Monday, May 21, 2007


You know when you wake up with the feeling that there’s a cold hand round your heart, and it’s a second before you remember why? Of course other people have far worse things to contend with; for example, the McCanns, whose little daughter Madeleine was abducted in Portugal a fortnight ago. But I’m feeling very low indeed about our son-in-law. And of course other worries creep in as well, such as Daughter 2, who is in herself a total joy but who is maintaining a long-distance relationship with a chap who is trying, not very successfully, to establish himself as an actor. Even if he succeeded, it would be in London, which is 400 miles away. I know it’s perfectly normal for grown-up children to live that far from their parents, but it doesn’t make it any easier to contemplate.

But the main problem is J. Anything is bearable if the children are happy.

Yesterday, Daughter 1, my husband and I dragged him round the Botanic Gardens, which were as usual lovely. The lad cheered up fractionally, perhaps.

Today is a holiday and I’m planning to get my bedding plants into the garden, the pots and the hanging baskets planted up. Which, if it happens, should be enjoyable or at least provide a sense of achievement. But there’s a big stone in my stomach.
And tomorrow is the markers’ meeting for Higher English (Highers are Scottish national exams) which means that between tomorrow evening and June 7th I have to mark 210 scripts, each with two close reading passages – 21 questions per script. To do this, I need to work for 3 hours per evening and 9 hours per weekend day. It’s my own fault that I’m doing this, of course; I do get paid. And there’s a certain masochistic satisfaction in getting through the task, year by year.

However, my blogging time will be severely restricted, especially as I’ll be spending much more time with my mother than I have in previous years. So if I fall relatively silent, this is why.

! expect I’ll be back. Bet you can't wait to read another cheery post like this.


  1. Such a beautiful pictorial and such sad words!

    I PITY you going off to marking, I used to be an examiner for the Higher School Visual Arts exam.
    It was an exquisite agony, but one I took completely seriously, with a sense of wonder at how far I had travelled since I had sat the exam myself.
    One time I must have read 60 essays which all talked about the same painting...Honey Ant Dreaming..oh, I still can't LOOK at that thing.

    Gee, that boy. A stubborn case, is it not? Send them both out here to me, for some light therapy.

    Loved the butterfly.

    And I did my homework, by the way....

  2. oh, and take care in your busy time :-)

  3. Beautiful photos Isabelle but such heart-weary words about J.

    Ultimately, we can only be RESPONSIBLE for our own happiness.

    Sounds hard, I know, but we can still have compassion.

    Love your writings ... please don't stop altogether.

  4. So sad to hear of your family problems - and I believe as mothers we take it worse - we have this notion that we should always be able to make it better for our children. And as you're realising - sometimes it's just not possible. But I think it's a great idea to share your sadness and fears here - it'll allow you to maintain that positive cheery front. Take care

  5. I've never been much for support groups and counselors, but I've changed my mind of late. Maybe talking with other mothers whose children are also facing this problem would help?

  6. Well, Isabelle, we'll take your posts however we can get them! Isn't it funny how when you have a baby you think you'll only worry until they're grown and gone? The worry never stops, as we've found out! Take care of yourself while you're "gone" -- I'll look forward to your being back. And maybe you'll have some humorous writing from the exams to share! ;-)

  7. Your heart sounds heavy, Isabelle. But caring is part of who you are. We will be here when you need a break from all that marking! Beautiful photos.... I love spring!

  8. Here's a big hug, Isabelle: ((( )))

    Thank you for sharing those lovely photos despite having a heavy heart.

    Cheery or not, it's always good to hear how life is treating you. We care about little Madeleine and we care about you and yours.

  9. I second that hug....

  10. A book that helped me with my (amittedly much milder) depression/anxiety, which uses cognitive behavioural theray techniques: Feeling Good by David Burns. I've mentioned it to K, thought I'd mention it to you too, it's really very good and helpful, though particularly important for the sufferer to read it and do the thought exercises.

    I'm the girl that may or may not have gone to TB nursery school with K, I like getting vicarious snippets of Edinburgh through both your blogs.

  11. Though my children are only 4 and 9, I am already dreading the day when they leave us and move out forever. I know I'm fooling myself in thinking that I can protect them from all hurt now, but with them elsewhere I imagine the feeling of helplessness is even worse. I wonder how my MIL can stand to have one child in Alaska and one in London.

    I just noticed you tagged me -- yikes, I shall get on it!