Monday, 26 June 2006

The parentheses

I'm at work, and J is home doing his CBT homework. And tidying the front and back bedrooms.

This can only mean one thing. My parents are arriving for a visit tomorrow.

Once a year my mum would take me to a cafe as a treat
I'm actually really looking forward to it.

My dad usually gets on my nerves to an incredible extent after about 48 hours, but I'm hoping the World Cup can serve as a mellowing factor and keep him quiet.

I love my mum. She's really the best mum in the world. We've never argued, she's never had to discipline me, and I know that no matter what I do she will love me as much and be there for me.

She's never tried to pressurise me into doing anything I didn't want to, and has sincerely tried to love every boyfriend I've brought home since the age of 19 (before that she clung on to the hope that I was still a virgin and was going to stay that way until marriage; fortunately she gave that all up a decade ago).

She's very sweet and bakes great pizza, and all she asks in return is that I buy her sweets and cigarettes in the tax free when I come home for one of my all-too-rare visits.

My kid sister, with whom I have nothing in common, but with whom I also win every single argument by virtue of being 10 years older and a lot cleverer, is also coming to visit. Another of J's tasks today is to buy her a guest bed to sleep on.

I think it'll be great.

I was never very close to my family when I was younger; they never forced me to spend time with them, and from the age of 14 I was allowed to stay home alone when they went on holiday.

This, I think, has led me to be quite independent, but also to freely appreciate how nice it is to have a nice family.

My dad has never quite realised that I grew up, and is also very uneducated. He will genuinely say stuff like "but lots of people smoke, so it has to be good for something" which I find so intensely irritating that I can never bite my tongue for more than the above 48 hrs in a row.

This leads to arguments which I always win because I'm about 10 times better read and more articulate, and then I feel guilty because I can tell he finds it quite humiliating to be put in his place by his daughter (who is after all still a child, he thinks).

I'm hoping that if I ever have children, it'll help this situation. My dad likes kids. He just doesn't know how to relate to adults.

This is, worryingly, something he has in common with J to a certain extent. J loves kids, and they love him.

Whenever I think J reminds me of my dad, I have a mini-panic.

But then I think, J is a lot more articulate and clever, and can therefore hold his own. He only lets me win arguments if he actually thinks he's wrong; I can't talk him into the ground.

And then I feel better.

I genuinely feel sorry for J that he has such a bad relationship with his mum. I can't imagine how it would feel to have one of the most important people in your childhood always looking for new weak spots to attack.

At any rate, I'll devote the rest of this week to ensuring that my family, including my father and sister that is, have a good time here in England. Even though this includes introducing them to the above-mentioned fearful J's mum.

And then I'll be going away for a week with J to recover.

Summer; it's a great thing, really.


  1. Blimey, good luck. You'll need more than a week, though, won't you?

  2. Buying a guest bed! I guess that means I'm coming for a visit sometime. ;) Good luck with your parents.


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