by her smoking. She has high cholesterol which is exacerbated by her crappy diet and lack of exercise. This has precipitated numerous late night visits to the ER, specialist appointments, hospitalizations and doctors appointments. For her last hospital stay, I got my knickers in a knot. Her first meal for a suspected heart attack was mac and cheese. What the hell ???? I went down to the dieticians office after having been in the hospital until 3am that morning and said to them – What the hell ??? I then spent the next 1/2 hour personally picking her menu for the next two days. This is what I do. I fight for my mom as I fight for my son. I take my fighting spirit and say to these doctors – you will take care of her. You will protect her. You will do your job or by God I will drag you down to the hobs of Hell and personally lay you at Satan’s feet with a bow on your kicked ass. You will not force me to lose her before I am ready or hell will look good from where you will be standing.

Her health scares me. Losing her terrifies me. It can send me to tears when I think of my life without her. I speak to my mom just about every day. She babysits my kids two or three days a week. She is such a large part of my life that I alternate between parent and child relationship on a regular basis. I fight for her and fight against her. I support her and stand supported by her. She makes my life work. I can’t even contemplate a moment in my children’s lives that has not had Nana in it.

I see my role changing and I look at it two ways. My mom has had to struggle her whole life. Things have not been easy for her. My life’s wish is to win the lottery and make her happy. She is at the top of the list for myself and my husband when we discuss our winnings. We are looking at buying a house that is renovation friendly for my mom to live with us. I alternate between feeling 12 when she is around to feeling 100 when I’m at the hospital again with her. Yet I relish the chance to develop this relationship. I am thankful that I get the chance to spend so much time with her. And I will be devastated and inconsolable when I can no longer call her every time I want to. I see my role now as a chance to give her happiness. I want to make her proud and I want her to feel safe. I want her to know she is loved deeply and I want her to know she loved me enough.

I hope that as she continues to age that I continue to benefit from our relationship in whatever form it takes. Mother to child, child to Mother. I’m just glad to call her Mom.

Author: Elizabeth Plouffe

Writer, communicator, entrepreneur, tea enthusiast (bordering on fanatic) who enjoys helping others connect. Cookbook reader, cottage lover, book devourer (apparently I make up my own language too) and seeker of the ambition to exercise.

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