Ah! the amazing coffee I recently had in Portugal. My mom not feeling well at a concert. Finding myself fortunate at 43 to still have my Mom alive. These are all thoughts that collided the other day while I was in the shower.
Here is the set-up for the coffee: while meandering through Lisbon we stopped at a Café, I ordered a “um meia de leite” (latté) in Portuguese and had one of the best coffees ever. My hubby said that its yumminess is because it was prepared for me. In part I agree. It was the right temperature, amazing taste, the balance of coffee/milk/foam was sublime served in a nice simple bowl. The ambiance, the atmosphere and the company all contributed to my level of appreciation as well. Also not to be ignored is the savoir-faire behind the scene: the quality and roasting of the beans, the proper grind, the coffee machine….
Just one day back from that trip, I was attending a concert with my parents. Suddenly my Mom not feeling quickly went to the public restroom where she vomited, while I accompanied her. This was not a situation I often find myself in, and an embarrassing one for her.
In the shower, a couple days later, after having followed up with my Mom to see how she was I realized how fortunate I am at my age to still have my parents alive and that as a child my parents recognized my needs without ever having to verbalize them.
These are the series of thoughts that occurred: Why does my Mom not want to talk about her issues? Why is it so hard to ask for help? Do I ask for help when I need it? (not sure that I do) When I was a child I received the help I needed without even having to ask for it–someone recognized my needs (usually my Mom on a physical level and more my Dad on an emotional side) without me having to verbalize anything. Both soothed and comforted me in an instinctive manner the best they knew how.
Those thoughts led me to think that parents naturally come towards the child to offer the appreciate support. I completely understand as well that not all children are offered a soft spot to land on.
Then we grow up and demand our independence to care for ourselves, finding our own solutions and pillows to land on.
When it comes time when we need intimate care again (either due to sickness or a loss of autonomy) I am not sure that we have ever learnt how to ask for help when it comes to our intimate care at each stage of life.
I enjoy things certain ways though rarely do I know how to put it into words and often rely on my childhood instincts of knowing that the person serving me or helping me naturally knows my needs and wishes, instinctively.
When I do not feel well, it is even harder to verbalise anything at that point. In Portugal, I could never have said exactly how I wanted my coffee, like a magical moment, every aspect of that coffee was just how I enjoy it without having to say more than a rehearsed new phrase in Portuguese.
It made me think that this is what might be challenging many seniors and their children when it comes to a place of deep intimacy and the need to receive care–how could it ever be put into words and communicated properly when it is not a task that we do often.
Extremely challenging on all fronts. Extremely rewarding when no words are required and someone or something hits our needs right on the spot.