Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Rule of "What If" in Parenting...

I have noted of late that there seems to be a certain rule that parents are expected to follow now. It is the rule of "what if..."

Instead of common sense and the ability to understand your own child's limitations we are expected, and most comply, with this rule.

It dictates that no matter how you may see a situation you must be over-cautious and say "what if?"

When I was 12 I began babysitting for neighbourhood families. But...what if something had happened while I was alone? What if something had happened to the children? What if there had been a fire? A bear attack in deepest, darkest Scotland? An airplane crashing on the house? Actually six years on that did happen - who would have thought it? Why the "what if" people.

I earned my pocket-money and really enjoyed the experience and responsibility. But now, you can be severely punished for leaving a child under 16 in charge of a tot. Makes one wonder if the 13 year olds having babies then are not allowed to care for their own children? Out comes the cotton wool because in the land of "what if" children must be molly-coddled until the age where they are old enough to marry and fight for the country. We will throw them out into this world having never experienced time alone in the family house, life as a latch-key kid and the little thrill having your own key and entering an empty house gives a teenager.

Perhaps I am mistaken, I doubt it though. This can only lead to adults unable to care for themselves, unaware of their own aptitude for daily tasks as they hadn't learned from mistakes made earlier.

I was left alone a few times when I was young. The first time was around the age my Hobbits are at now - 9. Was it an act of cruelty by my parents? (My father was walking up to the hospital where my mother worked and I was busy drawing as usual and didn't want to go. I was left in the house, in a quiet village while he walked the mile or so - must have been about 30-40 minutes I was alone. I didn't think anything of it.)

I had friends and family members who would be left alone in the house while their parents went out of a Friday evening to the local worker's clubs. Was that cruelty, neglect?

It is something I believe strongly about as I dislike being told how to raise my own children. They aren't left alone but there will come a time where that is necessary and I do think they are more than aware of the dangerous that may or may not happen. They go out to play in the area, should I shackle them to the back step so they go no further? I don't hover over them at every opportunity yet I am perfectly attuned to where they are and who they are with and most of all I trust them. Children need a certain amount of freedom in order to grow.

If we lived our lives constantly on "what if" the stress would kill us. We wouldn't leave our beds in the morning, in fact we wouldn't go into our beds just in case, you know, all the things that can happen to you when you are asleep.

It can be a wicked world we raise our children in but even Red Riding Hood's mother allowed her to traverse the forest full of wolves...oh wait, maybe that isn't such a good example. Or maybe it is.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The greatest achievements are the ones you have fought for

I was going to add photographic proof until I realised my name was printed in very big letters and I do not have photo-shop on this computer to erase that evidence. Plus if I did who is to say that the certificate was mine?

Anywouldyougetothepointway, today I had a boost to lift my illness-weary spirits, worn down indeed by a week of sniffing and coughing in the most miserable fashion.

My certificate arrived. And on this certificate it states that on the 31st December 2010 I was conferred "The Degree of - Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities with Creative Writing and History"

and here is the important, boast about part...

"Upper Second-class Honours"

See that. DO YOU SEE THAT? I have finally done something of which I can be utterly proud of. Of course I am proud of my boys but their achievements are gained through their own efforts with only help from me. This is mine, all mine, I did it, all those years, all that crap I had to deal with...and if I can be churlish for a moment, this is also a big up-yours to everyone who wished me bad luck.

My whole life has been about pleasing other people, about not wishing to cause offence or hurt others. I never noticed that no one was concerned with my well-being until some opportunities had passed me by, but that will make me a better mother as I understand the importance of my position in ensuring my boys are encouraged to believe it is possible. This has proved to me, it is possible.

(And if I win the money from work then I'll venture further into the arts - perhaps start painting or I could tell them I'd use it to write the book I want to...?)

As I won't show the degree certificate I'll just post a photograph depicting how I feel inside...(this is our boy, all grown up, happy dog indeed!)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cabbage Roses

My Aunt owned a little flat in a one street town on a medium sized Scottish island. This was a home handed down by her husband's mother and as a result family enjoyed the use of such an easy to reach weekend holiday place.

The windows looked out onto the sea at one side and a dark forest on the other and the close smelled of shellfish and sand. The lady who lived upstairs was

We visited rarely, although other family members took full advantage my own preferred the island next door and honestly I did too. Bike rides and sandy beaches.

I remember, as a young child, no more than five or six, tracing the patterns of the blue cabbage roses on the wallpaper. Fingertips sliding over the shiny surface in the morning light.

Of Late It Has Been Pouring Down

If life is meant to test a person then I have truly been tested above and beyond what most would be able to cope with.

That sounds perhaps egotistic. To think I could deal with things that would fell others. I am not egotistic, in fact I am more probably the polar opposite. Instead I look back on events of the past three and a half years for evidence. I look back and wonder how long this path goes on for and at what point this will ease enough for me to be able to feel safe and secure.

I look at all the mistakes I made, all the problems people have given me on the understanding that I do this alone. The biggest mistake has been letting mother stay with us. She reverted so quickly back to the bitter, childish woman that plagued my childhood that it caught me completely by surprise.

Yet here we are, this life I have created we have to live with. This is a challenge my sons should not have to live with however I have no choice. Here is the point, I have no choice. If I could then I would ship her off to the old people's home she continually insinuates would be better than life with me. Having a maid obviously isn't enough.

Ever since Dad died I have single-handed all of the arrangement. The funeral, the selling of one house, the buying of another, all of life's little incidents that happen in between and on top of that I've raised my sons and worked my little job. Meanwhile not only did I lose a father but I really lost her at that point as well.

Now my position would easily be construed as cruel. Not knowing the history, not knowing her, they would look on this as the evil daughter not caring for her mother. In a way they would be true. I no longer care. She has done enough in the past, nearly two years, to ensure that if I had never to see her again I would not cry with the loss. There is only so much a person can take and seeing how she could suddenly change from the fa├žade she put up to all the old neighbours and friends where we used to live. See now she doesn't know people so there is no need to pretend. She can go back to how she really was.

Once she explained that her ice-cold method of mothering was down to suffering an extra long menopause. This menopause must have returned.

The truth I can see now, after all of the crap I've walked through, doesn't hurt. I have hardened somewhat. I am not the emotionally charged firebrand. The truth is that I was an inconvenience. Had I not existed her life would have been so much better but I got in the way. I was a daddy's girl and she managed to put a wedge in that. I can see what my dad went through and wonder how long he would have lived had he not had her in his life.

My Granny was right. She did not deserve such a gentle soul as a husband. She has too much of her family in her as it is almost a carbon copy of Gran, this person she is now. I listened to years of moaning about how she had to do this for Gran and had to do that and what a nightmare she was. I listened and now I'm seeing that for all that talk she is content to be just like her.

I wish for an easier life, in this little house of ours, I want to have peace.