Role Reversal - Mum & Son

It seems only five minutes ago since I was caring for my eldest son full time. Washing his hair, helping him into his underwear, cutting up his carrots and holding his hand while he crossed the road.

I remember his first days at secondary when some horrible kid bullied him for being blonde. Talk about tiger mom - I was furious.

school pupil


But in the last year or so I have noticed a change in our roles and now it seems I am settling into a very different relationship with him.

He's 25, the age I was when I had him, and has lived away from home for some years now. He's a successful, independent man. I'm very proud.

Last year we had reason to go abroad together (with his lovely partner) and I'll admit it was a very stressful time, I had some debilitating health conditions flaring and I wasn't coping with life very well. The thought of adding "make travel plans" to my already overloaded brain was not appealing.

Luckily he and the FDiL (future daughter in law) took everything in hand, sorting accommodation, transport and all the extra bits and pieces which go with an unexpected trip.

Madmumof7's son, FDiL, husband and daughter (l-r)

While we were away they drove me around, helped me with my bags and generally made sure I was comfortable.

This new more intense caring role has continued and at first I found it amusing, then I wondered if I should feel patronised but finally decided I actually rather like someone looking after me.

During our recent trip to Venice I was happy to potter along behind them as they checked maps and made decisions about where (and when) to go somewhere, where to eat, where to drink.

madmumof7's son and FDiL on gondola in Venice

Of course, I was involved (along with my husband) in all the plans but mostly I just told them to just tell me where we were going. It helps that both of them are much more organised and responsible than I have ever been!

A neighbour of mine once told me she loved to spot me out of her window every morning as I did the school run, usually with a pushchair in front of me and a line of children behind me like ducklings following their mum.

As I wander along now with my son and the FDiL, or  as I sit in the back seat of the car as they drive I feel a bit like a duckling. It's liberating being able to admire the scenery and not have to spare a thought as to whether we are going in the right direction or stress about the traffic.

They help me physically and occasionally financially and occasionally they even push my around in my wheelchair. They haven't started cutting my food up for me yet but I suppose it's only a matter of time.

I could feel aggrieved that I'm perhaps giving up my independence in some way, or allowing them to treat me like a feeble minded older person. But since I know their care comes from love I actually really appreciate their assistance and see it as a tribute to the work I put in when my son was younger. He's just repaying the favour.

My other older children do it too to a certain extent and I find I rely on them more and more. I'm delighted they are usually so willing to help whether it's unloading shopping from the car or assisting with the younger siblings.

It's reassuring to think that when I really am feeble and maybe my mind is going as well as my body, they will always be looking out for me.

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