wings and things

Like father like son!

on January 10, 2014

Today was very interesting – and hot! Ming and I had to go into town to do last-minute jobs in preparation for his birthday party. We had to collect hire chairs, pay in advance for delivery of pizzas, buy a new cord for Anthony’s old stereo, and numerous other jobs.

I was the driver and we were using the old ute (truck), but I was also the lifter of anything heavy (like 24-packs of bottled water, coke, beer etc.) It must have seemed a bit odd that the young, robust-looking boy-man chatted happily with various store owners while the disheveled, perspiring mother did all the lifting and driving. Occasionally I would say, “He’s just had a back operation. I’m not usually his slave.”

Once we had done all of these jobs and were on our way to see Anthony, I told Ming how much he reminded me of Anthony when he was younger. Well the conversation didn’t start all that pleasantly:

Me: Why the hell did it take you 45 minutes to pay for the pizzas? Do you know how hot it is sitting out here in this crappy old ute in the full sun, waiting?

Ming: Oh! Sorry, Mum, I was just having a chat. It’s a family-owned business and they were great people. Both their kids work for them. I’m so glad we’re getting the pizzas from here and they gave me a fantastic discount and free delivery!

Me: Okay.

Ming: What’s wrong?

Me: Oh I cannot believe how much you are like Ants! Everywhere we ever went way back when he was young and fit, he would leave me in the car, go into a shop to buy something simple like a screwdriver and not come out for ages and ages. I would become absolutely furious with having to wait so long and would eventually stomp into the shop to find him talking up a storm with the proprietor, other staff, random customers, with everyone laughing and joking, with Anthony the loudest of all. He’d spot my scowling face and yell out, “Jules! Come and meet ….” and I would smooth my face back into a smile and join the ‘party’.

Ming: Do I do that?

Me: Well, yes. I mean you haven’t yet transformed a screwdriver purchase into a party but you certainly do know how to turn the mundane errands into social occasions. You also have a very loud presence.

Ming: So I’m like Dad was before I was born?

Me: Yes.

Ming: That’s great!

Finally, after all the jobs were done, and the ute was loaded up with chairs, drinks and other odds and ends, we went to the nursing home. I had asked Ming to help me explain to Ants that last night’s incident might be due to the paranoia which comes with Parkinson’s disease (he doesn’t know he has the dementia part). Our main task was to reassure Ants.

As we entered the nursing home there was a little flurry – the nursing manager pulled me aside and asked me about last night, a nurse going off duty told me she had tried to ring me this morning to say Ants was fine now, the nurse in charge for the afternoon and evening thought it might have been due to a new staff member last night. She even felt his antagonism might have been justified in some way and not just due to paranoia. Apparently Anthony had made the nursing home headlines in terms of drama!

All of these rushed conversations happened out of Anthony’s earshot of course and, meanwhile, Ming had already gone into Anthony’s room. Once I entered, Ming said, “Okay, Mum close the door so we can have a family conference.” Then we all sat close to each other and, after I kissed Anthony’s bleak-looking face and saw the anger in his eyes, Ming and I began to explain about paranoia and that if it happens again to remember that is is part of PD. I was so proud of Ming.

Ming: Dad, if you get like that again, really scared, you have to trust us on the phone because we don’t lie to you. The nurses were just trying to put you to bed and give you a pill.

Me: Ants, you were shouting at everyone, even me, that we were bitches.

Anthony: Well you are.

Me: Why me?

Anthony: You should have come in to help me.

Me: No Ants – I am not going to come all the way in here from the farm late at night just because you didn’t see me that day. How do you NOT know how much I love you? I was so worried last night and you made me cry!

Ming: Shut up, Mum, he doesn’t need to hear that. Dad, listen to me – you can’t go around calling nurses bitches okay!

Anthony: Why not? They took me to another town and then wouldn’t help me and someone is trying to get my money.

Ming: Dad, you are imagining some of this stuff because of the Parkinson’s.

Me: You know how you get those hallucinations and if I tell you it’s because of the Parkinson’s, you can cope?

Anthony: Yes.

Me: Well, I’ve been doing some research and paranoia is also part of Parkinson’s so, late at night, when the nurses are putting you to bed, you might think they aren’t nurses. Is that what happens?

Anthony: Yes.

Ming: So, Dad, you need to always remember that they are nurses and they are looking after you. If they ring us and we talk to you at night, you HAVE to trust us, okay?

Anthony: What about the bitches?

Ming: I know – they’re everywhere.

Me: He’s kidding, Ants!

The conversation was much longer and more convoluted than this, but Ming and I ended up laughing when we were able to tease a half smile into Anthony’s face. This was after he whispered to his father to swear in his head and not with his mouth.

