I was meant to see my Dad yesterday, just to briefly pop in for a coffee, but I was heading off to Whitstable for the day and I just didn’t have time. He was also going to play golf so y’know, we’re all busy busy. But I wanted to take the time to talk about my Dad, for several reasons. I love him and don’t talk about him enough. Actually, I think that’s reason enough don’t you?
For those of you that have elderly parents, you’ll understand that our relationships change somewhat with them as we both get older. The balance of ‘power’ (not the right word, but you know what I mean) changes and I find I’m feeling and becoming much more nurturing and caring towards Dad as he moves into his twilight years. Our relationship was always one of Dad being the adventurous parent, Mum being the matriarchal carer, and I had the happiest of childhoods.
I talk about Dad a lot to other people. Dad would probably be quite surprised if he knew. In fact, I did it yesterday when I was walking along Whitstable beach with my new friend. I don’t know how we got onto the subject. Perhaps it was because we saw a lot of retired couples walking their dogs, or maybe I was just feeling guilty because I’d run out of time to see Dad yesterday. I explained to my friend that Dad used to be a builder for many years, and a great one at that. That he loves betting on the horses (and if the horses are your cup of tea, why not click and download here for the William Hill android & iOS apps), but greyhound racing was a big passion of his when we were growing up. He loves golf and I’m so happy that he’s now able to play again after becoming ill last year, and I even spoke about his beloved Corned Beef Hash that Mum would make every single Saturday without fail. It was a very long and random conversation!
Last year was tough, on all the family, but particularly on him. He was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and it took a good nine months to get the balance of medication right before we saw any improvement, and it was really hard seeing him so poorly. But *touch wood* he’s now a hundred times better than he was and my brother even managed to take him on holiday to Rhodes earlier this year, something he hasn’t done for the longest time. To see Dad swimming in the pool, enjoying a beer whilst reading the paper and just deservedly enjoying this holiday really made me smile.
This post is a great opportunity to share one of my all time favourite family photos!
Dad was married to Mum for over forty years. I remember the surprise 40th anniversary party we threw for them in my back garden, just like it was yesterday. We filmed Mum’s reaction as she walked through the side gate to the garden to see a marquee full of all her favourite people, and I still hold onto that memory as if it’s the most precious jewel I could own. Because when you lose a parent, that’s all you have left … memories.
Which brings me onto this. Time. And guilt. I just always feel like I don’t have enough time. To do the things I want, the things that bring me happiness, and to spread myself (ouch) amongst the people I love the most, and I often feel like time is running out. That there is only a finite amount of time I have left on this earth and I need to cram in as much as possible. I wouldn’t say it’s a mid-life crisis, and my 47th birthday is impending, so it could be that, but it’s also a definite recognition that I’m halfway through my life.
And I feel guilty that I’m never quite doing enough for the people I love. Am I a good enough daughter, mother, auntie, sister, friend? Could I … should I be doing more for other people? I guess some days I find it hard enough to look after myself, like it requires a conscious effort to look after myself, but as yesterday showed, these special people are always on my mind, even if I don’t physically see them, and I guess I have to hope that, for the most part, that is enough.
I would love to hear from you if you’ve managed to find a great balance between having the life you want, and doing the things you like … and spending time with your family, because right now, I feel like I’m failing.
* This is a collaborative post.