Apprenticed to my mother: Part 1


I’m not sure when the morbid thought first hit me. Probably about the time I began to feel I was becoming my parents’ new guardian. I didn’t ask for, or relish the role of whipping boy sounding board in their decisions but none the less I was allocated that position of responsibility without power one day – I must have missed the meeting – and forever after they asked my opinion, something they had eschewed for the first 4 decades of my life, even if they rarely did what I suggested if it didn’t happen to accord with their thinking. Why bother asking me? Because they liked to have someone to share the blame if things went wrong.

And the morbid thought?

Given the statistical likelihood that they would not die together which parent did I want to survive.


I know. Dreadful. But brutally realistic. On the one hand I did more with Dad, had more in common with him. He would be easy company, easy to please and, probably despite the fluster and bluster, reasonably malleable. On the other mum was self reliant. She wouldn’t need cosseting; I wouldn’t panic about her feeding herself or changing a fuse or buying too many envelopes and not enough toilet rolls. One would be fun and high maintenance; the other easy to run and something of an enigma. Because as they approached their eighth decades I realised most of the family news was filtered through dad’s story telling machine. How well did I know mum?

I’m lazy; I was a very busy lawyer trying to pretend I was also an involved parent. The idea of having to parent my father more than I was already doing seemed too much an extra burden so, logic said, if one has to go, and necessarily I didn’t want either to, it had to be dad.

That is was didn’t make it any better.

I run thought experiments all the time. What if scenarios. Great if you’re a writer; a bit creepy and sick sometimes when applied to family and friends. So having thought the thought, I imagined what the world, post dad, would be like. Neat. Compact. Structured. Understandable. Logical.

No one told mum. And she didn’t tell me that, in these circumstances what she needed was not a caring son giving helpful advice, but a better, new improved version of her husband – Desmond 2.0 – a version that did away with the huffing and puffing and mild ranting, and fell in with whatever her thinking was. Diligent, compliant, available when needed but absent when not.

I was to be her apprentice.

To be continued

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to Apprenticed to my mother: Part 1

  1. avalinakreska says:

    I like your honesty Geoff. I had a hard time getting my Dad to hospital – he was so stubborn – once in there he had a ball – chatting with nurses and patients (until death took him). Difficult times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Yes sadly my dad changed into a miserable curmudgeon – can’t complain given he knew he was close to death but a shame the last couple of months were coloured by that change.


  2. Sacha Black says:

    Intriguing, if a little morbid! Can’t wait to see what happens next

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allie P. says:

    Thank goodness choices like that are taken out of my hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Erica Herd says:

    It’s hard being a parent’s caretaker. I took care of my mom for a number of years–not full-time–but as much as a I could. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 and has been in a nursing home since 2011. It’s easier for me now since she is in a new, much better place, but the ties that bind . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gulara says:

    Wow, Geoff, powerful. Raw, honest and very powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. KL Caley says:

    Gosh so tough. Powerful writing Geoff. KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. willowdot21 says:

    Geoff this is a lovely post , I so enjoy reading about your parents. Three words , Your Mum Clutch! xxxxx


  8. Olga says:

    My last parent, my mother, passed in 2005 and the best thing I can say is that in the moments of her needing assistance, I was there for her, as best as I could at the time. No regrets!


  9. jan says:

    We took care of my mom for a few months – it was difficult to hear her version of the past. So trimmed in make belief but what could we say? Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mick Canning says:

    Very difficult subject. I admire your honesty, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Insightful, Geoff

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Given what I know now, I would have chosen my father, Geoff. It wasn’t a tough choice for me and even though I spent far more time with my mum, I’m very glad I did before Dementia robbed her of knowing who we were. Dad, on the other hand, is a healthy 83 year-old still doing his gardening and loving life.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ali Isaac says:

    I wait with baited breath….

    In the meantime, where do these horrid random thoughts come from? I mean, they’re not really you, are they? They don’t sound like you. And once you’ve thought it, you can’t rewind and unthink it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Janice Wald says:

    This was well written. Congratulations. I know people here– Marina, Sacha, Ali, etc.
    What you wrote is realistic. I thought the cross out was funny. My dad has passed already so there’s nothing to muse about for me.
    I met you at Donna’s blog party. Maybe you can check out my blog if you need a blogging tip or two. That’s what I write about. For example, I recently wrote How to Get 842 page views to your blog in less than a day
    I also have several blog parties each month like Donna.

    Liked by 1 person

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