Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Missing My Baby


Paul when he was little... cute, eh?


I haven’t seen my son now for about 18 months and I’m really starting to miss him. He’s been staying with my mum as she needs somebody to help her with Dad who has dementia, no bowel or bladder control, emphysema and mobility problems. He gives her practical help but above all, he keeps her company; stops her from going round the bend, as she says.

Paul has severe learning difficulties and needs adult supervision at all times. But as long as he’s shown what to do, he can perform relatively simple tasks that are helpful to Mum. When Dad wets through his pad and Mum has to get him to the bathroom, Paul helps her balance him. Without him, both Mum and Dad would probably end up in a heap on the floor, and if Mum should break a hip at her age… well, need I say more? Once they’re in the bathroom, Paul goes out to changes the sheet and put the covers back on while Mum cleans Dad up, then he goes back to the bathroom and helps her bring him back in. They make a good team.

Paul is in charge of filling the dishwasher, taking the rubbish out and vacuuming. Mum has enough to do having to spoon feed Dad, make him drink when he keeps spitting it out and hitting her, and taking care of the copious amounts of towels and bed linen he goes through. And underwear. The machine is on at least twice a day and during winter it’s been difficult to get everything dry. Her house looks more like a Chinese laundry than a home!

Once Dad’s settled for the night they go to their room, watch TV, have a chat and eat ice-cream. It’s the time of day when Mum can finally relax and kick back. Without Paul there she’d have too much time to think and in her situation, that wouldn’t be good for her.

I know he has to stay with her for the duration but I can’t help wishing he’d come home. Because of my health I can’t manage the long journey down to London at the moment and I’ve no idea when I’ll be able to. He may be 30 but he’s still my baby and in many ways he is still a child.

Although he was a bit of a nightmare to bring up, once he hit puberty he changed completely and became the most loving, caring person you could ever wish to meet. He’s still prone to the odd practical joke and sometimes he’ll try to be grown up and do what he’s seen other men do, like drill a hole in the wall or take the wires out of the back of the TV, but he doesn’t do things just to be ‘naughty’ anymore. He’d do anything for those he loves, even if it meant walking over flaming oil and swimming through stagnant water, and he never leaves anybody in any doubt as to how he feels about them or anything else. He’s honest down to the last bone.

And what’s more, he’s totally, one hundred percent happy to live a simple life. He has no material demands and doesn’t care whether he lives in a flash London apartment or a cabin in the sticks. Food is food whether it’s a steak or a simple bowl of soup. He knows what he prefers but if he doesn’t get it, well that’s ok. He draws the line at fruit though; he won’t eat it and that’s that. If the bed linen doesn’t match, what difference does that make and he loves animals. An afternoon playing Pooh-sticks in the stream that runs through the park is a good day out.

I think I’ve learned a lot from him so I feel blessed to have him as my son.

Sharon J

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3 comments:

happyhippychick said...

It doesn't matter how old they get, they are always our babies to us. I know how much you must be missing him, I am lucky I can see my lad fairly easily, although fitting it in round his college, work and social life is complicated at times, so I don't see him as much as I would like

Paul has got the loveliest smile - sadly I lost the photo you sent me way back when (my 'puter died and ate everything on it!) but once seen never forgotten

Chris said...

Hi Sharon,

Thinking of you all. Your son is a very special person and I am sure you do miss him terribly.

I really hope you can see him again soon.

How are you? Email me when you have a chance/the energy.

Sharon J said...

It's funny, Rae, because Lise is much further away in Norway so I don't get to see her that often either but Paul, being the way he is, is kind of special. It has nothing to do with favouritism, I think it can be put down more to an extra lashing of the protective instinct because he's still a small child inside. You're right about them always being our babies, though.

Chris. I'm still not 100% yet but I'm getting closer all the time. Baby steps, y'know :)