In the shoes (boots?) of Gill’s Mum’s… daughter!

woman in snow Img_6916Mum is going stir crazy. Or more precisely “Climbing round the picture rail” – she has a lovely turn of phrase. She lives alone and makes a religion out of going out every day, but at the moment ‘it’s snow go’.

Mum usually catches the ‘little bus’ into town. She has written herself in this series about what a lifeline this little bus is and I am hoping she will write more. She has loads of anecdotes about the etiquette at the bus stop and indeed on the bus.  You wouldn’t believe what the ‘regulars’ on the bus get up to – but I digress…

Mum watches wistfully across her snowy path as the little bus goes by, pretty much empty. It seems she is not the only one who has been told to stay in by their over-zealous ‘elf and safety’ daughters. But Mum is 90 and the icy paths are really treacherous. Mr Whose Shoes? himself fell over earlier this week. {No need for ‘Get Well’ cards – he’s fine 🙂 }. That shocked her.

Mum is complaining that she has no snow boots. I am being hugely unhelpful saying that she doesn’t need snow boots, indeed I am glad she doesn’t have any. It is amazing how the ‘choice and control’ mantra of personalisation can go out the window in day to day wrangles as we try to protect our loved ones!

man clearing snow Img_6926Mum doesn’t accept help readily but she has some wonderful next door neighbours: let’s call them Bill and Irene. They gently keep an eye on her and come up trumps particularly when the weather is bad, offering to take her into town. But this time they are not offering to take her. They are offering to fetch things for her. Is there anything she needs? This goes against the grain.

Since my Dad died three years ago, I have worked hard to persuade Mum that, just as she likes to help people, other people like to help her. Yes, they really do, Mum.

So when people offer to help, instead of sending them away with a flea in their ear saying “No, I’m fine thanks,” I have suggested that Mum thinks of at least one small thing they can do for her. So Bill and Irene are duly commissioned to buy …  a sprig of broccoli.

house in snow Img_6863~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I started writing this blog because I was feeling guilty. I had just pulled on my snow boots and, without a thought, rushed out in the snow to take photos. Nothing special – the sky wasn’t blue and the light wasn’t sparkling – I just felt like doing this because I enjoy it.

How would (will?) I feel if (when?) my children try to stop me doing things that I love? Indeed one of my sons told me off for swimming in the sea near Perth at Christmas, during our recent trip to Australia. “Don’t you know there are ‘serious’ sharks there, Mum?”

sharkImg_6182I didn’t dare tell him I looked around and found I was quite a lot further out than anyone else as I had been briefed about “safety in numbers”…. Nor that I have a fab video of the life guards clearing the beach one day in Sydney when a shark was spotted…

Anyway, back to Mum. It is only the fact that she is so feisty that makes her what she is – and I love her to bits for it, and am really proud of her strength of character and spirit. Her mother – my dearly loved Grandma who lived to 104 – was “even worse”. Indeed I think there is an element of competition here.

Postman in shorts Img_6931I find it really tricky to strike a balance between letting Mum put her head in the sand and just “bump along” (her preferred approach) and thinking about what the future might hold in order to avoid a crisis . I can’t help nudging and cajoling her (nagging!) to plan ahead a little more, particularly about the “big stuff.” And to acknowledge her age and vulnerability when it is like an ice rink outside…

So. I am trying to persuade Mum to blog more to pass the time during her incarceration. She complains she has nothing to write about. I say she could write about her bossy daughter and how she defied her and went out for snow boots. And then post the next day’s blog (God forbid) from her hospital bed…

I am hoping Mum will write “her side” of this story. Watch this space.

jailWhat do you think?

river in snow Img_6898

About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives.
This entry was posted in Blogs, community engagement, Gill's Mum, health, personalisation, safeguarding, social care, social media, well-being and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to In the shoes (boots?) of Gill’s Mum’s… daughter!

  1. Beryl says:

    A lovely image of your Mum climbing round the picture rail Gill! I guess if we are honest it is not just concern for our parents welfare that makes us fuss but also concern about how it will impact on us if they do have a fall. I remember telling my 90 year old Dad that I wouldn’t stop him using his ladder but he had to remember it would be me who would have to take time off to look after him if he fell off. The worst form of emotional blackmail, preying on an old person’s fear of being a nuisance. You will be glad to hear he climbed it anyway – but it was ok he told me, because his neighbour held the bottom for him. The neighbour was 89!


  2. Whose Shoes? says:

    Thank you Beryl – and really great to see you commenting on the blog. Lovely anecdote about your Dad. I loved it – and Mum even more so! 😉 Your Dad was a great character and a true gentleman.

    It reminded me of the day when Mum was holding the ladder for Dad and Dad managed to cut through the branch the ladder was resting on. Mum made a great cushion when he fell. I kid you not…


  3. Pingback: In the shoes (“because I’ve got no boots!”) of … Gill’s Mum | Whose Shoes?

  4. RichardatKF says:

    I liked the line about choice and control going out of the window when the paths are icy. Reminder to follow our instincts/ judgement and not mantras ! Thanks Gill


  5. Whose Shoes? says:

    “Reminder to follow our instincts/ judgement and not mantras !” – wise words indeed, Richard. Thank you for commenting!


  6. Pingback: “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” | Whose Shoes?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s