Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time out.

I try hard not to be annoyed with my elderly mum who's filled my empty nest in a big way. She's not consciously doing anything annoying. When I greet her in the morning she expresses this histrionic joy that I'm in the house. Take her a tea in bed, as Al and I do, and she's overwhelmed with rapture about the best cup of tea ever in this the best of all possible worlds.

I'll be in the kitchen, getting my breakfast prior to setting off at 7.30 am for school. Mum will stumble through in her fluffy red dressing gown and almost cry with surprise that I'm still home. "I didn't know there was anyone home!" She'll wail. " I thought everyone had left! Oh! I didn't know you were here!" Her voice is loud, over-enunciated precise, heavy on the consonants. This is mum apologising for being in the way; getting in my way.

On Tuesday morning she inadvertently blocked the doorway I was trying to go through. I was in my cycling gear, complete with mandatory helmet, gloved up against the 3 degrees outside, headphones already inserted. As I did the requisite dance to get around her I knocked over a stool, scattering stuff all over the floor. It seemed, at the time, vaguely metaphoric.

I try not to feel irritation.

When I get home around five, exhausted from the demands of teaching 70 adolescents & cycling 7k of hills to get home, mum's at me. Same histrionic elation bordering on tears at my 'surprise' return to my own home. She's been alone all day apart from her 4k stroll to the local supermarket - see, she's still very capable & fit. She'll have chatted with a few strangers. Yesterday she paid a bill at the local post office. She was drinking coffee when I walked in. Channel 9 news was turned up to stun - but she swears she's not deaf.

All I wanted to do was remove my jacket, crash helmet & contact lenses and chill..

I tried not to be irritated as she kindly, kindly offered me coffee, wine, anything, when all I wanted was some peace after the day I'd had. I was actually summoned by the principal yesterday for some perceived transgression. That was fun, siting outside his office while he finished his phone call, this guy who was at teachers college with me & is now my boss.

My house is no longer a refuge. I hung around at the local shops the other day just to grab some time out.

I'm currently delighted to be kept waiting at the doctors because it's relatively peaceful.


Apart from my lovely doctor's free counsel this morning - I didn't have to pay - I discovered something else. Despite mum living here, I should resume cycling on my days off. I haven't been able to ride lately because that means leaving mum on her own for even more time.

I cycled to the doctors this morning; a flat 9 k round trip. It was blissful. Two hours time out on a cold, sunny morning. Therapeutic, unlike the more fraught school rides where I'm mentally preparing lessons or trying to expunge the day's trials depending on whether I'm coming or going.

Mum seems to have survived my absence.


  1. Such an awful disease what with the body still healthy- it's quite cruel.
    Make sure you have some time out too- a couple hours cycling to appointments won't be enough.
    You must prioritise that!
    (Sorry, don't know exactly how you manage that but try.)
    Stella xx

  2. This is how I manage it: I'm off to France on Saturday for 4 weeks of campervanning & cycling. Fete du Velo à Saumur, Pays de La Loire en Juin 22 et 23.
    I'm on countdown now.
    Need this holiday.