Two years ago, I was horrified and harrowed by the awfulness of tending to the same needs from two people at the opposite ends of life – my mum and my newborn baby. In the months after my mum’s stroke just days after Ruby was born, one of the hardest things was the tasks I now had to perform for her, in complete unison with my daugher. Changing her nappy, feeding her pureed food with a spoon, figuring out what she was trying to say.
Two years later, and so much has changed, despite so much being the same. My mum can now talk and feed herself, albeit limited. My daughter can now talk and feed herself, albeit limited. They are developing at the same stage. And today, a momentous thing happened for them both. My daughter completed her first jigsaw. And so did my mum. Ths first time either have had the concentration span, the cognitive intelligence and skills to complete a puzzle. The last few months have been like an awakening for them both. Ruby is working things out, recognizing more and more, communicating more effectively, being funny and engaged. My mum is making more sense, recognised a picture of her mother and last week said my name for the first time in two years. We can laugh again together. Today we baked. I made the dough and rolled it out and with one hand she pressed the cutter. My mum taught me to bake, as I teach now my children. It is something we did together and today I got to do it again. We walked the dog in the autumn sunshine as Ruby sat on mum’s knee in her wheel chair and later we had a pretend tea party. Mum and Ruby laughed and connected – something I never dreamed could have happened in those awful awful months after her stroke. Everything with Ruby is getting easier, and things with my mum are getting better. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference.