2007 has been a bit of a rubbish year for our family. Having written that, I immediately feel guilty because obviously many people have had a hugely rubbisher one and have had to endure warfare, starvation, fire, flood or the death or kidnap of their child. So I’m talking in very local terms here, from the point of view of a lucky someone to whom nothing really terrible has ever happened.
But my dad died in April after a long and distressing decline, and my lovely son-in-law has spent a lot of the year unable to go to work because of depression. And my wonderful second daughter is still going out with her actor boyfriend, whom I have nothing against on a personal level but who is not getting a lot of work. This means that he’s living with his parents in the Midlands while she’s living here in Edinburgh and they don’t see much of each other.
I’ve spent the last few weeks contemplating the end of the year and hoping to myself that 2008 was going to be better. But then during the last few days of 2007, I started to worry that in fact it was going to be worse. And I’m still kind of in that frame of mind.
This may well be the year that our two remaining children leave home. And I’m going to find this very hard. If Daughter 2’s boyfriend did become more successful, he’d base himself in London and so she would probably go there too. Which is entirely reasonable, of course: she’s 26 and we’re very lucky to have her still at home and she needs to make her own life away from us. But knowing this won’t make it easier. It should but it won’t. I want all my children to live near me. I love them so much and they’re so interesting and cuddly and such good fun. We’re lucky that sweet Daughter 1 lives fairly near, but even so, I’d prefer her at the end of the street. London is direly far way. Yes, I know that in American or Australian terms it’s just a toddle, but in Scottish terms – Scotland is a little country – it’s almost unreachably far.
And our beloved son will start working as a doctor and may well not get a job in Edinburgh. He’ll earn a reasonable salary and I assume may be able to get a mortgage. Which is good, of course. In a way. He’ll be 24 and needs to be independent too. Again, we’ve been blessed to have him at home for so long.
It doesn’t help that I know that my attitude is ridiculously clingy. I know I need to get a life. I know they’ll all still love us even when they don’t live at home.
And at least we have cats who don’t look like departing any time soon – like the lean, keen killing machine you see above. And Daughter 1 and I met up yesterday with Loth of “The Gym Isn’t Working” and she’s lovely! Funny and interesting and generally very nice! So there are good things in life too. I do know this.
I’ve just read Shauna Reid’s book, “The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl”, based on her blog of the same name. If by any chance anyone who reads this doesn’t know about her, please buy it! It’s published by Transworld and is available from Amazon and in shops. It charts her life over the years during which she lost 12 and a half stone in weight (that's 176 pounds or 80 kilos), moved to Scotland during the process… and lots more (don’t want to give it all away)… and it’s wonderfully well written, funny and touching. It’s not just about losing weight – it’s not a diet guide – it’s about how she learnt to become healthy and more confident in lots of ways. That sounds soppy but it isn’t at all.
Here she is describing herself after having had her wisdom teeth removed: "I can't sleep because my head is massively swollen like a mutant potato. I was hoping for a cute little chipmunk face, but instead I'm a slab with eyes, like those statues on Easter Island. My lips are numb too, so when I spoon gruel into my mouth it slithers down my chin as if I'm a helpless baby. Somebody should just strap me into a high chair and make the aeroplane noises."
One of her mantras at one stage in the book is “Stop moping and start coping” – excellent advice. I’m going to try to do this. Possibly even tomorrow. Meanwhile, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to have another little mope. And now that I've depressed you - Happy New Year!