At first, I thought I had a brain tumour. Then, as the forgetfulness increased, I wondered if I was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s, aged 47. The day I got into the car and couldn’t remember which side of the road to drive on was a low point. I had to go back into the house and ask my husband.
At the time, my two teenage daughters – now 17 and 18 – thought this was hilarious. ‘Silly old Mum,’ they giggled. ‘So daft she can’t even work out how to drive.’ I was a busy working mother with four kids, aged five to 15, and I was losing my marbles, unravelling in a cloud of inexplicable mid-life rage. My life was a blur of school runs, sports days, packed lunches and epic piles of laundry, alongside a hectic work schedule.
I didn’t have time to be forgetting things – but I was. I was also wrestling with two adolescent girls who had become strangers to me overnight. They no longer worshipped me — instead, I was belittled as Mum the Moron.
My daughters’ metamorphosis from small, cuddly, giggly, well-behaved and affectionate, Mumloving girls into chaotic, illogical, firebreathing dragons was heartbreaking. They no longer adored me – instead, they looked at me with fury. I feared they would rip my head off if I asked them not to trail a dripping teabag across the kitchen to the bin. Again.
If I gently questioned them on any aspect of their increasingly independent lives – ‘What time will you be home from that party?’, for example– they would just react like I was crazy. ‘Mum, what’s wrong with you?’ they would say crossly before stomping off to their messy bedrooms and a burgeoning collection of filthy mugs and wet towels — mobile phones glued to their hands and ponytails swinging aggressively at me as they went.
Facing the perfect storm
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