The morning my Pa told me the doctor thought he might have Parkinson’s Disease, the sunrise stained the sky with pinks and reds. It was almost as though paint had been knocked over which really is darkly apt. As I FaceTimed Hyde Park with my parents, as we discussed potentials and possibilities, we talked around the fears rather than about them. Too soon to articulate them before we knew anything definite. No point bringing the fears to life if they end up not being something you have to be afraid of just yet.
But it was the first time, they had seen the Italian Gardens. Geese had flown low over us as though showing off for their international audience.
I make a strange dance with adulthood. My life doesn’t look like I thought it would as the age I am, but then I couldn’t tell you what that life was meant to be, not really. I am dented and wonky and anxious. But I am living in a city I’ve finally made friends with, working in a job I love with people I admire enormously, and have surrounded myself with people I would fly to the ends of the earth if they needed. I may not own anything to speak of, may have made more rashly emotional decisions than sensible ones, but I am loved and I don’t regret anything of the chances I jumped into. And for that I really do feel lucky.
What I realised though, what I remembered listening to Pa, was that, for me, adulthood didn’t properly hit until my parents became vulnerable. Watching them grow a little frailer. Being more aware to send cards every month because it makes Ma happy and I’m not sure now they’ll make the trip to London – so I post London to them. Making all the moments I can count, despite being so far away, because it’s all we have. And as things like this happen, the trite becomes reality where every moment counts with absolute clarity.
Maybe as well being properly adult is also being peaceful with who I am. Knowing that I’ll be anxious anyway, I now have folders of articles about medication and progression and future research. My anxiety lessens when I know more about what I’m meant to be worried about.
The evening my Pa told me his results were back and he was starting Parkinson’s medication, Laks was on my lap. As Pa and I quarrelled about taking probiotics – at least that feels somewhat nicer than arguing about politics – Ma sent kisses to Laks while she meowed back. We made plans for a trip back to talk through everything in person – plans and contingencies and just-in-cases. There’s plenty of years left – that’s not in question – but rather making sure that I am as helpful as I can be over here. Being an adult by being able to sit with my parents in whatever capacity they need as they grow older too.