My paternal grandmother will be 100 this year. My mother died 13 years ago. My father, in a blend of grieving his wife and tending to his mother, has taken to giving his children pieces of family significance with every visit. At some point, he gave me a sugar bowl my grandmother purchased when she visited my parents shortly after my birth.
It’s a piece of pink English pottery. It is painted with a pastoral scene. It was once broken and glued back together, although one small piece was never found, so there is a small chip in the unlikely place of the middle of the bowl. I use the sugar bowl daily, although it doesn’t technically contain sugar. I say technically because I use a sugar substitute. Not everything my father hands off to us is quite as appreciated.
Disclaimer 1: I’m not a keyworker, so this may grate if you are.
Disclaimer 2: I love my huge crazy family.
This Easter none of the family met irl. Like many people, we took to Zoom to play games (well, actually, mostly to play Werewolves of Millers Hollow), so there was at least a chance of the cousins joining us.
The benefits of meeting this way!
The mute function. With my lot, the host’s ability to mute everyone except one person is ground-breaking.
Seeing everyone for an hour or so, instead of a weekend in one house. There is a running joke in our family that the first five minutes of any family visit are the best.
Getting to chat to the tweens/teenagers. Usually they are off with their cousins, and quite right too.
I miss the hugs, but my kids don’t!
You’re one of five girls!
That must have been quite the queue for the bathroom,
do you all get on,
who is the funny one?
A lot of bitching, I bet,
stealing make up, swapping clothes:
how did your dad cope?
Who has the most money,
are you jealous of the one who is the most successful, professionally
who is the favourite?
Not all girls spend hours in the bathroom.
Not all girls hate each other.
Not all girls are funny (but yes, we all claim to be the funny one).
Not all girls bitch about each other.
Not all girls steal make up and clothes.
Not all dads need a son to complete themselves.
Not all girls equate money with success.
Not all girls fail to be proud of their siblings’ achievements –
and we all agree on the favourite.
You know when, at last, you make it to the sofa for a bit of TV, and you wrap yourself in the blanket, and take a deep cleansing breath, and –
ew. What is that smell?
Yes, it was the living room blanket’s biannual wash night the other day, and I got to thinking. My sister bought me that blanket, just after I had moved out from home. At first I didn’t think I liked the colour.
But it was huge and comfy and I brought it – and four boxes of books – to Mr HB’s house. I have a photo of his daughter, now 21, asleep in it, aged about 8. My youngest two fight over it every weekend, watching cartoons.
I know it’s only a thing, not a person, but it’s a special blanket. Now and then it deserves a good clean.
Scotch Pie in an Open Sky.
Early morning and the sound of birdsong.
Laundry. Laundry. More laundry.
Being ‘cool.’ But only by accident,
and preferring the home knitted jumper
to that designer one.
Enjoying Radio 6 until the kids start whining about it.
And no matter which
radio station we listen to – Mum is
not allowed to sing along.
Birds flying past on the school run.
‘You should totally learn this song. It would so suit your voice.’
Leaning on friends, gathering the kids,
spending time together to the exclusion of bedtime.
Getting tagged in the same photo over and over (like, love, haha).
Birds calling through the window as we put the kids to bed.
Falling asleep on the sofa after a long day,
craving the comfort food of childhood – a pie, not a cocktail.
Feet up – I’m peaking now!