I think having a parent is not dissimilar to having children: as in, it’s important to give everyone enough rope with which to hang themselves.
I think that’s probably how The Mom raised us. And it worked perfectly well: we are all gainfully employed, reasonably happy folk, who are good and decent people. Sure, we are prone to doing stupid things (though apparently I could be putting on more effort as far as The Mom’s concerned, because she likes to write about my escapades).Point is, she let us go out and figure out where our own personal limits were.
Thus, I believe it is important that we do the same for her, as she approaches her dotage, or whatever she’s decided to call it these days.
We must at all times allow her to go as far as she can. If that leads to a few scrapes, well so be it.
L’il Sis and Crazy D are perhaps better children in this area than I am. Never mind the fact that the Atlantic ocean and the Maritime provinces separate me from The Mom on a day to day basis, the more important thing is that I’m not as willing as the other two are to curtail anything that passes for slightly risky behaviour. If The Mom wants to taunt death, then far be it from me to stop her.
What it comes down to is this: I know precisely how much she loathes the idea of spending the night in the emergency room in the hospital, so when confronted with a situation wherein she’s likely to be injured, I reckon she’ll stop just short of it if only to avoid going to hospital. Now, of course, there’s the possibility that she won’t be able to stop herself, if, say, she finds herself at the top of a particularly steep hill that’s covered in mud, but instead of careening down it (as I’d do, and let’s face it, my bones are more likely to snap than hers are so really, we should all be worried about what I get up to in the woods) I can imagine her sitting down, and slowly inching forward on her bum. Sure, she might come home with muddy trousers and a few sticks stuck to her, but she’ll think the story’s hilarious, which will cheer her to no end, and also there would be the lack of broken bones.
There’s also the fact that L’il Sis and Crazy D are prone to restricting my activities to a certain extent too. I mean, I’m allowed to come and go as I please (as long as it’s not in the car, if it involves the car, I’ll get funny looks if I suggest I’m going out in adverse weather – read: rainy and especially snowy), but really it’s if I’m found in the kitchen that people start to clamp down on my activities.
And then there’s snowy or icy weather in general. If I say, suggest that I might set out in search of adventure when I’m home over the Christmas Holidays, and anybody but The Mom is home, my announcement is met with a series of questions:
What will you be wearing on your feet?
Wong anwers: feet, Birken-clogs, trainers of any kind, cowboy boots.
Acceptable but not encouraged: L’il Sis’ old rain boots with the hole in the back (which also double as The Mom’s winter bird feeding boots and are kept in plain sight at the back door), or Crazy D’s massive snow boots, worn with my shoes on the inside.
Best answer: the sensible snow boots I have procured for just such an occasion (hint: I have never used this answer, but it’s what is usually suggested after much discussion).
What will you be wearing as far as a coat goes?
Wrong answers: the coat I arrived from the UK wearing (it will be deemed too thin and seen as a sign of my internal weaknesses), my old coat from twenty years ago that is held together with duct tape (I found out last year that this had been thrown away due to the duct tape holding the down inside).
Acceptable but not encouraged: One of your coats (L’il Sis in particular hates lending me clothes, and rightly so, as I generally return them with pen or other stains on them, but it’s usually pen), The Mom’s llama shit brown down coat with the broken zipper (I need someone to zip me into it once, then I only unzip it halfway so I can get in and out with ease)
Best answer: This new sensible coat I have recently purchased that is warm and waterproof and can withstand the Canadian winter (hint: I have never owned such a coat).
So I feel for The Mom when my siblings threaten to restrict her movements. Me, I’ll let her carry on as she will for the foreseeable future. Life’s short, if we were to lock her inside, she’d be crushed and her demise would only be hastened.