Friday, December 25, 2020

And still the virus locks us in...

Daughter 2 sent us an Advent present-a-day box, and the one for Christmas Eve was this: a star for each grandchild. 

I hung them on my glass wreath. 

We walk every day, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, though the sun is still very low in the sky. It's getting better, though - we're reclaiming the light from you, Australia and New Zealand. 

It was 3.24pm when we neared the end of our walk yesterday and the sun still hadn't set - it wasn't nearly as dark as it looks in the photo above. Still, you have some effort to make yet, sun. Work harder.

I had a low day on the 23rd, thinking how much of the little ones' lives we were missing. At my age, it's impossible not to wonder from time to time how much longer we'll have to live - a bit melodramatic, I know (my parents lived to 87 and 90 so with any luck I should manage a few more years). Normally I try to be grateful for still being here - every day's a bonus and all that. But in these times, it's easy to dwell on the gloomy side of things, what with the virus changing and becoming more infectious. 

Anyway, we were allowed for today to have another family in the house so Daughter 1, Son-in-Law 1 and the Edinburgh Two came to Christmas dinner, which was lovely. We're so lucky to have them here at least - even though only the children will be allowed inside the house in the next while. The children got the presents they wanted. And we had a nice Zoom with the members of the extended family, who should all have been here at the moment. 

Here's Biggest Granddaughter lost in a book about amazing women who changed the world. Little girls these days have a lot to live up to. At that age, my generation just thought they might bake a few cakes, have children and maybe also a job. (Or was that just me?) Julia Donaldson's "Zog and the Flying Doctors" was on tv when I was pottering round the kitchen this afternoon and at one point the princess heroine (who wanted to be a doctor) got shut up indoors by her misguided uncle and had to "sew pretty cushions and arrange pretty flowers" and I thought, I feel quite sorry for little girls who see these things being devalued. I know that those sorts of books are just trying to redress the balance of previous children's literature and that it's good to allow girls to have aspirations but... well. We can't all change the world. Someone has to wash the kitchen floor. 

I did in fact have a career as a teacher, working very long hours, as well as keeping house and mothering. But the job wasn't really an aspiration (though I enjoyed it and worked hard at it and it was very interesting) - more a sense of duty, really. By the time we were teenagers I suppose we knew that we would be career women, and from my school class of girls came a professor of agriculture, a lecturer in electrical engineering, several doctors, various administrators and teachers, at least two accountants and so on. And this is from children who'd been reared on "Janet and John" and Enid Blyton, featuring very stereotypical character roles. We seemed to work out that this was fiction and that there were other opportunities in life.

I do long to live long enough to find out what the grandchildren are interested in when they're bigger. Big Grandson is surely going to still like transport? but he also loves his computer so maybe he gets that interest from his father. Biggest Granddaughter is very keen on Lego and reading - an architect like her auntie? an archivist like her mum? The others are all still little, but possibly the two whose parents are doctors (and have scientist grandparents on one side and other scientist relatives on the other) might be likely to go into science. And Littlest Granddaughter - who knows? Daughter 2 is an architect and Son-in-Law 2 is an actor, so that's a mixed bag. It's so interesting. Must keep eating the broccoli. 


  1. I felt a little like that about the first Zog film too - yes, sewing and dresses aren't Pearl's cup of tea, but I felt somewhat reassured as a kid to have book heroines who liked to sew (as I did) and make stuff. But I think those are still out there. And the number of home dressmakers and costumiers I know suggests that these activities aren't dying. As far as I can see the important message is that your likes and dislikes are valid (even if I can't quite see the appeal of some of my children's, but then you could say the same of some of mine, couldn't you!)

  2. I'm so glad you got to spend time with part of your family at least! Someone does have to mop the kitchen floor. It's also disturbing that our schools seem to push university as the best and only option, when we need tradespeople desperately. Many students have gifts for that, but our society devalues those careers. The daughters, their guys and I did House Party(like Zoom) because we could play games together. It definitely wasn't the same as in person, but it was OK. Hoping for face to face in 2021. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

  3. Cheer up Pam. This too will pass (one can hope!) We were just us two today. Lots of time on the telephone, which was nice, but didn't quite make up for all those empty chairs. Onward to better times!

  4. Between the broccoli and your walking you will certainly make "old bones", and hopefully live to see what they all become - most importantly happy, kind and caring people. Because so many are having children later - well into their late 30s, and early 40s - the next generation is unlikely to be alive to see their grandchildren born, let alone grow up!

    Christmas over here was pretty much as usual, and most people's refrain is "We are so lucky, but we're not safe yet" so I think people realise the virus is lurking - a bit like the "roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour" of 1662!

    Keep your spirits up with the hope of a vaccine.

  5. It sounds like you had a lovely Christmas Day. Those little stars are so cute! I'm not sure I understand the logic of only allowing the children in if they live with their parents -- aren't you exposed to each other via the children? Like you, I long to live long enough to see how things turn out for my grandchildren. Mostly I just want to know their children. And the gggrandchildren too. Sadly, that's not how it works. I always wanted to know my grandmother when she was raising children too. It's kind of sad that we have to be separated from our ancestors and descendents by generations. Oh, and we eat lots of broccoli here too. Unfortunately, we also eat lots of candy LOL.