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It was a beautiful morning, the Spring garden glowing in the pale sunshine, a moment of tranquility in the middle of the early May bank holiday weekend. He had risen at 6.30am and was all ready with dry suit, sailing boots and a packed lunch – not quite the same as going to Rutland to sail his Laser, but still a day on the water to look forward to: Martin was going to the Sailing Club for Race Officer duty.

I don’t believe in 6.30am; it was 8 when I surfaced to hear the front door bang shut. Was that Sam arriving early? Stumbling downstairs there was no sign of our son, but on entering the kitchen and surveying the garden through the wide-open back door, I could see my husband standing helplessly at the end of the path with the garage door rolled up… and his exit blocked.

SOMEONE HAD PARKED THEIR FORD FIESTA ACROSS OUR DRIVE! How unbelievably thoughtless and selfish! – well, we have a right to be angry about it, don’t we? But actually we were both calm and practical: surely there is a way round this? Martin had already knocked on all the neighbour’s doors to find the culprit – with no luck; I wondered if we could bump it out of the way, so he could squeeze past… surely there must be something we could do!

Don’t park here!

We couldn’t. Humph – disappointment and frustration, the painful inner reactions as you have to cope with it, bow to it, adjust to it, make a plan B. Sometimes there just is nothing you can do – and none of us like to give up that control. But when you can’t do anything – as we know so well – you just have to make the necessary changes and ‘bear with it’.  It takes inner strength and patience and it’s the story of our lives at the moment.

We would like to move house, but are well and truly stuck because our aforementioned son, who has a brain tumour limiting his life-expectancy, lives in his own little place a stone’s throw from ours. Having moved him out of the family home 6 months ago in normal circumstances it would now seem possible for us to downsize, as we have been hoping to do for some time. We could re-locate from our 6 bedroomed Victorian semi to my longed-for country cottage! Except… how can we leave him? He is so conveniently close that to move away when we don’t know what will happen or when, is nothing but crazy. He could need us – for much more than the regular emotional back-up – at any time…

It seems parental responsibility never really goes away, even though you think it will around the time they reach their 3rd decade. Maybe if there were others involved – partners or even employers to share the load – it would help. Both our 27 year old daughter and 25 year old son have not fully made the break to independence – for various reasons, mostly down to mental health.

We keep encouraging them, cutting the ties and deliberately standing back – this is no parental suffocation or control. It’s up to them to get past their own parked cars and out onto the highway of life, debilitating circumstances permitting. All we can do now is watch and wait and hope – and help as much as we can. But emotionally it’s like that joke about the 92 year old woman visiting her doctor, saying she is feeling much better today because she’s just got the last of her children into a nursing home! They’re still our flesh and blood and always will be – we can’t just walk away.

Our exit is blocked in more ways than one 😦