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