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Friday, 26 October 2012

Grievous harrowing.

My beloved husband is in arctic retreat, he barely speaks to me and I will certainly not speak to him until he apologises, sees the error of his ways, identifies where it all went wrong, SHOWS  me that he SEES how badly he offended me, and well just says  sorry.  It was  about my driving, and it started with my use of the gear box, moving  on to my incorrect  employment of wipers, and came to a fine culmination  with his histrionic gasp when I braked a little  abruptly in traffic. On being told to Shut Up, he (as I told him later) aggressively read the newspaper in silence till the journeys  end, when words bitter and unwise were  said  about my driving,. And now, no words at all. It is  day three and I miss him grievously, feel hamstrung by  the difficulty in having a very necessary clearing of the air before my  very interested and impressionable teenagers.

Last night I holed up in my bedroom, clutching a book I have trying to read for months, my own words to my children.ringing in my ears.  I mean  "I have known a kind of hardship and suffering you have no notion of, and will NEVER have to experience"  and "I am not going to be subjected to further harrowing from my own children now" was not what I saw myself saying (roaring) at my children. Ever. .Not even after a very trying evening of door slamming, flouncing and bloodymindness from one or other of them. I wondered was it even true. It seemed to have been yanked out of me from some stray place. . Was it true,  and ought I to have said it, and was that actually me?

Well yes, yes and yes. Of course it was true. After all I had an Irish catholic childhood circa 1960s. And I do believe that most people you meet are engaged in a quite  dreadful struggle to live, more or less. Also, I'v been doing it for a long time now, you get punch drunk in time. . If you are still standing that is. Besides  lately the odd skittery jerk of my heart warns  me  ENOUGH  with the unconditional offering.. (The hearts a slave)

Whose heart then has not been rung this week by the story and the  images of the two little girls, two years and three months old, mown down by an out of control car as their father wheeled them out on a Sunday walk. All week long the woeful tale played out.  The guard crouched by the smashed  and empty buggy, bowed head  in hand,  the people standing  paralysed with pity at the scene bearing flowers, the undertaker who wrapped the baby in her sisters arms in one coffin, one,  a mystery wrapped in and enigma, why.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Boys don't cry. Swimming up Cavan.

I have made the boy cry. His sisters, who would not give him a fraction of an inch in argument, tell me so in perplexed unease, as though I have breached a female code of ethics, and I have.

After  an interesting parent teacher meeting and yet another argument about the X Box, . I resorted to letter  writing. Talking  was just  not working. He whisks out  a fine three card trick of noise, obfuscation and denial before you  reach the second  sentence. He had to be reached somehow. It is an exam year. So...I wrote him a letter and I did not pull any punches. I covered everything,  from what he was refusing to do, to where it would end, and what I  now expected him to do. No negotiation. Consequences spelt out. I expanded  on to a number of home truths he had been refusing to hear for some time. The pen, as it turns out was  mightier than the sword, and I feel a little stabbed to the heart myself, now.

My husband adapts a bracing tone and says good will come of it.  Maybe. But, he is a man and does not get the vast store of pity harboured  by women everywhere for male vulnerability,  for the raw and ragged heart beating under every manly rib cage.. A bit of excavation under the  testosterone, the singlemindedness, the fascination with facts, gadgets,  and there it beats.

At the weekend we drive up North to my husband's country. A day of sunlit grace, we keep to the back roads,  quiet and colonised by autumn trees, red orange and rust leaves drifting onto the road. An unfolding carpet of green fields flow close past the windscreen. The trees  are an   impossibly gorgeous riot  of colour. I drink it in like wine as we chat, as though it was a scarce beauty,  of numbered days. I have reached that age.

My husband, a scarce beauty himself, is king of the back roads. He will not travel on the motorway if he can help it. He says you glide like a fish down the impossibly narrow roads he makes for, a homing pidgeon, when we reach his native Cavan. I have decided to trust him, just about, with  stray  oncoming cars, gliding swiftly, incomprehensibly  past  us without collision. Safe  as houses. 

Friday, 12 October 2012


I am off to the Pub for more than one drink. I will take my husband with me...... maybe.  Today I have pleased no body. The boy is all sound and fury, as he batters away at the boundaries  I have placed round his X Box use. His sister hisses and spits at my selfish limits on  taxi service. The boss grumbles at my unaccountable refusal to to take her to some X Factor  freakshow in Dublin. And my husband, he is cross at all my failures;   I am too indulgent; I  have failed to foster proper  self sufficency in my  children;  I have failed  to halve my workload  ( so that we can gather us  rosebuds while we may:)  He tells me I will kill myself and he will have no part of it!

