Adam came home last night proudly clutching a plastic box of red currents that he picked yesterday in his Mums garden, I got the impression from what he said it was the first time he had really spent a little time picking fruit as he seemed surprised at the quantity he had gathered. Even though it was in a garden I think he had felt a little of what I keep talking about, the simple joy of gathering and eating what you have actively had apart in bringing to that meal. There are always been strange moments like that, that bring home to me the difference in our upbringing and our ages. I was brought up by the generation who were children during the war, they had learned to always make the most of what was available, Adams mother is only ten years older than me, the same age as my brother, my mother is closer in age to Adam gran his Mother, she doesn’t seem to have passed that make-do-and-mend attitude on that mine did. It is probably the thing I notice the most when it comes to differences between us, I would never dream of looking for something to eat and simply take what I wanted, I always check what has to be eaten first, before it goes off, Adam just heads for the thing he would most like to eat.
I often think that your upbringing can also shape how well you deal with illness as much as anything else. I was brought up to not complain, or to stop, just because something was hurting. I can remember clearly been shoved out side when I was ill and being told to go and play, not when I was needing to be in my bed, but the attitude I learned was, that as long as you where able to be up and about, you were able to live life as normal. Bed was for too reasons, you were asleep or you were really ill, there were no toys or TV’s in the bedrooms of children, so there was nothing to do other than sleep, if you didn’t need to be there you were well. If you thought you could go downstairs and watch TV, you had to be well, I still find I that I work on that ethos. I am not lying in by bed unable to move, I still have the strength to stand, walk badly and sit in a chair, therefore I am well enough to deal with life as it is. I still find it hard to accept that I am ill enough to now be unable to find a job, that every company turns my down and even our Government, who are working hard to push those who can be, off the sick list and into work, have also listed me as so ill I am not expected to even think about the word far less do it.
I still find myself daily that I have a voice inside me saying that I am being stupid, that I am fine, I have the ability to do what ever I can and that I have to keep going as there is no other way. I’m not sure what it will take for me to actually agree with all the so called experts, other than the day arriving that I can’t physically swing my legs out of my bed and push and pull myself to me feet, them maybe I will be ill, but I think it will take more somehow. Our upbringing I think really does shape your reaction to illness, if you were wrapped up in a duvet in the living-room in front of the TV and waited on hand and foot, then I believe you are the person who will find the reality of chronic illness hardest. Our childhoods have been proved to shape us as the person we are and I believe our ability to deal with illness is the just another part of that now accepted theory.
As parents I don’t think any of us realise just how much we are shaping our children to live their entire lives, lives that not one of us can know, what it will hold. I brought Teressa up more or less the same way I was, she too doesn’t stop unless she can’t do anything else, she too is a strong independent woman. As her Mother I of course want nothing like this to ever happen to her, but I guess if it did, she to would cope well.