And so the weekend ends. Considering it’s Wednesday already it ended quite some time ago.
We had quite a nice Sunday. Once my father got over the late departure of half past nine rather than half past eight as he had wanted, we went to the Museum of London and spent three hours looking round. If you haven’t been, do go. Half of it has been closed for something approaching 10 years and it’s a fantastic place to learn about London. My father doesn’t really do museums and it was interesting watching him go round at his own pace. If the boys got near him he’d point out something interesting but otherwise he left them to it, which is not what you’re supposed to do with children, not really.
Then we had a lovely Sunday lunch at 1sis. She was house-sitting for a friend so we had large garden as well as two dogs so stayed until six. Because my sister was there it was a lot less fractious and she and I had a chance to talk which we needed. Once we’d travelled home my father and I went out for a last drink. It turned into two (his limit) and we had our regular conversation of what should we do for holidays and how they would like to see more of the children but don’t know how.
I find this rather a difficult conversation as there is no easy answer. What I would like and what would be good all round, would be for them to live round the corner and see their grandchildren on a weekly basis and be able to have them pop round for tea. But that’s not going to happen. But I said it. I reiterated the simple truth that if they don’t see their grandchildren on a regular basis then there is no relationship and that makes any visit awkward and difficult. My father doesn’t understand half of what they talk about and needs time to adjust to them. My parents are also old, in their mid-70s and having a day out with young children is tiring, especially if you want to start early in the morning so you can pack more in. I made several suggestions: doing what he did this time which was to stay a second night so he could have a full day out without rushing to get home. I also suggested that if both of them came they might find it easier to cope. He talked of wanting to spend more than a day or two with them but found them too exhausting so we looked at the possibility of us being on holiday somewhere and both grandparents coming to stay next door to us for a couple of days so they could see us but not live with us. I also suggested that he needed to think about what to do with them. Just saying have a day out in whichever town, well what’s there to do? I explained about going round castles, forts, outside places as well as museums etc. for wet days. He’d never thought about these things. No wonder it was my mother taking me to all the museums when I was young. I said he had to take them different places, not go back to the same ones as that bored the children who want to explore new places. I feel I’m trying to explain to someone how to have a holiday and I shouldn’t have to, but I’ve done it before and will no doubt do it again.
And he asked me whether his visits were worth it. I replied that if he stopped I didn’t see how we would keep in touch, to which he agreed, without realising what a ridiculous question it was. I did find it tempting to reply that actually I did find his visits very stressful and the children weren’t that bothered so let’s not, but then what happens to our relationship which is already stretched to the maximum? I fully recognise the irony of suggesting that my mother comes too when she’s not speaking to me, but it’s about time she got over it or had it out with me.
I had also been really thinking about him asking me why I don’t make an effort with ex2’s mother and how that represented a pattern. For one thing it was not all my fault but mainly I am learning to think about my needs. To not bend over backwards to keep people in touch who can’t be bothered to pick up the phone. I’ve lost contact with ex2’s mother and with her other 3 offspring, who other than sporadic contact have never kept in touch. I think one visit down here and the occasional phone call. I bumped into ex2’s sibling’s husband completely accidentally and he informed me they were moving to Australia promptly. I think that was the last time I heard from them. It’s not worth the effort and why is it all down to me? I’ve also given up on a relationship with 2sis for the same reason: I give and get nothing back. I wanted to keep in touch with ex1’s sister when we split but she told me that she didn’t feel able to stay friends with me while I was divorcing her brother, whatever the justification. I was quite pleased that she had at least said it to me rather than just letting it drift. My cousin and I used to make attempts to keep in touch, but we’re a couple of hours travel away from each other, have lots of children and busy lives. We drifted away from each other again, although without anything going wrong. So yes I do cut people out of my life when they expect me to do all the running.
Next week I am to visit BFF for the first time ever. This is the only person I’ve maintained a friendship with from school, the only person who remembers me as a teenager who isn’t family. We haven’t met up in best part of 10 years for one reason or another but have six monthly phone calls which go on for a couple of hours. We two have struggled to maintain a relationship at a distance but we do because the distance doesn’t really matter and we know each other so well that distance evaporates. We have very different lives but also a huge amount of cross-over that means that it doesn’t really matter.
So the visit ended, with no great things said by either one of us. He made me feel inadequate a few times and I tried to reject those thoughts. Is it my fault I lost touch with people? While I’m not claiming innocence there are faults on both sides and I feel like I have made sufficient effort to have a clear conscience. There was no suggestion that ex1’s mother should try making up with me which really pisses me off. I tried making a few pointed comments to my father but I also felt sorry for a man who just doesn’t get that life is for living and despite all his knowledge is quite bewildered by the world and the people in it. His last remark really annoyed me where he said that he wanted to continue to do what he could to support me. I would much rather him have said that he wanted to see more of his grandchildren. Because they’re his, not out of a sense of duty.