Donkey

Who says you can’t domesticate an old donkey? This afternoon I’ve prepared two dishes to last the family the week. I can’t promise they will taste nice, but at least they will be fed.

Grannies

I’m not really into great eulogies, describing the Queen as the only constant in the lives of our generation through turbulent times. That’s the role of grannies generally. Perhaps, in that respect, she was the nation’s grannie. Yes, but a very privileged grannie, whose moderately small family received hundreds of millions of pounds of state benefits — sorry, grants — annually for seventy years.

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Tiny

Our poor kids… the first thing they say on their return home: “It’s tiny!”

“What’s happened to the stairs?” exclaims our daughter, “They’ve shrunk!”

Our lad charges up them to his room. “What on earth have you done?” he cries, rediscovering his box room, even smaller than he remembers it.

“I built you a nice big house in Turkey,” I laugh. “Maybe now you’ll be grateful.”

“I want to go back!” he sobs.

Timetables

It’s funny… I always thought we were running late starting a family… but it turns out many of us are on the same timetable… and some contemporaries I’d imagined would be grandparents by now have never even married… while others still are starting all over again, raising little ones anew. Everything in its time.

Boys and girls

All the theory of teaching boys to be respectful of girls and girls to behave with kindness are tested daily. There are no easy fixes. It’s just a message we must reinforce daily, sometimes hourly. Our lad must be reminded constantly to respect boundaries. First, those of his sister, and then of all girls. And his sister: she has to be reminded constantly to respond appropriately and proportionally. All we can hope is that eventually, with repetition and reinforcement, they will just get it.

Raised voices

“Dad,” our lad barks at me, “I never taught you to shout!”

Here I smile. “Well, actually you did,” I tell him.

“That’s true,” agrees my beloved, “he never used to raise his voice at anyone until we had two teenagers in the house!”

Our generation

I am reminded that I am now nearly the age my parents were when I was our daughter’s age. Reflecting on my own shortcomings in relation to our children, it occurs to me that I should be more forgiving of moments back then, thirty years ago. My two older brothers were away at university, at the two extremes of the country; one on the far south west coast of England, the other on the far north east coast of Scotland.

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Triggered

I feel terrible. My son was messing about just now, having a little fun, just playing. But one thing he did was a trigger, stirring a memory inside me, and I blew my top. Poor lad: he’s more sensitive than I am and got really upset. Naturally, I feel awful now. No not just awful, but completely daft. I blew up at him over something that happened years ago. What a fool. No, a total tool. Talk about unresolved. What a jerk (I am).

A good woman

It is such a blessing to have a good woman at your side. I don’t know what I’d do without mine. She counsels me when I’m feeling down, offering different perspectives and fresh insights. She is my companion on the path, forever calling me back to the One. Hers is contentment, reminding me of the unending stream of blessings bestowed on us from above. Hers the cloak of righteousness, calling me back to what is greater than us. Yes, that woman who twenty-one years ago chose to be my wife, to walk with me, through thick and thin, upon this path back towards our source. God bless the woman.