Words of Wisdom

If I had anything intelligent to say, I would have let you know by now.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Just Because they Say They Don't Love You Doesn't Mean You Haven't Done A Good Job

As I find so often nowadays, I must preface this post with the fact that I started it a long time ago.
Nevertheless, as I move to complete it, there are still issues that remain unresolved and roads to travel for both of us. And so I give you:
My Struggle With My Beautiful BA


(Quite A While Ago in 2014)

So the beautiful but temperamental Baby Angel (who would probably need a new name if she even remembered I had a blog, let alone bothered to read it) is not dealing well with my decision to strike out on my own.

I had not anticipated this.

In the past, The BA has sagely commented on the foibles of the male members of our family, summing the whole lot up with statements such as 'I wish we had a normal family'.
Well apparently, it seems, a crap family is better than none and guess what? It is all my fault!
Of course.

Because you see, I am still the adult. Even though the BA is 19 going on 105, she is still a neophyte human being with limited life experience.
And because I am still a teacher, while I am going through **** , you might as well learn from it.

So, here are her declarations and the obvious common responses.
I give you however, the Flaming Sword responses as an alternative.

1) "Mum", she cries, " You are messing up my life!"

Trap for Swordless parents: omg she is right. I am being so selfish. I should stay with him to provide a stable home for her to stay in for ....oh another 6 months before she moves out with her boyfriend.

Sword Response: This is a minor inconvenience for you now. You will still have a place to live, a roof over your head and food on your table. The negative elements of your life are being removed and with that comes pain. No one said life would be without pain. Nevertheless, the change will provide many positives which you still (because of your youth) cannot see. You will be ok. You will survive this my very loved child. The people who have been your stable childhood are all still there. You can adjust. You have the foundations.  You have the ability. You are resilient and you will be better off in a less stressed environment.

2) "Mum", she cries,"You are such a hypocrite, what can you tell me? You discouraged sex before marriage and yet we KNOW what you did!!"

Trap for Swordless parents: omg she is right, I was so totally a slapper.....

Sword response: That is like saying a person injured in a car accident cannot caution others against excessive speed.

3) "Mum", she cries,"venom venom venom "
Trap for Swordless parents: I am a terrible parent, I must get my child to love me again....

Sword Advice: when your child spews venom at you, respond with "I'm sorry you feel that way, however...." This strategy works as well at the age of 19 as it does at 4.

 You may have noticed that this last example was a trifle vague. That is because there were actually more nasty things that she said to me, but (the good news is), two months on, I can't remember what they were.... (deliriously happy face)

My happy lesson to you is that whatever I suggested....works!


It is now a long time since I started this post. There were about three weeks of awful, awful agony as she wrestled with the idea of giving up her 'childhood' home and her dysfunctional family. In that time she threw barbs at me which would pierce the toughest armour. Every flaw in my character, every mistake I had ever made in my life (all of which I have discussed freely over the years, believing that all learning is valuable) was brought back to assault me. I will not pretend the attacks did not hurt. Oh my goodness they hurt. They hurt because generally they were true but also because when I had revealed these 'life lessons' it was with the idea that she might 'learn' from them. I had not really anticipated catching them as a low blow to the stomach. Call me naive.

Since this post The BA has come around. I can almost pinpoint when it happened. She had stormed off to spend the weekend with her boyfriend and on her return she hugged me and said sorry. I don't know what had transpired on that weekend but she came back a changed girl. After weeks of resentment, obstruction, and aggression she returned resolved and cooperative.

So what are my lessons for you, young parents out there with younger kids and the vagaries of life before you?
My answer is: It is a process. It starts when they are tiny and you build, build, build upon it.

Every positive interaction you have with your child early on cements a relationship which will pay you back in spades later.

My relationship with the BA is far from storybook. It is normal and healthy, which involves a fair bit of argy bargy but when all is said and done, this is what she wrote on my Christmas card this year:

Dear Mum
I am sorry I decided to spend Christmas away this year, in hindsight I wish I hadn't. Just wanted you to know that I love you am always here for you no matter the distance. 2015 will be our year to start afresh and kick a***. I love you to the moon and back and appreciate everything you've done for me over the past years. I admire your strength, compassion and selflessness as an individual and your way of always making me feel loved. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Mum.

