The other day I wrote how hard it is watching my mum getting old. Her mobility is probably now at its worst. It’s not a common occurrence, but one of the most unfortunate things of getting old is for no real reason old people tend to fall over and my mother is no different. What came as a revelation was my five year old twin daughter showing empathy.
I was in for a shock about how one of my five year old twin girls would react to the news that her Nanna had fallen and may have to go to hospital.
Last thursday I was finishing up work around 2 pm because we had a family dental appointment at 3.15pm.
I had a phone call from my mum sounding very distressed. I quickly tried to assess what the problem was and realised she’d had a fall. Thankfully I generally work in the area that we all live in so I’m probably never more than a few minutes away from my mums house, which in an emergency is just as well.
When I arrived I found my mum on the floor looking a bit dazed. I found out she had slipped in the kitchen and surfed on her belly and chest across the room before head butting the kitchen unit with the top of her head and managed to cut her fingers.
I got my mum up off the floor and sat her in the chair and made her a cup of tea. I then rang my wife to say I wouldn’t be able to make the dentist, oh shame!
I rang 999 for an ambulance and about 30 minutes later a paramedic arrived and checked out my mum. Thankfully she was ok apart from a lot of bruising and a big lump on her head.
I phoned my wife with the good news that mum was ok and the paramedic was ok for her to stay at home as long as I stayed with her for a few hours. My wife and our girls had finished in the dentist and were at a local park around the corner from my mums house so I suggested to pop in on the way home.
What my wife told me next was truly amazing, but also made me burst with pride and love. First of all R is only five years old so if truth be known I would not expect her to worry about anything other than what toy her sister has that she wants, but R is a thinker and a thoughtful child.
So when my wife, her mum, told her that her Nanna had fallen and she may have to go to hospital and daddy wouldn’t be able to go the dentist because he has to stay with Nanna. her reaction was concern to the point where she got tearful, upset and very thoughtful about her grandmother.
So when I phoned my wife to say the paramedic had told us that mum could stay at home and why don’t you come up to see Nanna her reaction was, yes please! It was R’s way of checking she was ok. That she could see her and talk to her.
I never thought it was possible that a five year old child could show empathy, but R’s reaction was total empathy. How wonderful to think that she is already thinking about other people and hoping they are ok. That she has developed an element of empathy.
R is very particular who is in her family as I recently wrote chatting to five year old twins about family. R is very definite who belongs in her family and Nanna is firmly there.
My mum, as I have written before is elderly and obviously won’t last forever and it has certainly given me an insight into how she might react when my mum passes. Although like many times I have read and heard how families make up stories after close relatives die. I will be telling the truth from the beginning, but in a careful sensitive way. I truly believe that there is no point in giving children false hope. They are more resilient and understanding than we give them credit.
Would love to know your thoughts. Have your little ones shown signs of empathy? It’s a wonderful character trait to show concern for our fellow human being sadly lacking a lot in today’s world.