Friday, 6 March 2009

Middle Age

I have a definition of Middle Age. It isn't hit at a particular age. There isn't a milestone that we all reach that is the point you tip over from young to middle-aged. It isn't when you throw off the freedom of youth and take on the cares and pains of parenthood.

No, middle age is the period in your life when you are looking after both your children and your parents. 

Last week my father had a minor stroke - so minor it is not called a stroke but a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). Thankfully, after nearly a week in hospital, he is home again, deemed fit enough to survive on his own. Physically he is as fit as he was before (he is waiting on a heart bypass operation) but he is slightly dysphasic, being unable to recall and speak words properly. This is heartbreaking for him, a man who has loved words all his life, writes wonderful poetry and always has a book on the go. Still: he is home alone and seems to be doing very well.

Then yesterday, as Dad settles in at home, my daughter throws up all over the bathroom floor (thank goodness: I hate getting vomit out of carpets). Middle Age: looking after both generations.

Thinking all this over has led me to a controversial thought. Last week statistics were brought out that showed an increase in teenage pregnancies. This is seen as a Bad Thing. Loss of education, loss of the freedom of youth, loss of innocence. Often teenage pregnancies happen in families for generation after generation. I began to wonder if this was the better way to evolve, whether we should relax about these young families. After all, if granny is not yet forty there is much less chance that any one person will be caring for both the preceding and succeeding generation. Granny is probably helping look after baby whilst great-granny is caring for great-great-granny. 

Perhaps such people never hit middle age. Right now, that seems a wonderful thing to avoid!

6 comments:

Debs said...

Your poor dad, I hope he feels better soon, and your daughter too. It's exhausting when family members are ill.

Catharine Withenay said...

Hello Debs - yes, but thankfully all seem to be on the mend. Certainly the daughter - can't keep her from bouncing around for long. My father's improvements are a little more sedate!

Troy said...

I think being called Grandad before the age of forty would make me feel very old. I didn't become a father until I was forty five!

Catharine Withenay said...

I'm not yet forty and already I've been asked if my daughter was my granddaughter.
You're right: I felt very, very old...

cheshire wife said...

So sorry to learn about your father. I am sure that he will improve over the next few weeks. Try to make use of any services or care that are available.

Catharine Withenay said...

Thanks, CW. I am very fortunate in that he seems quite well catered for, both by friends and institutions. Hope things are going well with your mother and finding the right home for her.

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