Monday, 17 December 2012

Poem by Edward Thomas

And You, Helen

And you, Helen, what should I give you?
So many things I would give you
Had I an infinite great store
Offered me and I stood before
To choose. I would give you youth,
All kinds of loveliness and truth,
A clear eye as good as mine,
Lands, waters, flowers, wine,
As many children as your heart
Might wish for, a far better art
Than mine can be, all you have lost
Upon the travelling waters tossed,
Or given to me. If I could choose
Freely in that great treasure-house
Anything from any shelf,
I would give you back yourself,
And power to discriminate
What you want and want it not too late,
Many fair days free from care
And heart to enjoy both foul and fair,
And myself, too, if I could find
Where it lay hidden and it proved kind.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Switch Back

Now I am feeling depressed.  Not clinically depressed of course.  Just back to the negative feelings about younger daughter (recap, age 25,  had good job, has given it up to slave in a ski chalet for 65 euros a week, no holiday and one day off a week for five months).

At first we got no emails at all - a sure sign that EITHER
a) she was having a fantastic time or
b) they had been put to work as soon as they arrived and were working flat out from Sunday morning onwards.

It turned out to be (b).

Hubby and I read her ghastly descriptions when they were finally emailed, and told each other "She'll soon get this out of her system, no worries, after five months of this she'll be glad to go back to a professional job".

But no.

Today's email reported that she was getting the "boring accountant" out of her system, and was confident that she was well on the way to become a "fun" person.

I am sad.  Is this what I gave my all for, over 20 years of education, paid for, no debts, endless support, endless comfort and taxi service, home cooking, etc etc etc?

It appears that her sole ambition is to be a "fun" person and to have "fun".

I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that never in all my 59 years has it ever been my ambition to have fun.

I wanted to do good in the world, to contribute something, to be part of a team doing something worthwhile, to communicate, to be intellectually stimulated.   Not altogether! In roughly that sequence.

It's still my ambition, even after being humiliatingly dismissed earlier this year from my main job, to contribute something to the household budget, to be as near as possible financially independent, to keep myself fit and intellectually occupied, and to waste no time watching daytime television.

So it was with some sadness that I read her words.  I still haven't decided how much to tell her dad, who is even more serious than me, who has slogged even harder than me, and longer, to give her the privileged start in life she so carelessly dismisses. 

Will she grow out of this?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Two insights and a revelation

I have now come down with a really ghastly cold and lost my voice.  For a person who loves talking next best after reading this is hard to bear.  Especially when a best friend came to stay overnight on Friday, and we drove down to London together on Saturday.   This is the friend with whom I have been on holiday twice, in holiday cottages in Norfolk and Dorset, and on each occasion we hardly drew breath in all our waking hours.  This weekend I just had to curb my enthusiasm.

Anyway, we were talking (of course) about her negative feelings about her husband and mine about younger daughter.  It made me realise, that of course this is just me being at a low ebb.  Of course I love younger daughter to bits, and want her to enjoy her ski season immensely, and wish her the best.

This is what made me realise that the problem was within me.  I was hearing my friend criticising her hub, and seeing that, actually, the poor guy is just the same as he has been for the last ten years (namely, not very exciting, has some irritating habits, etc).  I could see that the problem really is that she herself is completely worn out, from working full-time, having three adult children still living at home and trying to keep it all together.

So then I realised that I too, was quite low from being ill, and that was why I felt negative.

Fortunately, daughter and I parted on good terms at the bus station.  I helped her with her luggage, made sure that we stopped the postman as we drove up the road (he had the Foreign Exchange cash card in that day's delivery, which of course she needed for her trip), helped her find the place to wait, suggested she wrote her name on her luggage, and helped her with her sandwiches.  And of course I told her I loved her, and gave her lots of hugs.

So that was OK.

With my friend, I told her that you never know what's round the corner, and as her husband is ten years older than she is, it would be better to forget bad things that have happened and focus on the good in whatever time there is left.

She said she thought I was right, and would try to.

My last revelation was how much my husband was clearly enjoying me not talking all the time!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

I have to have a good moan

I've realised what's been pressing down on me for the last two weeks, stopping me from getting on with anything and making me feel drained and irritated.

It's the presence in the house of younger daughter, (aged 25).  This girl is now a grown adult, and yet when in the house she persists in behaving like a stroppy teenager, complete with swearing and personal abuse.

She gave up her well paid job in accountancy at the end of October, and rented out the flat we helped her to acquire.  She brought home every possession she has, other than equipment which must be left in the flat for the tenants. We had to help her with this, naturally, and find spaces to store what won't fit in her bedroom.

She spent the first week using our washing machine non-stop, and taking up every drying space in the house.  I pointed out that she could have done all this in her own flat before she left it.

Then she went to Nepal for two and a half weeks to "trek", so there was a respite.

Now she is back home waiting to travel to France on Friday to spend five months working in a ski chalet. 

This morning, I generously allowed her to include what she said were "whites" in my pristine white wash.  The whites turned out to be mostly a filthy grey, and also to include stuff with colours of all sorts, including black, in them. 

I told her that these could not be included in my white wash, but she totally refused to accept this, and started abusing me.  In the end, I had to take my washing out of the machine, as she just would not back down. 

After she shut her bedroom door in my face when I tried to discuss the matter, I had to communicate by text.  Here's what I sent.

"I have the right to make my own decisions in my own home about my laundry arrangements.  Do not interfere and certainly you do not have the right to abuse me."

Am I over-reacting?