I've been on the verge of losing my temper several times today, and been quite frustrated, and I am not proud of myself at all. Patience is a virtue, and I need to develop some!
The FH is coming up to his 76th birthday, I've just had my 41st, the EFG is 17 and the YFG 14. Quite a spread of ages living together as one family. Nothing particularly special, but different from the norm, perhaps. On our street, there are other multigenerational households, where three generations live together, but their family dynamic is slightly different.
There's the old lady who lives in the annexe of the house where her daughter's family live, and there's another residence where it is even more complicated than us in that the oldest generation live in a static caravan in the garden, and in the house, there are three more generations of the family......and whilst these are biggish houses, they are not mansions and some of them are bursting at the seams!
In our house, as you know, the FH and I are married, and so there are no other spouses in our respective generations who understand our take on situations, and with whom to share the frustrations. I know that the FH has felt as cross about some things as I have, but we haven't argued - we don't! It isn't a huge issue but it is one into which I need to put some thought, and maybe some actions, not the least prayers.
I know that some of the things I do and say wind him up, but then things that he does and says are frustrating to me at times: we've been to the rheumatologist for the third time today, and despite lots of preparation, the FH asked the chap what causes gout......I know that he has explained it to the FH on both the previous visits! Similarly, we know that the FH hates football, but we really don't need to have the full force of his hatred every time that it is mentioned in print or on tv. For my part, I have been very busy lately with school stuff, and I know he would appreciate it if I was able to put more time into preparing more interesting meals, for example.
It is good for the FH to have UJ here, as they are a similar age, they get along well and they provide company and chat for one another. They can peruse their memories and share their stories in a way that I can't take part, because I don't have the memories. The FH also enjoys spending time with his mates from the lunch club, again because they remember old times and share stories. This is becoming a bigger part of his life now, and it is one in which I struggle to participate. It is also good for him to get out and share his love and knowledge of beekeeping, although he has had to admit that he is not up to keeping his own colonies any longer.
I am still at a time in my life where I want to grow and develop and learn new things, but that time has passed for the FH and he shows no interest in any new ideas or learning. His attitude is somewhat that the old ways are the best [and sometimes he is very right in that assertion].
Are we growing apart? No. We are still growing together, but at different rates - his rate of growth has almost stilled, but mine is still moving forward. Our paths are entwined, and we need to look at ways to make the flowers at the side of the paths flourish so that the way ahead is an attractive one, rather than a chore. The path is slightly uphill at the moment, and we must pull together to achieve a co-operative, happy lifestyle for the whole family. I am keenly aware that we must remain an inclusive family and not let age or infirmity limit the involvement of the FH in family life. To that end, I am encouraging him to do what he can with the girls, and to be a vital part of all our lives.
Sometimes the relationships between the girls and the FH need a bit of mediation, and I am not as good at that as perhaps I could be. They are teenagers, and most men of his age are not living in a house where they have to contend with hair straightners on the landing on a daily basis [he hasn't tripped over them yet because I usually get there first and pick them up], with them having friends round for sleepovers and the anxious days of exams. They are both very good at supporting me with looking after him if he is poorly, for which I am constantly grateful.
Thinking about the quality of our lives here, I still think we are incredibly blessed, and I will continue to advocate for the FH whenever he wants me to when we are dealing with doctors and other medical staff, as I understand his thoughts on the way he wants to live now. Quality of life is an important yard stick for us all, however old we are!