Recently I tweeted this:
‘Love and accept that a non-binary child will be just as annoying as a binary one.’
My non-binary 10 year old was unimpressed. ‘Rude!’ They said, with that American head waggle.
So I tried to explain.
‘Love and Accept’
Of course, this comes first. It’s the most important part.
‘That a non-binary child’
There are people who think non-binary doesn’t relate to real people, and especially not children. I am keen to be unfollowed by these people on Twitter.
‘Will be just as annoying as a binary one.’
- I didn’t create this in my kid. It’s their identity, not my choice.
- I’m not the sort of parent who worships her kids – they’re annoying. All kids are lovely. And annoying.
- Being non-binary does not create a saint child of grace and dignity. I know … I was disappointed too!
Where I live now, there’s a mantelpiece clock that chimes on the quarter hour. It can intimidate or comfort, because time is like that. Bong. Another fifteen-minute section gone.
I haven’t owned a watch since 2008, when I retired (on health grounds – I wasn’t that old, then). I had always removed it the moment I got home, because it irritated my wrist to be marking time on my own time.
I don’t remember that last watch, or my first for that matter. But I do remember my first clock. Rigid yellow plastic with red pull-out tabs. An educational toy, or instrument of torture, dreaded daily.
Often since then I’ve failed wilfully to replace batteries and taken the consequences, surprisingly few. Get thee behind me, time.
And you see, it has, and it will. Ever faster, because time is like that.
So, I’m 40. In my head, I’ve felt in my 40s for a while, but this weekend it became official.
I’ve been away this weekend with 24 members of my immediate family (nope, no joke!) at my sister’s house. This sister actually. All five sister-cousins will be there – this doesn’t happen nearly often enough in my opinion – various brothers in and outlaw. Also children and niblings aged 8-21. It will have been carnage but I can confirm that looking forward to it was fun!
I’m happy. I’m lucky.
I’m not going to lie to you though, I wish I was more successful in my writing. But writing is a marathon, not a sprint. I missed out on a lot because of my mental health: maybe I will always be running to catch up.
But I’ve caught up to 40. And that’s enough, for now.
One of the best things about children is when they love the things you love. This does not happen as much as I had hoped!
But me and my oldest agree on one thing at least: musical theatre. Mr HB is delighted. Of course he isn’t, he HATES musical theatre.
I’m taken back to days on the bus from Cupar to St Andrews, nights huddled around the stereo at Scottish Youth Theatre, or forcing my long-suffering sister to play me songs from the shows. I used to almost have a photographic memory: I could learn lyrics after two hearings.
Now, I’m a bit slower to learn – so I join in with the lines of Hamilton, or Wicked, that I know, and my oldest reels off reams of them, all by heart. A real chip off the old block. Poor kid!
So, France is for the future, but for now, roots must be planted in Cornwall, which is almost as different.
Let me count the ways…
- They have their own language, used on street signs and buses only.
- Possessors of Scottish accents are exotic. And no, I don’t know Andy Murray.
- It‘s inappropriate to be offended by otherwise patronising endearments. Everybody is everybody else’s ‘andsome, sweetheart and lover.
- To someone who could drive through six county boundaries in an hour back home, it seems vast, and self-contained. Many natives see no reason to leave.
- The beaches are magnificent and, at the right time of year, secluded.
- Sunsets can be breathtaking.
- The delightfully alliterative obsessions are pasties and Poldark. Both must be indulged in.
Disclaimer: Given that residency is granted only after seven generations, these first impressions may not be accurate.
‘I take zero damage from zombies, dungeon slime and cochineal beetles.’
How lovely! I thought. Wouldn’t it be great if you took zero damage from life?
If we could go through life without hurt feelings or hurt bodies, no diseases or chronic conditions? Never having a heart broken. Not getting that cold that starts as a streaming nose, turns into a throat full of blades and then a chest like a tight sleeve straining to let air through. Never caring about what other people think of you. No coughs that just won’t go away. No aching limbs, no migraines, no scary diagnoses, no chronic pain, no broken bones. No death, no grieving.
Do we have to feel pain to experience love?
So, if anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be in Terraria. (It’s a computer game.) I take zero damage there.
The Delights of Domesticity
There ARE actually one or two things that I appreciate about working from home. They include:
- Following the sunlight around from room to room as the sun arcs in the sky.
- Lavender dead-heading. It’s aromatic, repetitive and curiously calming.
- Pumelling the pillows when I’m angry. Plus the duvets too, for good measure!
- Drying the washing outside in the wind. It smells so much fresher than airing it on the radiators…
- Inviting friends around for dinner. The simpler the cuisine the better – so that I can keep my focus on the sizzling conversations we have.
- When Beloved cleans up uninvited. (Hmm. What’s his angle?)
- Having my own chair, which is MINE.
- Creating Penny’s Ironing Rules. Minimal ironing. Period.
- Nurturing next door’s cat. He’s Nero to me…
- Tracking the bats that flit about in the streets at moonrise.