Last brisk kicking of the year

So 2010 is finally over, gone, done, dusted, shooed, pushed off, vamoosed, boom-tish.

It’s not as if it started very well.

[Small pause while I shake myself all over like a wet labrador and go and put the kettle on].

Where were we? Oh yes. H and I went down to my mother’s for a few days, to celebrate New Year and generally be sociable and cute.

My mother was quite desperate for us to visit, as she was beginning to get a tad antsy with my sisters, who were basically emerging from their festering pits only at nightfall to raid the fridge, beg for money, and wail over their deadlines and/or boyfriend issues. They’re both students at the moment. Diva is 21, so, you know, tiresome, but normal. Trouble is 34. According to Trouble, no one else ever in the Universe has ever gone back to University with a small child, and no one else in the Universe ever has done this as a single mother, and no one else has ever had such naggy and tiresome parents, I mean, God, our mother only provides her with somewhere to live, somewhere for her child to live, her tuition fees AND an allowance, and baby-sitting, so Trouble doesn’t have to work at all and can concentrate on her studies. But then, Mum asked her when she was going to pick Minx up from her play-date. Oh, the humanity!

So yes, Trouble did act like a spoilt brat at more than one point, and I did snap over the play-date thing, tell her she was being ridiculous and stalk out of the room (to her credit, Trouble didn’t sulk about it, possibly because a lot of her brattiness was driven by the sort of raging embarrassment that won’t let you back down when your mouth has driven you into a corner of illogic).

After that little encounter, however, I hid and had a cry, because, really, I am so envious of Trouble sometimes I weep poisonous green tears of slime (so embarrassing, having to burn the Kleenex), and instead of being pleased and grateful that she has a home and financial help and a chance to study for the career she really, really wants and a beautiful child, Trouble bitches about how difficult it all is and how much of a pain Minx is, and spends half her time trying to get other people to look after Minx for her. And I want, so much, a) not to have to work full-time so I can write, and b) even more so and especially, a child of my own. I can’t be rational and objective about Trouble’s frustrations. All I can think is why can’t you be grateful for five fucking minutes?

(Minx is a pain, because she’s bored and attention-starved at home, and being seven, doesn’t know better ways of getting attention than acting up).

So there was that.

And two face-slaps, one drearily unsurprising, one completely out of left field.

In the first, Trouble and I were discussing science, scientific advances, medical advances, and to forstall what was becoming an irritating re-iteration of the whole ‘Big Pharma is taking over’ thing, I pointed out that on the other hand that in countries without well-developed medical care, the mortality rate in childbirth is as high as one in ten, and I’d take well-meaning doctors over-prescribing statins over that any day. Which was very much an error of judgement on my part, as now I had to listen to Trouble’s patent ‘only stupid people get morning-sickness’ lecture. I can’t argue with that. I got morning sickness with the pregnancies that lasted longer than a few days, and I’m too stupid to keep a baby alive, so. It was a drearily predictable faceslap as I had rather wandered into that one of my own free will. On the other hand, it did give me the opportunity to remind Trouble that I’ve been pregnant quite a lot, you know, so, perhaps, a little perspective on the woe-is-fucking-me thing?

The second faceslap was downright awful. Mum and I were talking things over, and I was telling her that I’d had yet another miscarriage before Christmas. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I’m so sorry. My poor darling,’ and she leapt out of her chair to hug me.

And then, sitting back down, she said, ‘well, I suppose they’re not so bad any more, because you’re used to them.’

I said (and by all means, congratulate me on my level-headedness at this point. I’m dead impressed at it), ‘well, they’re not such a horrible shock anymore, yes, but the hopelessness and frustration gets worse.’

And then I changed the subject, and let Mum lecture me about diets and nutrition and wheatgrass and lemon-juice for half-an-hour, because as much as I famously hate being lectured about my weight and diets, it was preferable to continuing the miscarriage discussion after that zinger.


22 responses to “Last brisk kicking of the year

  • wombattwo

    You’re amazing. I think I’d have hit her. I think I might have hit both of them.
    I feel quite sorry for Minx, I have to say.
    Good riddance to 2010. Hoping very much that 2011 is better for you x

  • a

    Well. That was a particularly pointed stick that your mom poked you with, wasn’t it? I’m sorry – that’s one of those things that I think about myself, but would never say to anyone else, as I don’t know how they are actually responding emotionally. And your sister sounds a bit…entitled. Perhaps, that was not the best way to celebrate the coming of the New Year.

  • Ben Warsop

    Holy shit. Not even I, in full little-Pollyanna-always-sees-the-best-motives-behind-the-stupidest-actions mode can manage to sweeten that one.

    Here is a large virtual gin and a very gentle hug. And the coolest yarn there is, while I am at it.

    xxx to you both.


  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Oh dear God.

    If there wasn’t a family resembelance, I’d swear blind your Mother found you under a particularly benevolent and generous cabbage leaf.
    You can’t possibly be one of them.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    And that is NOT how you spell resemblance, Ann.

