Yesterday afternoon we bundled all four boys into the Berry Bus and went for an outing to Ikea. This was due to a somewhat impulsive decision of mine that the state of chaos in the little boys’ room was no longer tolerable and we had to bring my solution to fruition. Why yes, it does involve an expedit shelving unit, what of it?
Let’s just take a moment there shall we. Afternoon traffic, check. All four children, check. Ikea. CHECK. Chef’s been feeling pretty blue of late so you can imagine what a salve this was for his soul.
On arrival everyone was issued with a pencil. Compulsory. And then, as they say, it was on. Felix instigated a game where he would call the name/colour of a lounge and then the first brother to the seat won. He’d keep a tally on one of the pieces of paper you’re meant to write the aisle and shelf of your desired product. You know the one, where you work it all out, write it all down, get to the warehouse bit to discover an empty shelf. Of course he didn’t just keep a tab on victories, there were categories for LOSER and CHEATER. Good times.
Oscar was dawdling as is his want so this was really none of his concern. That left Jasper and Grover, two peas in a pod when it comes to character allocations of competitiveness and the need to win. Grover, who’d actually fallen asleep in the car (unheard of) was too tired and emotional for such shenanigans and it only took ONE round of this game for him to be in tears and on a hate vendetta against Felix.
Let me just reiterate that this all transpired in the lounge section where you’re so barely over the threshold you can still breath air from the outside world.
The crying and sibling hating carried on for most of the progress through the Ikea Interminable Maze of Organised Hell. In fact, the only thing that really caused its cessation was the world of jumbo trolleys in the warehouse. Of course then, engaged in activity that could possibly end in pain or being maimed, they were as thick as thieves.
We managed to avoid the cafeteria – I don’t care what you say, those meatballs are nasty – and ended the whole experience with dumplings, which we all know make everything better.
The entirety of Chef’s clan headed off to a family friend’s farm for the long weekend. It was noted that a family of five is now a family of 17 AND stable at that, unless M & J decide to adopt a baby from a developing nation and round out our very own Modern Family.
I love this family. This white bread, straight-up, suburban family. It’s risen to life’s curve balls more than once and done so with grace, good humour and tears.
I am so so blessed to have become a part of this clan.
The conflict and emotion of the last two weeks have left me altered.
Shaky, questioning, hurt, angered and teary. The other physical manifestations of this – the permanent pit in the stomach, the feeling I could puke at any moment, the poor sleep, the night sweats – will, I know, pass as more time comes between the events.
The irony of all this is that I am feeling that way not from what transpired between me and mum – we have worked and are working on that. As we always have. As we always will.
The reality for me, Chef and the boys is about to change radically and we are excited – with a decent serve of fear and trepidation – thrown in for good measure.
But it is the action going on the periphery that has shaken me. Of course I should not be talking about this here because it is a family matter and this is making it public. But then this is where I’ve always (at least for the last 8 years or so) talked about how I feel so who the fuck knows.
There’s two prongs to this and yes, by expressing my hurt, frustration and concern about someone I love and how to communicate with them I totally ‘put it out there’. But in the past when I’ve done that I have had positivity in advice and reassurance and suggestion. So I’m guessing that those who thought what a cow/idiot/stubborn/incapable of self reflection/mean/selfish/ungrateful person just kept it to themselves.
So the first blow to my foundations was that people I thought knew me read a post and immediately saw the bad in me. The second was the realisation that being related to someone doesn’t mean you know each other at all. Or perhaps that our opinions are set at such a time that is where they stay. So irrespective of life and how all of its trevails alter you, in their mind you are still the way you were when they opinion of you was set.
A friend said to me this week that relationships have seasons – that we all expect it to always be Spring and Summer but we must also go through Winter and Autumn times for relationships to have true depth and meaning.
So much has happened, so much is going to change but as I type it is all the same. And that’s OK.
I learned – in a very hard way – that some of my relatives read this blog. It appears that when they read this post they didn’t see a daughter deeply concerned for a parent, they saw someone saying dreadful things about someone else.
Those of you who know me know that could not be further from the truth. Your comments confirm this – offering advice and insights from your own experience or just empathy for when you are in a stressful situation with one you love.
It appears those relatives then decided, instead of calling me and asking what was going on and if there was anything they could do, advice they could offer, shoulder to lean on or ear to hear with, rang their own mother asking how and why I would say such dreadful things about my mine.
I want to say thank you to all of you who have commented, sent private tweets, emailed me, sent me texts and (gasp) spoken to me over the last stressful week to ensure I was OK, to see where things were at, to offer an ear or advice and to just show me that you care.
Your concern, understanding, love and empathy has been invaluable.