S02, Episode 5: Change
Ten days in a functioning flat has rather brought home that something has to change. As the persistent comments from my DNA spill highlight.
'Oh look mum, the hot water works...all the time.'
'Mummy, can me take off jumper? Too boiling.'
Then the incessant: Can we play the PlayStation? Can we go to the park? Can we watch movies? Can we have a bath?
The thing is the little buggers are being nice and actually bloody sharing. Shits.
They are scheming and plotting. Be warned. As soon as the little buggers are nice to each other...you, as the parent, are about to suffer. Usually, some horrific manipulation followed by a monumental guilt trip.
Here it comes in one...
‘Mum, this is a good flat and warm.’ Lily ever practical.
‘Ross is soo cuddly and lobley.’ Daisy ever emotionally astute.
‘We are not moving in with Ross!’
‘But Mama, he lobes you very much.’
‘I asked him. He thinks it would be nice.’
I'm not ready for this. Do you know why? Because this time, I had sold myself on being organised, relaxed and in control.
Twenty years ago it went something like this.
All I hear about in the winter of ‘92 is Ross this and Ross that from a good friend. I spend the next few months vaguely wondering about this chap who seems to have inspired such hero worship. My friend isn’t easily impressed.
But I essentially don't care as I have a boyfriend, a busy social life, a job and a pile of exams. I'm 17 years old. I leave my friend to his flights of fancy.
It's finally summer. Exams are over, the days are long and carefree. Late July in the North East of Scotland is a special time. The sky never quite darkens, holding on to a dog-rose pink blush, speckled with stars. The land is heavy with scents; honeysuckle, wild narcissi and cottage roses.
As the poets will tell you there are no words, songs or stories that can prepare you for love.
Love is universal but it is also utterly individualised. My experience of love is entirely different from yours. Maybe that's the point. Else how would it have meaning?
When I met Ross no one else existed and when we met all hell broke loose. We collided. Both our immature ideas of love, romance, relationships and who we thought we were exploded into atoms. We were consumed.
The problem was we couldn’t see a way to be together. In fact, we resisted that possibility. Counselled by well-meaning friends and family we tried to stay away.
But we would end up at the same parties and clubs. Drawn like lemmings to the cliff edge. It was impossible to stay away. Our obsession hurt our friends. Our relationships broke down and we leaned into blame and hate.
Our attraction was all-consuming and distracting. But I also resented anything or anyone who might keep me in this town. So I left.
Fast forward twenty years.
Tentatively we are trying out this idea of us being together, a couple.
So far, so good. Alright, I’m not wildly in control, and certainly not relaxed or particularly organised.
But children rushing me into full-on commitment isn’t quite what I had in mind.
No, what I need is a plan.
I’ve given the house a good go but realistically my landlord is as reliable as unicorn shit. I need to restructure my business and working life. The kids need a change on homeschooling. I definitely need not to be calling Ross in the middle of the night when disaster strikes.
I set out my plans. There must be a good, warm flat somewhere in this city. Perhaps there is a school that might work. I could find somewhere I can write and paint.
Tucked up watching a movie I explain my plans to Ross but…
‘Darling, I don’t want you to leave, why don’t you just stay?’
Love what’s happening here?