Bitch on the Blog

March 24, 2017

Hop Scotch

What of the theory that certain character traits and talents do tend to skip a generation? Do you think it bollocks or can you cement the above with examples of your own life’s experience?

U

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February 12, 2017

Hell, water and drowning

Just when you think yourself as snug as a bug in a hug with, more or less, all questions of ethics and their answers under the belt one sneaks up on you.

Holy cannoli – the noose tightens.

This, drawn to my attention a few minutes ago, is so awful I am in knots.

For sake of argument you have to assume you have more than one child. You find yourself at the mercy of the elements and you can only save ONE of your children. Which one would you save? This is so awful I can barely get my head round it. Naturally, as one does, I cast my eye back to my family of origin. Who would either of my parents of four have saved? I dare say, being quite a bit older than my siblings and therefore stronger, both my mother and my father would have left me to fend for myself. But that still leaves them with three to choose from. I’d rather not pursue this line of thought. It’s unsettling beyond belief. At least that’s tonight’s nightmare guaranteed. Not that members of my family normally play much of a role in my dreams.

Any crutches of your own thoughts on this truly horrendous scenario welcome.

U

December 5, 2016

Strife

Filed under: Family — bitchontheblog @ 12:11
Tags: , , , , ,

Just because November has gone and I am still alive doesn’t mean the worst is over. It isn’t.

To take my mind off things I phoned my youngest sister yesterday. As I do every Sunday. You may remember that my youngest sister, think Mona Lisa, is the militant in the family. She digs in her heels at the slightest provocation. So, for years, she has broken off all contact to my father. My mother appears to be a write off too. All in the name of my youngest sister being indignant. I try and steer the boat but do not flatter myself that I can avoid her Titanic sinking before my mother snuffs it. It’s awful. Awful, awful, awful. Yes, so it’s awful, and Dog Almighty, me, the older sister, can do shit all to make it better. Rarely have I felt less helpless.

On a lighter note (please do note pun: “Lighter” as in match) my sister reported that three of her four children do smoke. And she found them out. The last bit the bad bit. If you are being found out by my sister your marching orders will be given before you know where your feet, never mind your boots, are.

I tried to convey that whilst good mothers make sure that their children’s grazed knees, bruised egos and whatever, you can make better”,bla bla bla bla, as long as they are little and run to you, there comes a time in life when you have to abdicate (with a heavy heart) and leave those well honed bodies, souls and health to be wrecked at your kids’ leisure – or not. Oddly, my/our mother knew this – instinctively. I moved out from home – one minute to the next, literally – and my mother gave me her blessing. My father went ballistic. He always does. Sometimes I think, don’t tell her, that my youngest sister and my father are so alike they should be locked in a padded room and sort it out between the two of them.

I am sure it’s marvellous to have siblings. Only surpassed by being an only.

U

September 25, 2016

What a pity

Filed under: Family — bitchontheblog @ 14:19
Tags: , , ,

Loosely linking in with my last post, the enchantment of being the eldest sibling.

What “only” children and eldest have in common that they came first. It’s indisputable. And in the latter case you will be resented – by those who come later.

Do I understand? Not really. But that’s because I AM the eldest (by a long margin) and have never had to walk in anyone’s steps.

My brother (number three in the line up) isn’t difficult. He is affable. My two sisters? Well, since they are my sisters I shan’t say what I really think. Except that when I have my mother (age 83) on the phone weeping over her youngest daughter’s negligence I feel like going ballistic. Obviously, that won’t help. So I don’t. But what do I do? What can be done?

My first instinct, but I am too far removed (geographically), to bang my fist on the table and ask questions. My sisters aren’t ticking alright. Both of them in their own way. Though one of them (the much adored by me till she sold me for a shilling) my parents always excuse. I understand my parents. I don’t condone it. But I understand. In all our lives there are people who get away with something close to murder.

Back to my youngest sister. She herself is the mother of four children – yet finds it in her heart to make that of her own mother a misery. How this will pan out once we gather around a grave I do not know.

I can see it now. They’ll be looking to me.

U

 

 

 

 

 

August 15, 2016

Divisions

Filed under: Children,Communication,Family — bitchontheblog @ 17:10
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It’s been long in the making. Now it has dawned on me.

