I have just visited home for a week, the youngest darling daughter had her 17th Birthday, which means she can now learn to drive. I find it really quite tough sometimes being back in the bosom of my family. I think we all have high expectations of what it will be like, all under one roof, in the same timezone. I conjure up quite a romantic image of family meals and long dog walks. Time for a reality check!
It used to be that when I arrived home, from being overseas for a few months that I nearly always wanted to cry with the state of the place. Well – it was our choice to leave our darling son in the family home, whilst he studied at the Agricultural University nearby. I think the place soon became a doss house for all his mates. I can only shudder when I think what must have gone on in our absence. One time we arrived back and the place was beyond super clean, with scented candles burning in the rooms downstairs. That must have been one hell of a party they trying to cover up! Now I have organised a cleaner, which means I can sit on the toilet without fear of contracting something awful. The kitchen does not resemble an experiment in bio hazards and you can actually walk on the floor without fear of ruining your outdoor shoes. Yes – it really was quite awful. I always had to change the bed before getting in, it was a necessary precaution. This should not detract from the fact that it is great to be home, to hear the family going about their daily business. It is made more poignant because the youngest is at boarding school. We see very little of her, she was fed up of moving around the place and opted to spend her last four years of school in one place. We miss her and the excitement at getting to do my motherly duties is quite high – and then reality kicks in.
I managed to totally upset the birthday girl, to the point we were both in tears. She hated me and I was struggling to know what I could have done differently, so as not to have disappointed her on her 17th Birthday. It really did start well, presents, flowers, cake! However the clothes were not the right size, so we headed into town to exchange them, she did not want to try a different size, I took the money back, thinking we would order online when we got home. I offered to go out for a nice lunch, as the mood was nose-diving, lunch was rejected in favour of going straight home. The birthday was rescued by her big brother, who later that evening lit two firepits, put up strings of lights and lit lots of candles in jars and we ate dinner outside and sipped on a few beers. She smiled!!!
It is all about expectation – I think we do need to be more realistic, it is just hard not to get carried away with that ‘homes & garden’ magazine style image of idyllic country family life.