MY FAMILY AFFAIRS UPDATE

My children are all currently performing the death-defying act of living in the real world without me. My firstborn is in Berlin for the weekend, the second back at university for her final furlong and the third is simply out and about, crossing roads and taking buses by himself and going to a Stormzy concert tonight. I would really like to know how you as a parent, learn to let go of the fear? To not worry about the knock on the door? Does it ever go away? The moment you have children, the world rearranges itself into an obstacle course of deadly fears and threats. It is truly terrifying when they’re too young to understand the dangers of roads, edges, water, plugs, fire and cars and you can’t take your eyes off them for a second, but I had thought it might get easier as they get older. It could just be my kids of course, but it hasn’t really got any easier thanks to the endless list of dramas we’ve had over the years, which has meant I can’t relax when they’re not in my sight. I can’t even cope with my daughter driving back to university without worrying about her in the car. She has to text me when she gets to her destination before I can start breathing properly again.

Perhaps this is the inevitable downside of having children. You never ever relax entirely again. I don’t remember my parents being this concerned – certainly not that time my father sent my 5 year old son down a steep hill on a scooter, without predicting the inevitable crash and long term scars. He used to be surprised by my concern, but leaving him in charge was never a great idea. I honestly don’t know how I’d cope if my children were horse riders or racing car drivers. How would you ever sleep at night?

Perhaps now is the time to find a distraction so that I’m doing stuff myself, instead of waiting for them to come home so that I can wrap them in swaddling again. Maybe I’ll take up skydiving or swimming with sharks, just to balance it out a little in my head.

I know it’s important to have to try and remind ourselves that this is what being a teenager/young adult means. Teenagers haven’t changed since our day. The world has changed, but they don’t know any different. We can worry that their lives seem more complicated, that there is information overload, but we can’t really compare. Their emotions and their friends are the major driving force and we are just there for the ride, trying to keep them as safe as possible as well as attempt to constantly keep the lines of communication open. No matter what. Easier said than done when they’re hell bent on pushing boundaries and doing stupid things that they will hopefully learn from and move on to a more stable place as their frontal cortex has developed more fully. But this doesn’t make it easier for us poor parents though when they do something spectacularly ridiculous or dangerous and can’t really explain why.

All we can do is be there for them and keep asking questions.

Even when they’re not listening because their friends are texting.

Even when, instead of having a lovely time chatting to them in the garden, my daughter found it hilarious to keep shouting “OMG MUM, IF YOU’RE GOING TO DO FARTS LIKE THAT, GO INSIDE. YOU’RE DISGUSTING”….so funny, especially when the neighbours are having a posh lunch party and their mother is mortified.

I think I might need to find a partner who can help defend me in times of need like this.

AND OTHER MATTERS UPDATE

My friends
I love my friends and that’s all I want to say on the matter at the moment.

Madeline
So so sad for the McCanns having to suffer ten years of not knowing where their daughter is. I remember so clearly the day she went missing and feeling such pain for them. We all hugged our children a little closer that night – my youngest child was six and having a nightmare about someone climbing through the window of the bedroom he shared with his brother and kidnapping him. His older brother thought it would be good to reassure him by saying “don’t be stupid, no one is going to kidnap you…your too fat, they’d never get you through the window.” I so wish for them they could find her.

Gary Lineker talks to Rachel Johnson
Went to an interesting talk between the two of them hosted by The School of Life. Rachel Johnson had chosen him as her personal “hero” as a beacon of hope in the self-interest fuelled world of celebrity culture when he was willing to put his head above the parapet and express compassion for Syrian refugees trying to enter the UK. She was clearly a little overwhelmed by his presence, but a good conversation nevertheless and perhaps he should get into politics moving forward.

A Little Life
Finally finished “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara. Certainly not A Little Book at 720 pages and very traumatic to read. Expect major highs and lows. It is an ode to friendship. Unusually about male friendship and I was struck by the kindness. This is juxtaposed with the most extraordinary cruelty in the main protagonist, Jude’s early life. Prepare yourself and block out a number of days. Not an enjoyable read by any means, but a very interesting, thought provoking one. Could have been shorter.

A walk in the park
Glorious and restorative. Look at it this morning. So lucky to have this on our doorstep.

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