Daily Archives: August 25, 2006

Apron strings

In the midst of all that angst, it’s been an interesting experience loosening the apron strings ever so slightly today.

It has become a bit of a custom to swap children during the holidays, taking Smudgelet to the childminder’s to play with his best friend and bringing home said best friend’s brother (bored at the childminder’s with all the under-nines) to play with Tiddles who is of an age with him. They’re delightful company and he’s a good influence on Tiddles, methinks.

So Miss-ultra-protective, realising her teenage son is getting on a bit now, decides to let go the reins just a little bit. The two lads are given some money and dropped off at the swimming pool for a couple of hours. Then, once they are wrinkly, they are transported into town with money to buy their own picnic and then relocated, complete with football, at the edge of the forest. It’s a small forest, well known to them both and very popular with families, so as safe as you could ask a forest to be. The only known dangerous wild animals are the red squirrels who could probably give you a nasty tickle. So I steeled myself to leave them to their own devices – a picnic, a walk and a kickaround with the football – for an hour and a half. I came home to make the most of my freedom – why is it I paced the whole afternoon until it was time to go and collect them?

Tiddles tonight rang Miss Lovely to arrange his fourth date. Ooooh! Mind you, I have to say she’s a bit of a girl. I seem to have lost touch with thirteen-year-old girls, they seem a bit of an alien race to me. But she’s good for Tiddles and he likes her company, so that’s good enough for me to put up with the giggles and silly girly comments. I loved it, though – he walked miles during the phonecall as he went to his room for privacy, returning to the lounge every three seconds to check his arrangements with me! It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare, though… and somehow seems to work out that I shall have to spend some time alone with this strange creature, the teenage girl…. a prospect almost as daunting for me as it is doubtless for her.


The promised (threatened?) stream of posts about the past few weeks have been postponed. I hope to do them tomorrow as I fully intend to be a bit more upbeat about life, the universe and everything tomorrow and it will put me in the right frame of mind for blogging.

The last few days have been a bit busy for internet life and also I am in a bit of a slough of despond which I am battling. Probably best if you stop reading here while I bemoan my miserable state and sound thoroughly depressed, which I’m not. Indeed it feels as though I am stood at the top of a rollercoaster heading downwards, yet still at the point where I can get off… and I am determined to get off and walk away before that downward spiral begins. I might break out the St Johns Wort, though – although having said that, prayer is a sight stronger and more effective.

It seems to be cyclic (don’t mention hormones, I guess they’re partly to blame) but the arrangements for Dad’s care seem to hit the periodic (no pun intended, two out of three are way beyond that!) glitch which ends up with people feeling resentful and hurt. Somehow we all have to hold onto the fact that we are all struggling and all under similar and yet different stresses and all actually trying our best in a no-win situation.

This coming month one sister basically wants a month or so off. She feels torn between her adult children and grandchildren and Dad. The journey for her from there to here is not easy and she does not feel able to do two weeks in a row, travelling home simply to go to work for two days… with the result that it works out that she would need six weeks off. I don’t blame her at all, the other demands on her are real and I would want to be there for them too if it were me. Trouble is, who covers those weeks? My other sister has two long weekends which she really wants to take, and as she has had no holiday at all this year I really want her to be able to go. But who’s left holding the baby.. in fact, all three babies? And I am having visitors during that month too. It’d be alright if we could discuss it without getting emotionally involved or saying things that the others find hurtful, but I’ve obviously said something to hurt my sister about her wanting the six weeks off because she’s finding it difficult to speak to me at all. And I don’t know what to do about it.

Here I am stuck in soul-searching. I want to do what’s best for everyone but seem to be doing what’s best for noone. Am I manipulative, as I’ve been accused? I am fairly confident I don’t do it deliberately and certainly never maliciously. My other sister gave as an example the time that I’d said that I was having visitors overnight and that, while I’d explained to them that I would probably be over at Dad’s and could only offer them bed and board but not my company, I just wondered if she might be able to come a day early and let me spend the evening with them. Apparently she felt manipulated into saying yes. I can see how she might feel that, but I’m blowed if I know what I should have done or said instead. And how is it different from her saying that she’d really like to go away for the weekend but will cancel it if she really has to? I have been going round in circles all day. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. And the only way out of it is to say I’ll do it all, and yet then feeling resentful myself.

I end up doing the rotas because the others don’t want to do it and yet then I am villain of the piece because I’m manipulating them into doing things they don’t want, even though I have tried to take on board all their other commitments and my own and then just put together a proposal which, as I see it, is just a starting point for discussion. AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!! You see, it’s happening. I’m feeling resentful and I so don’t want to! And my self esteem feels as though it’s taking a battering because it seems my best aint good enough. Where’s that brick wall? I want to bash my head against it.

Add to this the frustration of finding out my longed-for extension, the one that’s a necessity rather than a luxury, will cost twice the amount I’ve budgeted for it and thus is way beyond my means. My brother, God bless him, is determined I should go ahead regardless and has offered to provide the money as a permanent loan. I am going to have to say yes, I think, but I so don’t want to be so greatly in his debt, I really don’t. And it feels as though I’ve manipulated him into that position too. I’ve looked at every option, but the only properties within my price range are grotty little terraces and how can I give up my beautiful bungalow for those, simply to get another bedroom, especially as the location is ideal for me and for the boys? It’s as though a rug has been pulled from under my feet. My only hope is that social services will come up trumps, but I seriously doubt they’re planning to throw £40,000 into the pot.

Good news is that my hospital test results show that there is nothing seriously wrong to be causing the symptoms I have been experiencing. I am mainly delighted to hear this. The only downside to this news is that this means there is nothing they’re planning to do to relieve the symptoms as the cause is simply put down to stress. Ho hum.

But my sense of humour is still intact, lots of good things are happening, and tomorrow I shall blog you all to death either before or after a trip to the garden centre in search of a modern-day Bit and Bot.

(And my beloved sister, I can’t say this out loud because I don’t want to upset us both but I do so wish you could step back a moment and read my mind and realise how much it hurts every time you tell me that it’s much easier for me because I don’t have a husband to consider. I know you’d be devastated to think you’d hurt me and that’s why I can’t tell you – but one thing that makes this particularly hard is not having a husband who will put his arms round me and comfort me and tell me he loves me and make it all better again).