I spent twenty minutes on the phone with my mum this morning talking her through how to read her book on her Kindle.
Even before her stroke, my mum and technology had the same sort of relationship as, say, two people who pass each other in the street regularly. Both are aware of the other one, but there is no common ground upon which to build.
I mean who can forget, pre-stroke, the conversation in which mother was trying to delete the little icon from the web browser address bar?
Today she took things to a whole new level.
I had to go and get my own Kindle – a device I am entirely familar with – to try and work out what mum was doing. What she was doing, it turns out, was things I didn’t know the Kindle could do. It was amazing.
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, though. Because one if mum’s new things is to get in a huff and just not bother with stuff if she can’t get it to do what she wants within a short space of time. “I used to be able to do it…” she’ll say, before it is pointed out that, actually, at best do it should be replaced by muddle through.
Or she’ll declare something broken. That’s my favourite. That is the territory we were heading into today as every instruction given was met with “nope” or “it’s not doing it…”
And then the inevitable “I’ll just turn it off and give up!” huff.
The thing is, you can’t let her get away with it. You have to challenge back in quite a forceful way that just feels awful. You shouldn’t have to treat a parent like that – like they’re a stroppy kid who won’t do what they’re told and then wants to go off in a huff and eat worms.
But needs must.
If I let her get away with not doing stuff that’s the start of a slippery slope, I fear.
One I definitely don’t want to go down. So if I have to spend twenty minutes explaining things, interspersed with motivational pep talks and the odd angry outburst then so be it.
It’s hard work having a parent!