Sometimes its hard to be a woman (in the words of the great Dolly Parton) . It is. And Women, no clarion calls to freedom, gender equality,  me time,  makes  a shavings difference here.  You are a Woman. Expectations are huge,  responsibillity  implacable, time out is stolen. And there IS NO ONE ELSE but you to hold your people's universe  high and clear, with your mind's  good attention,  to do the stuff you do.

So. I'm with Dolly, and basically it just is.

I willl certainly take my husband with me. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

X Box Blues, A Princess bruised, the Boss in Love.

"See you later" the boy mumbles, as he climbs out of the car.  Hmm,  yes that's the first time in a few weeks he has not stomped of fiercely when we reached his school and the first morning car trip without mention of the damned X Box. Result?  Have I won the War? the Battle even? ?  I have taken the infernal box  away during the week.  "YOU can't tell ME what to do! / The X BOX is MINE!  / Its RIDICULOUS,  you are RIDICULOUS! /  Everyone in my class plays the X Box for MUCH LONGER than me! / I Don't accept  it! / And I  Will move out!"   Such like  assertions ricochet  through house and car for weeks.  "I can AND I will ! / If You could just  SEE  yourself with that bloody X Box / Everyone? I'm very sure that's not actually true! / My house My rules!/". We are a double act, the boy and I.    A fiery chorus.  I have the X Box  controls concealed  in a safe place. I  am not for turning. But oh how to make him see?

See the tense snapping  person huddled over the X Box,   the low grade  bullying  of  his sisters, fiercely resisted,  but, as the older one complained, when you have a six foot one male person  invading your body space, and issuing vaguely manacing ultimatums, you are disturbed. See my  dawning  realization  that that is where you will  find him  when  you go looking,  barely avertiing his gaze from the screen, as he tells you, against a background of gunshots, that he will finish in a MINUTE, that  he has only just gone on, .and what is your PROBLEM? I have introduced a schedule  of limited X Box  use  in return for actual and proven sports participation, dog walking, chores, homework etc.  He, as you can see, has fought me every inch of the way.  I have employed logic. I have employed  appeals to his better nature. I have given respectful  dialogue a run.  Now I am simply adamant, stubbornly  holding  the line. He does not see. He does not get it. Why would he? Flung onto the  lawless traffic as he is,  of internet games (grand theft auto,) consuming hormones, and some  truly deviant people mingled in with his own raw, teenaged kind.  I am not for turning though.  The  person I have been  snatching  from  the X Box is channelling some thing you would not want in your house.

Later on I watch a shiver  of distaste cross the aristocratic features of my daughter, my  princess among peasants, as I hand her a bus time timetable. "Because, darling,  my  taxi service  does not run on   weekends.... Much".  My husband raises an  eyebrow,  he is   not being keen on my  killing routines (he hopes to have me living for his entertainment  a few years yet).  She is a fine  and ambitious singer, actor and musician.  We have a dizzying round of practices, competitions, rehearsals,  etcetera  etcetera  to get to. She is I think the natural daughter of Amy Chua, and any tiger mother  would be proud to own her.  Or else ought to  have been the only child of  a  team of parents, eternally  poised  to bring her to all  her magnificent stuff.  I am not worthy.  Oh well,  she threads her magnificent  path regardless. And despite her  air of having tossed and turned  all night long,  a pesky pea having  pierced  her delicate hide  through  many lumpy  mattresses. "And after all darling" I remind her  from time to time, "We must play the hand fate has dealt us". Hmmm.

The boss has retreated, her silence marked, into a re- reading of the entire twilight series.  The final movie is coming shortly. She has refused to  take me, and is going with her friends. Oh well, its an improvement,  more or less,  on  her most recent obsession with One Direction, and most specifically with   beautiful  Niall Horan. As  to that, suffice it to say that she tried to persuade me to take her to Mullingar,  so that  we could sit  parked  outside his house, and  maybe catch a glimpse, Also   I suspect she  felt that if he only had a glimpse of her  he would be hers, and then,  he whisked away by the  power of her will and her passion, I might let him  live in our house forever and ever.