  • Amy P


    I’m too stupid to come up with a good comment, evidently, because I had morning sickness with both Faith and Grace. (We won’t discuss the dehydration stupidity ;-))


  • Betty M

    Dear God indeed. You, May, have the patience of the most patient Saint that ever lived. How you didn’t throw things, storm out and swear never to speak to them again until they developed some sensitivity is a wonder. I also want to know why people like Trouble always get away with their behaviour (and is it wrong to think she is a bit like a hellish combo of Kate and Helen in the Archers?).

  • Quiet Dreams

    I gasped out loud at your mom’s comment. I think you must be some kind of super-human to have that amazing response.

    As for sisters, well, I can very much empathize. Both of mine are quite fertile and married, so, yeah.

    Families can suck sometimes.

  • runnyyolk

    Ugh, what an awful thing to say. I would have punched her in the neck.

  • Hannah

    Simply staggering. When I saw the details of the first “slap” with Trouble, I thought you were truly remarkable. I’m thousands of miles away and I wanted to bloody her nose – for her absolute rubbish science, entitlement, and unbelievable insensitivity.

    But your mom’s comment was absolutely breathtaking. Your restraint boggles my mind – you didn’t merely keep quiet, as I probably would have not been able to say anything, what with the wind knocked out of me by that “unintentional” sucker punch. You actually gave an enlightened, rational response. For whatever it’s worth, May, you are my hero.

  • Allison

    Holy fuck, May.

    I want to cocoon you in true familial support.

    Because all I can say to that is: Holy fuck, May.

  • jo

    Ouch. What a vacay. Thinking of you and glad you made it home safely. Big hugs.


  • Nina

    Nearly Headless Nick comes to mind. All the sensitivity of a blunt axe. Wow.

  • carole

    Wow. Just….wow. That’d be my year’s worth of reserves of family patience blown right there. The sister thing seems hopeless, but you are truly a saint to have let it go with your mum. I think I would have spent all day giving her other examples: “So Mum, if someone has both legs amputated and then hears that the arms have to go, are they less upset because they are “used to it”?”, “Right, say the McCanns other kids get abducted? Are they going to find that easier to deal with because they are “used to it”?” “What if Trouble and Diva die in a car crash and then later I fall under a bus. Will you feel less upset about me because you are “used to it”?” etc etc etc

    Are you QUITE sure you aren’t adopted? The genetics just don’t seem possible…

    Sod them anyway AND 2010. Only way is up in 2011, right?

  • Korechronicles

    Not that I needed any confirmation at all, but you really are the most amazing role model for anyone who needs to learn conflict management skills. My brain would have immediately reverted to it’s reptilian antecedents and either flounced me out of the room or helped to push such an insensitive soul off a jetty. To stay calm and not respond? And listen to hippy-dippy What You Should Be Doing With Organic Produce without screaming SHUT THE F*CK UP? You are a legend!

  • Valery

    O dear, sending hugs… how did you manage not to fall apart? Does H keep extra bottles in his bag so you can bottle up and uncork when your blog is within reach again? (and he buries his?)
    I shall go out today and buy new lamp oil, so I can fill those bottles and let them burn gently, and one or two extra for you.
    More hugs.

  • Womb For Improvement

    Feeling in a charitable mood, would it be possible to interpret your mother’s outrageous comment as a result of the fact you managed to tell her about the miscarriage and remain relatively calm. Which led her to believe you were ‘use to them’ rather than should be use to them?

  • Bionic Baby Mama

    Dear Mother of May,

    I regret to inform you that Callous Mother of The Holiday Season, 2010-11, has already been awarded to a woman in the Philadelphia area who let her daughter spend the night on the floor of the airport, surrounded by screaming loudspeakers and holiday songs, rather than drive the 20 minutes to pick her up after said daughter called to say her flight had been canceled and the next one out wasn’t for two days. While we all appreciate her achievement, now is not the time to best it. Judging for this season is closed. Better luck in 2011-12.

    As for Trouble…oy. I have an aunt just like her. In my darkest hours, she is the one I fear becoming. Oy.

  • twangy

    Well done indeed on the surprising non-matricide.

    (I have noticed this idea before – you know, that says you can somehow get accustomed to suffering? Like that people who live in war zones must be somehow magically “used” to it. Oh another sniper bullet, another day! Tra-lala! etc. Pain doesn’t actually give you superpowers, though. Funny, that.)

  • twangy

    Ah yes – I commend you on not strangling your sister, too. I forgot that in the heat of the moment. Well done. The morning sickness theory must have been infuriating, to put it mildly.

    (Like, URG!)

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    AND an allowance…?!

    Continuing to simmer.

  • Used to it « Nuts in May

    […] under: Bad sad things,Tom-fool nonsense — May @ 11:30 pm I can’t really put aside my mother’s comment that my miscarrages aren’t so bad as I ‘am used to it by now&#…. She’s right. That is why I can be calm and respond placidly when she says things like that. […]

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