This is a picture of my grandson Dylan and me in the park recently. It looks simple, doesn’t it, but really it’s anything but!
As I get older, I find I have to think more about those simple tasks that get me through the day. I don’t just do them anymore, I think them through so that I don’t have to make too many journeys up and down the stairs or in and out of the fridge etc. For example:
When I get up in the morning, at 6.30 a.m (I’m an early riser, even though I don’t have to be!), it starts off a chain of events, which I need to do in the right order. I get out of bed, visit the bathroom and empty my hot water bottle. Since I sleep alone here, I need that every night during the winter and my cat Patch appreciates it too! Return to the bedroom, put on slippers and dressing gown and get tablets out of the cupboard ready to take with my first cup of tea. Then I go downstairs, taking care not to trip over the cat on the way down. The cottage is still cold at this point. Outside it is dark outside. First thing I do is turn up the heating.
Now begins the kitchen ritual. I get two cups off the dresser, add teabag and milk, fill kettle, switch on, then trot around all the rooms opening curtains. By the time I’ve done that, the kettle has boiled.
I fill mugs and leave to stand and brew. Next I cut a large slice of toast bread and put under the grill. While that is cooking, I fetch butter and marmalade out of the cupboard and put on the side ready. By now the cat is weaving in and out of my legs miaowing. I get her bowl and the tin of cat meat out of the fridge. Fill bowl, watch toast, put bowl down, pick up water (I do this to save too many stoopings down). Change water and put yesterday’s food dish in sink to soak. It’s just like an assembly line.
When the toast is done, remove from grill, turn off grill, put toast on plate and butter. Take teabags out of mugs and discard. Put mugs on tray. Return to toast and add marmalade. Get biscuit out of tin for J.
So now I’m winning! The tea is made, toast and biscuit done, heating on, cat fed. Hooray!
I return upstairs with tray complete with goodies being very careful to negotiate the children’s stair-gate, cat and dressing gown dangling down by my ankles.
If I get to the top unscathed, I give J his tea and biscuit, open his curtains and say ‘good morning’. Then I return to my own cosy nest to drink my tea, eat my toast, take my tablets and read my book for half an hour. I’m not being lazy – I am waiting for the house to warm up. It takes half an hour, then I can go and get washed and dressed.
And all of that before 7.30 a.m.
Getting back to my grandson, I looked at that photo and realised what we had to do to get to that point of enjoyment. It was a similar sequence of events. It took time and thought and planning. I have to take an emergency bag in case of accidents (you can’t see that in the picture). I have to remember his gloves, hat, boots and hanky.
And so it goes on all through the day and as I get older, it gets harder, harder to remember, harder to do. I don’t really know why, it just does!
I suppose it will get even harder as I get older. I might reach for the tablets and find I’ve run out or find the stairs are hurting my knees. Those are the sorts of things I worry about now. I am not really a worrier but every now and then I stop and think.
Does all this sound familiar to you?