Once upon a time many years ago a lonely Little Girl on holiday in Hammamet, Tunisia, wished for a baby sister. Like all wishes you need to be very careful what you ask for. Needless to say her wish was granted but by then some two years had elapsed and the Little Girl was used to being the ONLY princess in the house.
She put up with the new baby but hated the fact that her mother was always with The Baby and no longer had any time for her. The Little Girl was always told be careful of The Baby, be quiet for The Baby, let The Baby have that toy. The Little Girl was told how lucky she was to have a sister, how happy she must be to have a new baby.
When the Little Girl said she wanted The Baby to go away, to be sent back where it came from, she was told not to be silly, she was told not to be so mean. The Little Girl realised that people would only be pleased and kind to her and have time for her if she said she loved The Baby. So she did. But with no where to vent her true feelings, and no one to take her side and to make time for her, the Little Girl died a little inside and in that space a piece of jealousy grew and it was spiteful and cruel.
The Little Girl would sidle up to The Baby and pinch The Baby to make The Baby cry, she would take the baby’s toys, she would even steal the baby’s sweets. The Little Girl grew watchful and would do these things in secret so no one would know least of all her parents. For the Little Girl realised that with the birth of The Baby there was not enough love to go round, there was not enough time in the day.
The Baby grew and as far as the Little Girl was concerned The Baby always had her parents time and affection while the Little Girl was told to go away and play. The Little Girl had to play on her own. The jealously buried itself a little deeper.
When the family moved, the Little Girl was left to stay with her grandparents, as her parents sorted out the new home. Her parents said it was exciting to stay with her grandparents and what a treat it was, but the Little Girl saw that The Baby stayed with her parents, The Baby was not left behind. The Little Girl’s jealously grew again.
The Little Girl was sent to school because it was easier, she stayed in a big scary house with spiders that ran over her bed all on her own in a dark, dank room. She saw her parents at the weekend but they were very busy moving house and looking after The Baby.
Once everything was sorted The Little Girl came home for good and she was given a big room to play in. She made new friends and was allowed to stay up late. She was happy and she did not mind her little baby sister at all. Then her parents started to talk of sending her away again. She did not want to go away. The Baby wasn’t being sent away. Why thought the Little Girl do they want me to go away?
The Little Girl was eight years old and was sent away to a boarding school at the other end of the country and her parents moved again, this time abroad. The Little Girl begged her parents to take her with them, she cried and she pleaded but it was to no avail. The Little Girl saw that The Baby went with them the Little Girl cried her self to sleep because it was so unfair.
After a time the Little Girl got used to going away and The Baby grew. When The Baby was seven years old the Little Girl was getting bigger and so was her jealously. Like an evil witch the Girl would whisper dark forebodings in The Baby's ear; “Make the most of your time with your parents for they will soon send you away.”
And in time they did. And the Girl was no longer as jealous and she began to realise that this was the way of things and she regretted being so mean to her Baby sister.
Many years passed and one day the Girl met a boy and they married and had a child of their own. The Girl saw her parents often and life was good.
But what of the Baby sister? She too got married and had a child but she did not see her parents as often.
The Girl got pregnant again and her mother agreed to help her when the time was due. The Baby sister wanted to go on holiday and needed someone to look after her child. She called on the mother who said she could not, as she was to help look after the new baby. The Baby sister persuaded the mother to look after the child saying that The Girl had plenty of people to help, had plenty of money to hire help.
The mother was in a quandary. So The Girl suggested the mother bring the Baby sister’s child to stay for she desperately needed her mother to help her for things on the outside are rarley what they seem. The Baby sister’s child came to stay but missed its parents so badly that it cried all day and night to be with its Granny and the mother was unable to help The Girl.
The Girl was upset and unhappy. Why had her sister needed to go on holiday just then when the Girl really needed all the help she could get?
The answer was jealousy. For as much as the Girl had been jealous of her Baby sister so had the Baby sister been jealous of her. For every term time the Baby sister had been the only princess in the house and every holiday she had been usurped.
After the birth of the second child, The Girl had postnatal depression and was too tired to understand. All she reasoned was that she would never have played so shabby a card on her own sister. So she decided to have nothing more to do with her. They did not speak to each other and avoided ever seeing each other for nearly two years.
And then there was a phone call and The Girl’s mother was saying the Baby sister had tried to call The Girl but she was not there. The Baby sister had needed her family and they had not been there for her and she was all alone. She was all alone having a miscarriage and she had turned to the only people she could trust and knew who would care and they were not there.
And The Girl cried for although she was and had been jealous it did not seem important now. She left a message saying that she loved her Baby sister and as for the end of the tale – well, we shall see…
Monday, 21 April 2008
As a youngster this caused me great anxiety as I frequently had no idea. I think we moved so many times that I sort of gave up working out where I lived as I couldn’t explain exactly where HOME was. I still can’t: HOME is where my parents are and despite the fact that I cut the umbilical cord over half a lifetime ago, HOME is still where they are. It’s easier that way – tho’ causes my husband considerable consternation. I grew up an itinerant wanderer – basically a modern day camp follower. I hasten to add that my mother’s morals have always and will always be above reproach. Camp followers have such a bad press. By the time I was six I had lived in six different homes and had attended six different nurseries and schools. These were formative years and although I went on to be incarcerated at boarding school for ten years, the confusion about where I live, where home was and even who I was, was so deeply embedded that when the question is asked I can feel my heart beat faster, and my mind goes blank and out pops the answer: “With my parents.” This obviously causes raised eyebrows at social functions and my reputation is somewhat suspect. In answer to the question I now live in the depths of wildest Suffolk where the rabbits play chicken with your car at dead of night and Pheasants fly in low on kamikaze missions determined to drive you off the road. This is our final resting place - leastways says my husband who has never fully recovered from the move seven years ago from London. (I blame it on too much Styrofoam and bubble wrap) - and from the comments made by the parents on viewing our new home back in 2001 probably our nemesis as well. The story of its acquisition, like all good tales sees prospective owners Charles and myself falling in love with it, offering for it, nearly losing it, then battling it out with rivals to secure it for ourselves. A story of passion, skulduggery, hope against hope, and finally….my mother calling it Cold Comfort Farm and muttering about woodsheds while my father stared ashen faced refusing to say a word. It was and is a BIG project but one that is keeping us entertained and hopefully allows us to entertain in turn. Just to clear the outside to see what’s there, Dad estimated he would need 10 men working 4 weeks solid – his chainsaw went into ‘hospital’ after a mere 36 hours. Rookyard makes me laugh and not always with hysteria. We have woods, meadows, a fabulous moat, a hemp plantation - found in a secluded corner of the property - and of course the house itself with twisty corridors, undulating floors, inglenook fireplaces and at the beginning our very own mushroom cupboard providing delicious fungi for breakfast! Boy, have we moved on since then…several builders later and we are almost there but at the moment jus - we have run out of money and now must make do and mend…but what fun we’ll make it - it’s either that or going completely mad!
Thursday, 3 April 2008
Shall I compare thee to a full time Mum?
Thou art more grumpy and intemperate
Thy work does use up all thy spark and fun
And my childhood is all too short a date:
Sometime too late thou may remember this,
That while thou workest I play alone
Some stranger holdest me and wins a kiss
That by rights is only for thee to own
But no it is not yet too late for thee
Shake off the clouds of deepest despondancy
Shut up thy work and come now and follow me
For the sun does shine on us right joyously
So long as we can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
I promise we will play together….