Concealing The Unavoidable

StumblingI was ‘Getting The Teenager Ready For School’ the other day.

No mean feat.

Blazer? Grunt. Tie? Grunt. Lunch money? S’not enough, my mates get, like a tenner. AND they’re allowed to buy donuts.

Anyway, in the middle of this, just as I was adjusting the straps on his empty school bag yet again, I tripped over a rug, one of many in my house.

The Teenager looked horrified. I righted myself and attempted a casual laugh. ‘Oh, d’uh, pesky rug, who put that there?’.

‘Why do you always do that? Why can’t you be normal, like other parents? I hate it.’

I tried to reassure him that I hadn’t yet had my requisite three cups of coffee and was simply tired. And yes, part of MS is stumbling and tripping.

‘Yeah, and your point is? You’re always tired. You always stumble’.

‘Am not’.

‘Are so’.

‘Am not’.

I realised that perhaps this line of reasoning wasn’t particularly mature, so I bustled around him and waved him off with a cheery, ‘have a great day at school!’, while he made shoo-ing gestures to urge me back indoors, lest any of his friends see me.

The Teenager has coped admirably since MS came into his life when he was 11 and in the middle of transitioning to high school. Not the best time for it, but MS could never be deemed a polite intruder. He’s witnessed too much, no matter how hard I try to conceal things from him. At his age, kids just want everything to be normal. They don’t want their parents to be different.

Some may ask what on earth I’m doing; why not let him see MS in all it’s glory? It’ll make him a better person. More compassionate, more caring. Fair point, but not for us. As a divorced single parent, I am his mainstay and he deserves a childhood.

I hide a lot from him, as do many other parents with issues, be it lack of money, anxiety, job insecurities, relationship stress. We want the best for our children and as such I drip-feed information to him as and when I think it is necessary. I don’t keep him in the dark, but I am selective.

He really doesn’t need to know all the ins and outs, especially my fears and worries. Why would he? Why put that extra burden on him, especially at his age when he is going through vital exams? My son is not my confidant, he is my child. And if the utmost aim of parents is to protect our children, then I will do that as long as I possibly can.

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24 thoughts on “Concealing The Unavoidable

  1. Tricia says:

    Well said you, and so say all of us parents. Xxxx

  2. Adrian says:

    Rugs are dangerous, remove them, hang them up on the wall, a cover for a boxed item or similar? Make it safe for yourself! I know you’re in a hurry and want to please yourself to have everything ready for your son. I feel your struggles, but children understand and are willing to help – it would gratify him! Don’t let guilt rule you. Be proud of what you can do but cautiously. Maybe, ask your son what to do with the rugs, don’t keep him in the dark, he may teach you something off handedly! 🙂

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I know what you mean, but honestly, the house would look pretty bare without them! I used to tape them down but it looked awful. Currently looking into double-sided tape to put underneath them.
      The Teenager is great and has already seen too much and the last thing I want is for him to go to school worrying about me. It should be the other way round!

      • Adrian says:

        Double sided tape will curl and some parts will stick tightly and be nearly impossible to take off unless you use a torch and/or razor blade. Don’t mean to sound brash, was in construction laying marble, ceramic tile and mosaics with my father. I’m 43 this year, been off work for about 10 years, worked hard, but I did it, like you; you gotta do what ya gotta do – old italian saying, heheh. Thank you for sharing your experiences! 🙂

        • stumbling in flats says:

          I’m with you – last time I used gaffer tape and spent weeks scraping it off the floor. Not a fun experience! Maybe I should use tile adhesive to stick them down?? No chance they’d move then lol.

          • Adrian says:

            I’m not sure if the tile adhesive would work\bond to the tape, It may bubble? Try\sample a small amount first and wait a day, you’ll know. Hope it helps!?

          • stumbling in flats says:

            I was joking! I’m a pretty good tiler and that stuff is mean. Once it dries it’s a nightmare, lol.

