Here we go off on the Grand Tour again.
Last night, when Dad went off home in the evening after tea, I warned him that I was planning a lie in this morning. We joked about how he lies in quite late at my sister’s and he was saying that if he has to lie in on holiday, then by the time he’s washed and dressed and had his breakfast, it’ll be time for him to go to bed again as he takes so long to get organised in the mornings. I reminded him again that he’d be having a lie-in this morning because I was planning a day off from getting up at the crack of dawn and because the boys needed to sleep in after their hectic weekend.
So at 8 am there’s a tap on the door. Dad, fully dressed and full of the joys of spring. “I’m here to round up some slave labour. I looked at my garden and thought what a mess it is and decided we could get up early and spend the day on it.” He looks at the closed bedroom door and becomes slightly annoyed. “What, aren’t they up yet? What are they doing still in bed on a beautiful day like today. If they’ve nothing planned, they can get themselves over to help me do the weeding.” I point out ever so gently that we were having a lie-in today.
“I can’t be doing with lying in bed when my garden’s such a mess. I could have been out there at five o’clock if they’d been ready. Send them over when they’re ready.” I point out, ever so gently, that my home is a total mess too, especially as Tiddles’ camping stuff is strewn all over it in various stages of fumigating-and-putting- away, and that they have some jobs to do at home. “Oh yes, well I thought they might. It’s more important for them to do jobs for you whenever Grandad needs some help, isn’t it? Well, there’ll be times in between your jobs. They can come and help me then. I’ll take that cup of tea outside to drink as I’m obviously in your way.”
AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH! Half of me is furious with him, half of me knows he’d forgotten about us having a lie-in, half of me is really frustrated that he can’t say sorry and has to hide it under a bluster of anger, half of me knows he’s always been like that and we won’t change him now. Half of me is livid that he’s spoilt the start to the day, and half of me feels really guilty that I’ve spoilt the start to his when he was obviously in such a bright mood to begin with and actually I might get on a lot better here if the boys are occupied elsewhere. Half of me wants them to get time to play together, though, after a weekend apart as it is their school holidays after all. Half of me feels annoyed with myself for feeling guilty about Dad and the other half feels annoyed with myself for feeling annoyed with myself because I know it’s not just today, it’s most days, and it’s really hard not to have a life of my own. Dad’s not even asked how the service went on Sunday – he’d forgotten it before I went (hence the argument over why I wasn’t prepared to make his tea for him) and he forgot it immediately after I came home. Totally self-absorbed in a way that seems the greatest dilemma of old age. Somehow I need to find the magic key that will help me balance my right to live my own life with the fact that getting irritated about it won’t change anything.
And the worst thing is, I’m feeling so rebellious that, although I got up really well motivated to make an impact upon my mess of a house, now I can feel myself thinking “I am allowed just to lounge around and be lazy all day if I want to, father… your disapproval is irrelevent. Look!”