Parents of more than one child please do take note: Just because one or two of your children give you grief, demand your constant attention, doesn’t mean that the rest of your brood is immune to life’s vicissitudes.

U

May 23, 2016

Not necessarily

Filed under: Family,Happiness,Observations,Psychology — bitchontheblog @ 15:08
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On the whole generalizations stink. However, yesterday I made a my earth shattering discovery. Stand by to be astounded: Generalizations  (a bit like cliches) do serve a purpose. Don’t raise an eyebrow. They do they do they do [serve a purpose]. Namely that they simplify things.

Why this hadn’t occurred to me earlier I don’t know. I suppose some of the best is left to last.

Yes, sigh, so there I was watching an astonishing family drama unfolding. On screen. I have always known about family dynamics but this was a bit like rinsing my contact lenses/glasses to see more clearly. I haven’t got the faintest idea what the hell is going on.

There are six characters. A mother and a father, and four siblings – three brothers, one sister. Which, I suppose, is worse (for the boys) than being one brother (like my own) among three sisters. The bit that kept and keeps confusing me is that I continually mistake the second son for the eldest. Why? Because – remember we are talking about generalizing/stereotypes – in this epic the eldest is the bad boy, the black sheep. Whilst number two is the good guy, the responsible one, you get the drift. It’s the wrong way round. Naturally, the youngest is a total emotional pain in the proverbial – but that’s what you expect of the youngest. No surprises there.

So, yes, my world is now slightly topsy turvy, having to pinch myself to remind myself who is who in the sequence of siblings. I don’t know what your assorted experiences are, either within your family of origin or the family you have created yourself. Please do let me know if you can stomach it.

In terms of how far psychology can throw its stone and cast its shadow I am BOTH, hallelujah, an only (because I am quite a bit older than my siblings) AND an eldest (with all that entails – remember, the subject is generalization/stereotypes) so I have, literally, had the best of both worlds. I don’t say this lightly not least because it reflects on me if after my own experience of family and observing those of others there are only two things to be: The one and only, or the eldest. I am so grateful I dare hardly to whisper it.

Slaughter me. Little more damage can be done than the havoc my siblings have (in recent years) created. I am the eldest – my mother’s words to that effect ring in my ear and to this day she expects me to be the peace maker – and, by nature, I am [the peace maker], but you can only make as much peace as the other players allow. My youngest sister, again playing to stereotype, recently confided in me that she always felt she was looked upon as totally incompetent. Really? Well, I never. Can’t believe it. We used to call her the “Professor” when she was barely big enough to sit on a swing. She had that deep thoughtful look. Not, of course, that a frown makes for intelligence.

My other sister? The long awaited and so eagerly greeted by me first sibling? She fits the stereotype of the second child so perfectly it’s painful. It took decades for her to reveal how much she resents me. Mind you, that’s nothing compared to the fact that she (earth mother) left her family, a husband who loves her and a bewildered herd of children (she wanted) in their teens a couple of years ago. But (I suppose) that’s what seconds do. Self destruct. So, yes, back to my watching of aforementioned TV drama, I am confused. That set of siblings does not play by the “natural” order of things.

In case you are wondering about my brother (number three). He keeps well out of everything. To the extent that he appears (note APPEARS) – but isn’t – totally aloof to conflict. His wife of over twenty years, one of the many women who adore him, asked me the other day about my take on her husband’s inner workings. Well, what can I say? Obviously by the time he hit his teenage years I’d already left home so I wasn’t privy to all that happened. All I know that he is one of those affable people who avoid conflict at all cost and, in my opinion  grow an inner crust. Let’s just hope he won’t implode.

So, my dear readers, having laid a significant part of my life open please do let me know where you are in the order of siblings or if, like my brother, you’d rather not be too close up and personal tell me what you think about my theory on generalizations. Namely that they simplify.

U

 

September 25, 2011

Drawing a line

One of the blogs I frequent (sorry, can’t link since momentarily forgotten which one it was) recently mentioned crystal balls and the future.