      • Jonny says:

        I was up early-ish this morning. it wasn’t the alarm It was the sound the piece of copper pipe made when it bounced on the Tiles (Jingle, Jangle!). The house renovations have really challenged my patience…I guess my quip “don’t do today what you can put off til tomorrow” does have a certain…….(can’t find the word. .) Anyway, as for the exercise class, I think I’ve enough going on round here to keep me on my toes! And as for rugs!….I’m the doormat round here….

        Centre of the World.

        • stumbling in flats says:

          Know just how your’re feeling! I work on extension projects so know a little bit about a lot of things, lol. Just a shame our most recent job is high up in the mountains of South Wales and absolutely freezing :-(. Mind you, I’m getting very good at giving orders and not much else…

        • Adrian says:

          I think the word “has a certain ‘ring’ to it”. You’ll be ready when you’re ready. And leave the rest alone as you’ve done an ample amount. To get it over with, just take everything in stride as you have nothing to prove to anyone, including yourself. My lady friend told me “not to cause pressure on yourself” especially because you have ms, like her you, I and end mostly everyone with ms.This the dilemma, I know, but just be thankful of what your body allows, mentally and physically. I know that are fatigue stem from the ms; mind/body, pay attention to that we’re always juggling aren’t we.

          • stumbling in flats says:

            Too right. Like yesterday, I was dead on my feet by early afternoon. Got home, struggled through the evening and 20 minutes before bedtime I dozed off on sofa. When I woke and hour later, I asked The Teenager why he hadn’t woken me up. Fact is, he had half an hour more on his X-Box. Meh. He said he thought it would be kinder to let me sleep, lol.

          • Jonny says:


            I’ll second that……as for yesterday…competing in our (Belfast Lough Sailability) neighbouring organisation’s racing event was let say……part of the Learning Curve,

            Weather or Not………

          • stumbling in flats says:

            Sounds intriguing!

  3. julie says:

    I hear what you are saying but denying what he can see for himself may not be the answer. If he sees that you are trying to cover things up he may feel pushed away. Don’t forget to include him in the stuff you can’t hide, like tripping. Be upfront about that. There isn’t much you can do about the usual teenage ‘why aren’t you like everyone else’s parents’ nonsense, but my come back to that when I get it is, ‘You go behind any closed door in this street and you will find a household with one issue or another, be it financial, relationships, health, whatever. No family is perfect. The people you see with the fancy cars, houses and holidays might be worried sick over the debt they have created. There will be kids you know who are abused or neglected by their parents. Don’t assume that our household is anything less than anyone else’s because I can assure you that not only is it not, but in reality it is probably a whole lot better than you think.’
    I tell them ‘Don’t compare your behind the scenes to their highlight reel’. Bit of a long response I know but I think you are being a bit hard on yourself. We absolutely need to protect our children but you stumble and you are tired, maybe explain to the teenager that some households have far worse going on. You are important too. x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      A very, very interesting comment, thank you! I’ve tried to talk to him about it in that way before. We do have a very open relationship (I think, lol). But I just want to smooth over things for a while longer at least. Possibly because MS happened at such a transitional time for him, I’m not sure. Maybe if it had always been around it would have been different.
      Maybe I’m doing the wrong thing, but I’ve grown up with parents who were ill and I just didn’t want that for him.

  4. Jonny B Good says:

    A teacher …whom taught us….used to prompt us with….. I AM ALL EARS……to which we (collectively) responded….NO BODY’S PERFECT!

  5. Adrian says:

    Totally understand and you know how to smooth things over and lesson the burden on both you and him. The more i see the broader picture the greater awareness there is. Thank you for your openness!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      It’s pretty tough, but we bumble along.
      This morning will be fun: I need to wake him up for his early morning maths club at school. The joys!

  6. julie says:

    What? Maths club? Teenager? Early morning? You are one high achieving parent!:-) x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I wish! It’s just extra stuff for his GCSE’s. Not the most fun I have, trying to get him up and at school for 7.30 🙁

  7. rachmonkee says:

    Be a good enough parent hun.So difficult isnt it, the balance between protecting them from things they dont really need to know and being honest. You say it well x

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