(I am not making this up!)

Friday, 5 December 2014

You Want My View Sucker? Pay Serious Money For It!!

Oh my goodness I am angry.

It has been a month of massive change and I am sitting (uncomfortably) in a low chair, typing with my elbows on my knees in this 'show home' of a building.

We stripped ourselves bare in order to attract a buyer and do you know what? I don't look my best bare nowadays. You wanna find my value? You gotta look a whole lot deeper than the cellulite thighs and the middle aged paunch.

This house has character. It may be a quirky character but it is not without purpose. There are distinctive areas in this house in which different groups of people can exist apart from each other and oh. my. goodness....that can be a precious thing.

This house has frontage on two streets. It has a shed with full power. It has a double garage to keep your car from rusting out. It has a pool which is a blessing on a 40C day and ..........

I am not selling it to you for peanuts!

In fact asshole, I may rent out rooms so that I can: nurture my garden, know my way home in the dark, spread out my sewing, stay in an area I love and continue to enjoy the beautiful sunsets rather than give my beloved home away to you for a song.

I hope I have made myself clear.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

It's Too Late Baby

My husband moved out today.

I knew it was happening. Hell, I'd spent the weekend packing boxes and hefting large items of furniture into the garage.

But all the same, he moved out today.

Coming home from work, the house is bare bones furnished with attendant dust bunnies and spider webs festooned across hitherto unseen wall spaces. The desolation of an imprint on the carpet, stark, dust clogged, indelible. Something has been taken from this place.

I have been here before. I have been here by choice and by circumstance. I have hefted and lugged before; I have planned, rationalised and adapted. I am a survivor. I am a survivor through Grace.

But that was then and this is today. All those experiences do not lessen the grief of this one. Do not lessen the feeling of isolation. Do not salve the burn of failure, the grief of loss. The visceral excision of a part of my life which, although flawed, had been stable.

I really thought this one would work.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

But If You Try Some Time....

So did I mention how much I like the Rolling Stones? Maybe not. Maybe that's a facebook thing....?

So, I really like the Rolling Stones. I like them so much I have considered getting a tattoo when I'm 80 (and I HATE tattoos).

And at this very moment in time they are IN MY TOWN. I even know where they're staying! I suspect that they will perform a small, intimate,  surprise gig somewhere in town prior to their concert on Saturday night and I am desperate to see them!

This weekend I went down to their hotel and sat in the bar for a while, but they didn't come out. I am considering a camp out on Friday (my day off)........

Truthfully though, I have a friend, who knows someone who works in the hotel, and although she has given me tasty tidbits like: the floor they are on, and calls me when they are going in or out with exhortations to 'get down here!!!'.... to be honest, the thought of being that close to them fills me with an awe approaching paralysis!! I am a pathetic creature torn in two directions.

One part of me wants to take my Goats Head Soup album (the second I ever bought, after Ziggy Stardust) or my Keith Richards authentic T Shirt certificate, down to the hotel and hope for the best. The other part thinks that I would not have the words or the spine to approach them....

But Saturday night is the big night. Of course we all know the traumatic story of their cancellation of the March shows after the death of L'Wren Scott. It was weird because people had been teasing me about one of them dropping dead before the concert etc and when a UK friend posted about L'wren's death at 6.30am my time.....I thought I was still dreaming! Still, time passes and we are here and now, waiting for The Stones.

So last weekend I went out on a Stone Hunt. After all, Adelaide is a small town. I had had a few tips as to where they may surface and, although I was flying solo, I ventured out into the night life of Adelaide in order to stalk the Stones. After all, what did I have to lose? It's not like they're going tobe here again.....

Most of the suggested venues looked pretty subdued during my drive past so I thought to park in the CBD and hang out in the hotel lobby. As I made a right turn into the street where I hoped to park, I noticed a slumped form on a bench outside the Cenotaph on the corner. By the time I had parked and walked up the street to the Cenotaph corner, the slumped form had parted company with the bench and landed squarely (and hard) on the pavement. He was lying in, roughly, the recovery position (apart from a weirdly twisted arm) and a quick check ensured that he was breathing. I tried to rouse ham and got little response so, feeling somewhat desperate, I called the Police. They were very kind and took all the details, assuring me that it was not my responsibility to sit with him until the officers came. But what could I do? He was incredibly vulnerable. I waited with him.

