I have started wondering what Mum dreams about.
I like to think that in her dream world things are the same as they ever were. That the night time hours are an escape from the fear that dogs her all day.
The fact that she starts to ask if it’s time to go to bed as soon as it gets dark and a reluctance to get up suggest they are. She’s always been a good sleeper, my Mum. I really hope it lasts.
There can be little worse than lying in the dark not knowing where you are or what is meant to be happening with no one to ask.
In the mornings she always seems a little hesitant, a little unsure and subdued, no matter how cheerful she was the night before.
Perhaps every morning she wakes from dreams in which she is still running the show and in control of her life (as much as dreams ever allow) to find she has no idea what’s going on.
Or perhaps she dreads the morning routine without quite knowing why just yet.
The indignity and confusion of showering to instructions shouted over the running water, sequences of words you can’t follow but the unavoidable sense that you are doing it wrong.
Being dried by someone you may or may not recognise. Someone you definitely don’t want touching you so brazenly.
I really hope the dream world is comforting, however random the dreams.
This weekend was not an easy one. In place of the cute but anxious Mum who needs reassurance but is endlessly grateful and effusive with her love, we had surly, muttering, disengaged Mum who is so much harder to deal with.
The muttering and fidgeting drive me nuts and when I have minimal time and a long list of useful things to do it’s a dangerous combination.
So rather than leaving for London feeling like I have brightened her weekend I leave feeling I have let her down by not taking the time to ‘find’ the last version of Cute Mum who I spent time with.
It’s especially hard to overlook the barbed hissy soto voce comments she was making at Dad. He would be the first to admit he’s far from perfect, and once upon a time may well have deserved the barbs, but today he was genuinely doing nothing wrong and actually being very sweet and helpful, and all with a lingering episode of vicious gout in his left hand.
So for a change I was siding with him and sniping at Mum. Which obviously doesn’t help and despite the short term release I get from telling her off, it’s self-defeating as it only worsens her mood and makes me feel bad.
The inability to reason with someone means an endless reserve of patience is required if you are both to retain any kind of equilibrium. We normally do ok.
But frazzled after a long week at work it’s hard to maintain.
Maybe next time I visit, Cute Mum will be back. If so I will appreciate her all the more.
If not, perhaps I will forget about the usual batch cooking to fill up the freezer, and we’ll spend the day singing, dancing, painting and being silly.
Every version of Mum likes that.