I think next time I get a phone-call from the nursing home like last night’s I will hand it over to Ming. They are so uncannily alike!


I think one of the best things about our three-way relationship – father, mother, son – is the soft-slicing honesty with which we have always communicated with each other. In this we are very very fortunate.

Oh yes, and the other interesting thing is that Anthony’s own father died when Ants was around Ming’s age and I remember Anthony telling me about how his dad was a lot of hard work beforehand, and that they clashed a lot. Ming clashes with Ants a lot too but today he broke the record in terms of compassion and, even if we get another alarming phone-call from the nursing home tonight, we will all be okay – all three of us.

64 responses to “Like father like son!

  1. so beautiful Julie, you and Ming really do so well

  2. What a great post, and what a great young man Ming is!

  3. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    I do hope so (that you’ll all be okay with another phone call tonight, if it happens).

    But I guess you’ll have to be open to all possibilities.

    But the love between you three will win out, so no matter what happens, it’ll be OK.

  4. FlaHam says:

    Julie, Ming is an amazing young man. Stepping up when needed, and rubbing you raw at times because he can. Yet, I see how so very proud of him you are, and how you find the parts of Ants in him, that make you smile. Watching our kids grow and mature, is such a wonderful sight. Take care, Bill

  5. tersiaburger says:

    You are such an amazing mother, wife and friend. I truly admire you my friend. Hugs and wishes for a GREAT party.

  6. bulldog says:

    You see the Sterkte worked… love this post…

  7. I think one thing you can be sure of… Ming will grow as a man with compassion and understanding of those with disabilities…. My children learned this when my mother ‘their Nana’ had brain surgery and over the past few years of her life deteriorated from the Nana they knew to one that had a personality change and then lost many abilities….Diane

  8. Rhonda says:

    From thought, to keystroke, to written word…your love of this MΓ©nage Γ  trois is beautifully expressed…xoxo

  9. Lynda says:

    Julie, I do remember when he wasn’t able to handle Anthony’s illness, and now he is the champion! I’m so glad for his maturity and acceptance.

    Have a happy party!

  10. mimijk says:

    As enervating as family dynamics can be, there are times when the love is so palpable and profound in its depth that one can’t help but feel that it trumps all else. Your post made me feel this way..

  11. Oh Julie, I love this post! I love that photo of Ants asleep with Ming on his arm. I had no idea that Ant’s dad died when he was so young. Did they have a similar age difference as Ants and Ming?

  12. Bravo Ming! What a great post. Love that smile on Ants face with Ming on his lap. Looks like the same one holding him as a baby (precious). My favorite, “So I’m like dad was before I was born?”
    Happy weekend. Happy birthday.

  13. What an amazing trio, you guys are. When I see Ming, what I see in his face is Anthony with your beautiful eyes looking at the world. πŸ™‚

  14. Anonymous says:

    Julie, you sure know how to pull at my heartstrings with your photos and writings. I am so glad you have Ming to give you support with Ants. xo dale

  15. ytaba36 says:

    Just … wow!


  16. Ming is growing up into a fine young man.

  17. tootlepedal says:

    Ming grows in my estimation every day.

  18. Don’t those pictures tell a story???? Beautiful!!!

    I’m impressed with you and your family. What love. I know I say it over and over again. But I see it over and over again. I hope I have a fraction of your devotion if any of my family members need me.

  19. janechese says:

    I like your family’s honesty with one another and how Ming has taken on the role of responsibility with his father. it may not work like you desire next time Ants has a bad time but at least you are all talking about it and not brushing under the rug.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Sometimes I have to kind of lie to Anthony (if I need him to be reassured about this and that – hard to explain) but mostly the honesty thing works really well; it kind of wakes him up out of the increasing fog of dementia.

  20. ksbeth says:

    best of luck to the three of you )

  21. Ok now I want to go back and read the post I missed, I hate it when that happens…………………lol
    It sounds like Ming was great with his dad and that must make you happy

  22. janeslog says:

    The three of you are together and happy – that’s the main thing.

  23. What a blessing Ming is. There is so much bitter-sweetness in your life. Amazing love and devastating grief. I want so much for all three of you to be happy and leave the despair behind.

  24. Judith says:

    You have two great guys, and they do strike me as a lot alike. Hope Ming’s birthday party is pure fun!

  25. bluebee says:

    Ming is growing up and learning not to be afraid of dealing with Ants – it’s great to see πŸ™‚

  26. Terry says:

    What a sad and beautiful story. I am so proud of Ming and the way he handled the situation. My heart bleeds for Ants as he doesn’t really understand all of his disease. You three are an awesome family!

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