Don’t. Go there. I did more than twenty years ago. I was waiting, at some boat show cum fairground, for Fiona, a colleague. She phoned and told me to see a woman in a tent to while away the time till her arrival. Why did I listen to her? Five pounds later (1989 prices, UK) my life changed. Not that I realised it at the time. Everything went well. Time passed pleasantly, till my fortune teller set eyes on a particular line in my right hand. That was it: She dropped my hand, looked at me aghast, wished me a happy life and asked me to leave NOW. Since people often look at me either aghast or bemused I didn’t give it much thought. Till years later: When one of my many assignments’ briefs was to look into palmistry. I do not know who to curse more: The editor who assigned me. The palm reader. Or myself.

I, naturally, bloody studied the subject from the wrist up. By way of comforting you now: Don’t believe everything you find on the map: By rights I should have had as many children as I had (in truth) miscarriages. Which suits me fine – since both I and my son are “only” children by nature. Which makes us both more compassionate to other humans than a lot of those who had to fight not only for daily survival in the midst of siblings, but their fair share of affection from their parents.

Yes, so that was brilliant and has confirmed my view that, in order to ensure your anxiety has something to feed on, you may as well go and see a palmist. Tarrot readers (and, yes, you guessed it, Fiona sent me to one of those as well) are harmless by comparison. Though how the old woman knew that the most beloved woman of my life (my maternal grandmother) had died when I was eight beats me. How is that possible? And no, I did not give out any clues. And no Fiona didn’t brief the clairvoyant beforehand because she knew nothing about me other than that I like Sauvignon Blanc, a grape which will go with everything, even Thai or Chinese.

U

March 16, 2011

The one and only

Filed under: Family — bitchontheblog @ 10:24
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Just had a thought. Which is a pity. I wish thoughts had a little control over making themselves known. But, like the Catholic Church ca 1960, they [toughts that is] have no compunction about procreating like rabbits out of control. So you lose track of them. As I just have. Doesn’t matter.

If there is one thing I have to watch big time it’s writing intros to thoughts. By the time I’ve finished intro I haven’t got the faintest idea what the thought was I am introducing.

On a side note: What is sad about the Catholic Church, pro life, anti abortion and contraception is that few people consider that you can only give so many offspring all the love and attention any of us deserve. Which is why it pays to be a FIRST child or an only. I speak with expertise. Whilst the first fruit of your loins will bear brunt of undiluted attention (not for the faint hearted) she’ll also reap all the benefits none of your siblings ever will; neither will you ever know what people mean when they call you big headed. Even my mother once asked me where I take my ‘chutzpah’ from. Come again?

Naturally, since I manage to always have the best of all worlds, I am both (as defined by the imprecise science of psychology):  An only and a first. If you were an only for more than the first four or five years in your life (which I was) you will qualify as an only (in psychological make up); the only being compounded, grandised, by becoming an eldest. Shortly after your parents (mine that is) get married, in November, and years after being an only you find yourself an ‘eldest’ . With all the hardship and heartache that entails at suddenly being lumbered with sisters and brother you grow to love to your detriment. (And I will admit to being overjoyed when my first sister was born; less so with my brother since he spoilt my nineth birthday. Will tell that story another time. Great guy. Have forgiven him.) Siblings: Talk about unpaid labour. My mother was shameless exploiting me that way. Grannymar will know what I am talking about. And not only peeling sacks of potatoes.

For years and years and years people kept wondering why I didn’t have children after point of marriage. Well. As far as I was concerned I had had my family (all three of them, didn’t I?) or so my reasoning went. To this day my mother and I, when talking about my siblings, will refer to them as “the kids”.  Which is all there is to know. So I had had “my” children early on, and enough of them, till biological instinct took over. Biggest, bestest joy of my life. Felix hung on in there against odds. Strong, healthy, on the upper centile.  Head screwed on. Heart in the right place. Of the most laid back temperament. Yet, I guess, you wouldn’t want to mess with the guy; other than at your peril.

Nineteen years later I still can’t believe my luck. Neither do I fathom why I omitted teaching him how to do the washing up. Recently I told him, and I will not forgive myself for this, one of the shittiest remarks you can make as a parent, that this abode is not a five star hotel with room service thrown in for good measure. Five? Make that six.

So I am Only, and I am an Eldest. What do you expect of me. Charity?

U

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