I’ve been putting off thinking about this more than fleetingly for weeks. Oscar should be starting pre-school this week. Holly would be beside herself. In her best patronising older sister tone she would have fully prepared him for his big day by now and his red and grey uniform would be lined up ready for morning. Instead it’s just the first week of the summer term and Holly is focused on her own world.
We strolled down to the churchyard at the weekend. H doesn’t particularly like going there. I think that the thought of it makes her feel uncomfortable in so far as I suspect that she thinks that she needs to either feel sad, look sad or watch us be sad. I very seldom insist that she comes with me. I feel that any of us think about Oscar anywhere at anytime and we don’t need to go to his grave to do that. Unless it is Oscar’s birthday or Christmas when we all go down there together. But this time I did ask her to join me briefly. Without trashing the innocence that is childhood I would really just like her to understand how lucky she is, how lucky that we all are to have a life, to be alive. When she has had a couple of weeks off school, having various days out and catching up with friends and generally having family life organised around fun stuff for her I can’t help but expect a level of appreciation which in the same breathe I concede is unlikely and not realistic to expect from a five and a half year old. Especially given that I have said that on reflection I don’t think that I truly, deeply understood the meaning of gratitude myself until I became a mother.
The occasions that I find most tricky to manage are if Holly is in a grump and declares that life is not fair. Despite remembering delivering the same immortal line myself numerous times during childhood, if I am already running anything below tip top I always retort quickly that life is not fair. Of course the first thing that comes into my mind when I hear that expression is how much I would give to be able to offer Oscar the same opportunities that Holly and Barney will get. Usually I manage to bite my tongue there though without explicitly referring to Oscar but it’s something that I’ll definitely need to get better at over the years. Because whilst life clearly isn’t fair there is a simplicity and selfishness (in a good way) to childhood which I don’t think would be great parenting for me to destroy. It also won’t be long before they can read between the lines of what I am saying. Somehow I’ll have to work on it so that they grow up as kids who are able to appreciate what life has to offer without having it meticulously demystified by me.