I have two days off a week, Monday and Friday. I really do know that this work pattern is fabulous, giving me long weekends, but, as I remind my colleagues, I am part time and I don't get paid for the Friday and Monday and I have been doing this job for 37 years so this fairly new and rather lovely work pattern is, in my opinion, hard earned and much appreciated.
My parents live an hours drive from me, so I visit them on my day off and do this journey every week, and of late twice a week. By the time I have driven there, listened to them share whatever is on their minds that day, taken Pa shopping, had a cup of tea with Ma, and driven back, the day is effectively done. Last Friday I went over, last Monday I went over, and today I was planning to stay home and get a few things done on the home front........Pa rang me last night to ask if I 'was going to come over today?'. I steeled myself and said no, and immediately felt churned up.....about so many things. About how reliant they have become on me being there, and how Pa's voice is when he rings (Ma sits in the background directing him with what to say), his voice being a sort of cheerful and casual but not really casual enquiring voice.....and how he says 'oh ok..don't worry...we'll manage....no problem' when I say I won't be over. Guilty is the mood for today. Just lately, I find that being with Pa is very emotional.....he is disappearing before my eyes and I don't like it. He was always a tall well built man...always cracking jokes and being full of life. Now, he is still tall, but he is thin, and wobbly and slow and frequently has bruises (a side effect of the warfarin he is on) and his confidence is gone and he reminds me of an anxious child now....something about the look on his face when he asks a question. I am his child. He is my Pa. This reversing of roles is a journey I am not enjoying...and I suspect neither is he.