Becoming Mother | Blog | My Mothers' Caregiver
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Becoming Mother

It’s been a long time since I’ve been really mothered.

If only I could go back in time to my fifteen year-old self and let her know how much I was going to miss it.  Hmm…what would I have done differently? That’s the thing about dementia and diagnoses like it, at a certain point adult children and even spouses switch hats and move from "the cared for” to "the carer”.

 I was thinking about this on Valentine’s Day of this year. My husband and I were babysitting our granddaughter and brought her in for a visit with my mom. Watching my mom and baby Grace connect through smiles and cooing and physical touch was such a beautiful thing to see. There was no need for language or short term memory – it was just a great grandmother and her great granddaughter sharing a few moments. So precious! Watching mom in this "mothering” mode, reminded me of how long it has been since I have felt like the daughter instead of the mother.

 Looking back, I remember the first moment I felt our roles begin to shift. Years ago, before my father passed away, Dad had suffered a heart attack. We all rushed to the hospital to visit. After a brief visit with Dad, we were led to a waiting area for some information from the doctor. I was feeling small and frightened. Mom was sitting on the arm of the couch. Needing to be comforted, I slid onto the sofa beside her attempting to find her arm around my shoulder, but before I knew it, Mom slid down onto the couch into my embrace. It hit me our roles were changing. I was moving from comforted to comforter – from daughter to mother.

Sometimes I would love to be the daughter again.

Even now after five years, it still crosses my mind to pick up the phone to share good news with Mom when it happens. I still pause and remember – "Oh ya, that can’t happen anymore.” When I am worried, when I need some perspective or when I am just feeling small and vulnerable, how great it would be to hear her say, "You’re doing great! It’s going to be ok. Everything will work out. I’m praying for you. I am proud of you….and ….I love you.” I miss that! I think for me that is the biggest loss I experience because of this disease.

Yet, even still, it is an honour to be a comforter. It is a role I willingly accept and would do again if needed.  Fortunately, many substitute mothers have found their way into my lives. I am blessed to have some very special women who encourage, embrace and mother me a little! I doubt they even know how much they mean to me.

At the end of our last visit, as I rose to leave mom, I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek and said, "I love you Mom!” "I know you do,” she said with a big grin. "I know you do!”

I had to smile as I walked away thinking: "I know you do too Mom!”

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