Wednesday, 18 July 2018

When you are little everyone talks about how big you've grown, how tall you've gotten, what a big girl you are. We're told were allowed to do certain things when we're an adult, how we can do this or that when we're 'bigger'.
Obviously, bigger means grown up - an adult - and so because certain things are out of reach until that magical time, we strive to get there. 

But I'm here now, in Adult Land, and have been for some time and I can tell you... being an adult isn't all its cracked up to be.

It's hard. Really hard. There's nobody to fall back on for the shit decisions you make. There's no excuse of 'well she's just a little girl, she doesn't know any better'.
Being an adult is being responsible and mature. It's making good decisions, and facing the outcome of whatever you choose. It's dealing with emotions and not packing it away to allow it to fester.
Especially when you're a parent.  You now have these small beings who watch your every move, every decision, every screw up, every triumph and YOU have to show them how to be that 'big person' they're striving to be.

If I'd known how hard being an adult really is, I'd have used every single birthday wish to stay little.

Oh, how I miss walking hand in hand with Mum and pressing my finger against her nails. It made me feel safe and protected. Or when I'd sit on Dad's knee at a late night visit at mt grandparents. With my head on his chest, I'd drift off to sleep hearing his voice, his laugh booming in my ear. And later on the drive home, I'd pretend to be asleep so he would have to carry me to my bed.

After a bad dream, Mum or Dad were always there ready to console with arms wide open and to show me my world was safe. That the monsters or ghosts in my dream weren't real.

Now that role falls on me with my kids. And while I couldn't imagine life without them, or being a Mum and not doing those things,  I miss being 'protected' as such.  Because the truth is, those roles have been reversed with my siblings and I and our Dad.

My dad, my dear old dad. He's had a rough few years and has now been diagnosed with dementia. Frontotemporal dementia is what is suspected. He has come to live with my family and I for now as he couldn't live on his own anymore. The kids cherish having him here - Olive in particular. She has Pop wrapped around her little finger and they adore hanging together.  Among numerous other games, they draw endless notes and letters to each other saying how much they love one another. They play silly games and it's commonplace to hear them cracking up laughing from the sun room.

It warms my heart to hear them and the older kids and I often look at each other and grin when we hear their voices giggling and laughing at their inside jokes. It's a special time this time we have with him living here. One day, THIS dad will be a distant memory as the disease takes hold. It's already put its claws in and changed him from how he used to be. So while on the one hand, it breaks my heart that the Dad, the Mark, the Kram, we always knew has faded somewhat, it makes my heart full to see him enjoying himself and content in our company.

And this is so special for Olive. It is for all the kids but the big kids got a different version of Pop when they were younger and I think they will always hold those memories dear to their hearts. Olive can't remember Dad how he used to be. She just knows this current version and she ADORES him. The games she plays,  the pictures she draws, the giggles she has - these will be her memories. 

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