So it was that at 1.30am, I finally made it to the Intercontinental Hotel and strolled surreptitiously into the bar, to be surroundedby  a whole bunch of people in red, white and black clothing, and not a Rolling Stone in sight.

But my thirst for the Stones is unassuaged. I cannot wait for Saturday's concert. It is an amazing opportunity to see an iconic group of people doing what they do best. My Baby Angel was brought up to the strains of 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' and 'Straycat Blues' (a lullaby), warbled inexpertly by her obsessed mama. You cannot imagine how proud I was the day a friend reported that she had sung it to him from the back seat of his car as he had admonished his (same aged) son for asking for that 'one thing too many'. That's my gal!

And this brings to mind another issue. The BA had phoned me from the UK in November 2013 to ask me to buy her Stones tickets, back when March was the concert date. I baulked and refused to buy them on the grounds that she should not be deciding her course of action based upon the performance dates of a rock group! As a result, she stayed in her nanny position, traveled around and had a jolly good time. Just as we missed out on the Stones!

So here she is now, brought up on the icons, short of funds and pretty well 'bought out' of the ticket market by the ridiculously swift uptake of tickets in the first instance. There have been offers of tickets this time around, where people were unable to honor their commitments, but I felt unsure about buying them off the internet. It seemed inherently dodgy.  Then tonight all that changed.

Checking my twitter feed to see whether there was any suggestion of a late night show in Adelaide to night I came upon a last minute 'production run' of tickets. My mind was clouded by fog. I said to myself:
Is it likely your daughter is going to be able to see The Rolling Stones in real life ever again?
Can you let her miss out on this life event?

Of course the answer was 'non'. I booked those tickets right there in the car park of the supermarket.  They'll probably be behind a pole, but hell.......she'll be there! IT"S ONLY ROCK N ROLL!!!!!!

Friday, 17 October 2014

On A Happier Note

I recently received this from one of my ex pupils. She had been writing an essay on her Mathematical Journey for her Uni course....

"Through high school my anxieties developed into panic as my school placed an enormous emphasis on high level maths. Late in year nine a maths teacher started to understand that my abilities were limited due to the constant fear of failure and she took it upon herself to help me in any way she could. She began to tutor me every Tuesday after school for a couple of hours, working through the class work again and helping me with my homework. It was this teacher’s kindness, skill and patience that ensured my success with mathematics and I will forever be grateful to her. "

Nawwwwwwww. Well, at least I saved one starfish!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Following Day

He called his father at 7.30pm the next day and asked to be picked up from the bus station at 8.20pm. My first reaction was to suggest he found his own way home but Himself, ever dutiful and 'caring', hopped in the car and responded to the finger click. When they arrived home I waited for the fireworks.
There were none.
There were no consequences.

At 2.30am that night/morning the Small Boy was on the phone to his mother again, crying, anxious and desperate.

His world is out of control. He is controlling the adults and it does not feel safe.

His mother has taken him to a psychologist since then and apparently there have been blood tests. I hope they're testing for drugs. Nothing like ice afterglow to give you paranoia and 'bad thoughts'.

Since then, Himself and I are barely speaking. Small Boy went back to his mother's mid week last week when Himself had a country trip to do for work. When I asked when he was coming back, I got a snarled "He's not." This is apparently because we are selling the house but if truth be known, I am merely speculating at Himself's motivation in sending the boy away. Could be to save himself the trouble of confrontation, could be to keep me out of the equation.....

I texted The Small Boy a few nights ago and got a mild "I'm fine. I'll let you know if I need anything." I'm not sure there's much more I can do.

I think I'm done here. It's been nearly 9 years and the realisation that nothing is going to change crashed over me with the force of a breaker which has hung, curled over my head for so long. I don't want to watch this train wreck of a relationship anymore. I don't want to be asked for advice and then ignored. I don't want to see the hurt in that boy's eyes and the casual lies he tells to cover for his spineless parents. "I have a caring family."

You have a lazy father Small Boy. He is lazy in all his relationships and you deserve so much more.