Sitting here watching all the last four episodes of this series of Doctor Foster (some call it ‘binge watching’ but the word binge just makes me feel bad about the amount of biscuits I’ve eaten whilst watching it) I’m truly strung out after those last episodes. Those two parents torturing each other time and time again but ignoring their son and his wants and needs. What they both professed though was how much they loved their child. Love is such an intense emotion and any parent will tell of the strength and power of that love.
Last week, I was asked by the disability charity Scope to take part in a research project looking at the effect of a disability on people who had previously been able bodied. As part of this and before I was interviewed by the lovely Phil, I had homework to do – a timeline of my life so far and another of my hopes of my future. The one about my life so far was pretty straightforward , although charting the last 49+1 years’ ups and downs was unexpectedly hard-hitting. From my nursing career, to having my children, my mother’s death, my divorce, my teaching career and my new relationship and subsequent re-marriage culminating in the last point on the timeline when my disability started. The researcher had asked me to do my timeline in a graph-like style, with up and down spikes to show the high and low points. (And yes, I did it in total girly style, using a ruler, best handwriting, colour coordinated and all!) There were many spikes but the highest of them all were the births of my two children and that huge rush of love came back to me whilst watching our dear deranged Doctor Foster today. No matter what else has happened in my life, my love for my children is unquestionable, undeniable and never ending. Like any other parent, I would do anything for them and like most of my friends, have always been a very hands on type of mother. Helping out at ballet shows, always turning up for school plays and infant school assemblies, making Christmas play costumes (the Clown Pop one was a triumph!), being the onsite taxi driver and generally just getting stuck in with things.
That said, the next task that was required was the ‘Future Hopes’ task; another timeline with what I’d like to do in the future. For guidance, they sent me an exemplar timeline so I had some idea what to with it and on said exemplar timeline, there were things like, retire, play more golf, go on a cruise, write a book and right at the end, there was ‘have grandchildren’.
When I tried to do mine, I found it extremely difficult; all the things I instinctively wanted to write were things I would’ve wanted to do before I had my fracture and its repercussions. When I sat and thought it through a bit more honestly, the one thing that hit me from the example piece, was the ‘having grandchildren’ bit. Now whilst I’m far too young to be a granny (yep, that’s what I keep telling myself!) I would love our kids to produce a little bundle of joy at some point. My maternal genes would love it but being truly honest with myself, the kind of Gran I would like to be and the type of Gran I’m actually going to be able to be are two completely different.
In my head, I’m going to go to my daughter/son/stepsons’ house and help out, do the night feeds, nappies, the works. But in reality, when I can’t even manage the stairs, am I actually going to be able to do any of that? Can I run through the park with them? Could I push them around in their pushchair? Could I get onto the floor and play lego with them? Can I be the woman behind the scenes at the school play rushing to get everyone ready? All this when I struggle to walk with crutches?
It breaks my heart but the answer is no; I’m not going to be the granny I thought I’d be and that is truly the bitterest of pills to swallow.
So between the research last week and Dr Foster today, I have had to have a bit of good old heart and soul searching. Am I going to be the type of Granny I would want to be? No, but does that mean I can’t be a good gran? Absolutely not! I can still read out loud, I can still sing even louder and I can still play peek-a-boo and hide and seek (as long as I stay on the settee!)
And that thought has left me feeling hopeful for the future; who knows what will happen but am I going to worry about it anymore? I’d like to say ‘nope’ but that would not be me but I’m definitely going to look towards it with as much hope as I can. I’m one lucky woman, I have a roof over my head and a man who loves me, I have children that I love with all my heart and soul and even though there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead, at least I have hands to hold whilst I’m on my way and for that I am truly grateful…..