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Friday, 13 July 2012

Principles, Pubes, a Nail and a Hammer

"Oh, well it's against my principles to drive a car, "  Miss  Oh So Young and Principled smiled serenely  (self rightously). "Huh? ....um "., I manage, reaching after an approach that won't involve incredulity, baffled fury and/ or heavy duty sarcasm. I have broached the subject of driving lessons for her, thinking to lighten my chauffeuring load. " I will NOT be leaving a huge carbon footprint like .....like..some (me?), well anyway the air is polluted badly enough  with car emissions and you cannot make me act against my own beliefs". "Umm, right...so....how do you propose to gettaround the planet, darling"? "Well with YOU, of course, YOU are always running in and out of town anyway". "Oh,.....and.....and what about MY carbon footprint, or   lets just say  if I  get tired of the running in and out?". "Well, then I'll just stay at home.  You wouldn't like that,. would you,? And YOU  have to take responsibility for YOUR OWN  footprint (severely), and besides, you have to go in and out with the others anyway, and also I would just get landed with driving the others  around, IF  I let you talk me out of my principles."  I took a deep and meaningful breath  "And ...and... have you considered the bus darling? (mentally decided to nail  a   bus time table on  to the kitchen wall, pronto).... " The bus?  Why would I take the bus?    You are my mother..... And its your job to ...um ....bring me places. And....also.... I do not WANT to take the bus".

Later I asked my new husband to get me some blue tack, or, I announce fearsomely, a nail and a hammer,  brandishing a local bus timetable. He is  unimpressed, and  snorts derisively.   He maintains that he was   up and running since the age of sixteen, without parental let, hindrance or mollycoddling. He   is   still a little bemused at the kind of hands on parenting considered necessary these days (if you dont want your children to  cite you as chief villian on the psychiatrist's couch, or, heaven forfend, the  dock, at some unspecified day in the future) (of course chances are you will have passed on, or succumbed to dementia of some kind,  when  that day  comes,and thus be  oblivious). Not having had  the parenting of the fearsome  three since infancy,  he doesn't get or entirely approve of the extended  childhood, the elongated adolescence of  tiger and post tiger cubs.  He tends towards a shock and awe approach as in Let 'em walk. Eat cake,  Work for it, Earn it, Do without it, approach. He is held back only by his heart of mush, his failure to see the fingers round which he is being slowly wrapped, and soon he will be quite as bemused as me. Hah..

Survivors, he and I , of the rigours of life in a large 1960s  Irish family, where much was expected, and little available in terms of support and attention ( your mother has ten or eleven others to get around to). There was  an unbreakable survivors bond between siblings in those families, and  I suspect our hyper   parenting is an answer to a question never asked of  our own  harrassed and  over burdened mothers.  In the light of middle age, I see that  fumbling stumble into  adult life,  into  sex, relationships, the work you were suited for; for what it was; a  rush towards an independent life, a poignant wish to have a life, or for your life to start.  And was the struggle character forming?  I am not sure, but I know that  sometimes the treatment kills the patient.   The truth lies somewhere in the middle then, a slow considered tapering off of support. Nurturing and letting go is a   fine balance,   and like any other fine balance, you get it wrong at your peril.  Its how you wind up driving your middle aged children to parties and/or posting bail.

"Nope, zuk is not a word" my husband tells my exuberant scrabble playing rabble. He is now the FINAL ARBITER and Boss   of scrabble. "Pubes? ah yes, that is a word, but its ah, not ah, appropriate" he tells the smirking principled one. "Its Forbidden! it's a No No" I hiss from the wings where I have been retired, but no one hears  to you  there..