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Sunday, 4 December 2011

Working dogs, Misplaced Babies and a Visit with the Undead.

"Don't be a fool! He'll love it",  "Oh... my... god,  How would you feel if we did that to you. How?".  "a DOG'S DIFFERENT YOU FOO.....". " Enough"! I bellow (I can bellow), and I  wonder how exactly we came to this, after all its only Monday,  far too early for this conversation,  there's never actually  a good time for this  particularly unseemly conversation. Oh it all started innocently enough, with my first born's (d'eldest) decision to move to Australia with his wife and three children, earlier in the year. After the sad departure, during which  there was much wailing with  d'eldest himself offered the family room,  (the crying room,) going through security,  to collect himself and his distraught children  ( apparently they have to have this now for distraught Irish  departees, emigrating with their families.)  Its one thing to leave in the short term,  single and /or on an adventure,  and quite another to leave with little ones and no return date. After they left we settled down to skyping, but now, christmas approaches, and  our equilibrium is again disturbed. D'eldest and his wife are energetic party givers and celebrants of christmas, and all such events. Christmas was a project for them, beginning in early November with a plan of campaign, and brought to a mighty conclusion on the 25th, carrying all of us in the crest of their exuberant wave.  I really dont know know how we are going to do it without them, or who they, being newcomers still , will find  to share  in   their  christmas joy de vivre , in Australia.  So we are back to the girls campaign to visit, started as soon as the plane left the ground.His parents in law are going over in April next, tickets purchased for some time.  They being  very present and  very good grandparents.  Both girls feel I am being a little faint hearted by comparison, and have  assumed a gentle nagging but as I have (patiently) explained to them, blackboards will become more blurred, (optician), dental cavites unfilled, school trips foregone, and the soles of shoes glued togeather, if we have our Australian trip now  ( after which we would have to  stay home, forswear all junk food, and racketing about, wear extra sweaters in the cold  sparingly heated house and read  library books for entertainment)  (does'nt really sound so bad in fact, depending on your point of view). Anyway, and  bringing  us back  to where we started, the boy mentioned that his  friend has small pedigree dogs, and he has squirrelled away a thousand euros earned in breeding them. I  absently reminded him that the  hound has an impressive  pedegree.  "Oh my god. thats it" the innocent elder daughter squealed." But what would it involve?". The boy told her what it would involve, in succinct and brutal fashion. "What! N0!, He's our dog. He's one of the family. like a brother, we can't take money for that.."  And so on and so forth.  "Well anyway, I have a far better idea" the boss's tone is earnest, ", its not just d'ldest's parents in law who want to see them, we all want to see them, like granny too, and all the cousins and aunts and uncles, like there must surely be like forty people or so, and like why can't we HAVE THEM OVER HERE?. and buy the flights between us, that wouldn't cost   too much. and .. and we could do it every year, and then WE would'nt have to have  jet lag, or..or  take time off work for mum, and they'd get to see everyone, and you could like text all the family this evening mum, and arrange it before christmas, WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM (the boy snorting derisively). its better than you're stupid dog idea". "ENOUGH!" I say roundly " we will neither import d'ldest and his family for Christmas, or put the hound out to work. Not that these are not fabulous ideas, but we will visit in the summer like every one else, and explore all  other suggestions  in due course. . Over time. ..And we'll see" (The great "We'll see", invaluable strategic procrastination  in parenting).

When d'ldest was newborn, I was obliged to leave him behind me when I left the hospital for a week or so, before bringing  him home. The shift from such   intense focus on this  beaming infant, the sense of mental rupture from  my obsessive preoccupation with feeding, bathing and just staring at this helpless indomitable creature, left me adrift in a fog of disorientated depression.  I visited every day of course, and was permitted by the attendant nuns to hold him briefly as they stood, blank  faced,  by. The infant handed to me  so reluctantly, wrapped in a  stiff and unfamilar  yellow blanket, began to seem more like their baby than mine  to me as the week went on, till I reclaimed him,  got him home. In our subsequent life, crowded with it incident as it was, I never revisited that week,  until driving down the motor way after the plane had departed for Australia, in another grey fog, pervasive  and entirely interior.  But equilibrium has been restored,  and I passionately believe that your children should go beyond you, so to speak,  physically,  geographically , emotionally and in any other way there is. I am pleased they have expanded their horizons in such a magnificent way, and we will be regular visitors.

The boss has agreed to go with me to see the latest Twilight movie. Well, I have been corrupted into a sneaking fondness for these movies.  I was obliged to take the girls (and a less than thrilled boy) to the first two, and somehow or other I was drawn in. And besides I have always been intrigued by vampire stories.  When younger I came across and devoured ( in vampire manner) Anne Rices's very entertaining books. I suppose its all that brooding  vampirish angst, all that dark regret and loss coupled with the irristable power of the undead. The allure of the vampire reminds me of the notion of wakem, in native american culture, or that which mysteriously is, a dark flowing energy, neither good or bad, uncontrollable  but necessary, vital,  in balance with washte (the ordinary.). Sexuality , poisons, dangerous creatures, pain, creative energy, darkness are wakem, and appeal  in particular to teenagers, and whatever inner wild child the rest of us channel. So, I asked if we were going to this one, with feigned reluctance.   I was  surplus to requirements  however, as both girls went with friends ( small gangs of blase looking tweens and teens, collectively gasping in the cinema  when the boys on the screen took of (no, flung off) their shirts.  Which  happened a lot, believe me.) Anyway, the first daughter says she can't face  this one again for a while   but the boss has agreed to take me. So,  if you see a solid, solemn faced twelve year old girl  leading a sheepish, popcorn clutching woman by the hand, in to see  New  Moon, that would probably  be us.