As a calligrapher I am practised in "the art of beautiful writing". But I am not a writer. and that is why I am here, to be introduced to the art of writing.
Thinking on myself in words, on blank paper is not something I am confident to start. But if the thing closest to my heart, is measured in time and energy my family is something I can write about. It’s they who interrupt my thoughts at odd times of every day and night. Generally it’s the children, but more often lately it’s my husband too. I've taken him for granted. But age, health and a small fragility now mean he is more on my radar.
My love, concern and pride in my adult children is no less sharp now than when they were small. It’s taken time for me to appreciate that, although as parents we become more redundant to their lives, they remain deeply embedded in ours.
I'd like to say that my relationship with my children is open and equal. Parent no longer? Friend? I hear women say, “My daughter is my best friend” and I wonder what that really means. My daughters write lovely cards to tell me just this. But that is not the exact reality. As mother of two beautiful single women in their late thirties, fiercely independent, successful and self reliant, there is a certain emotional void between us. And so I fill in the blanks and I worry. They ask my opinion on safe things. Do you like this colour? Should I buy that sofa? Have you the recipe? They close the door if I get too close. In the absence of knowing I fill in the spaces. Are they lonely? Stressed at work? What keeps them happy and optimistic? They have enviable social lives. They live comfortably. They certainly don't feel the weight of expectation to be married and be mothers. They have planned for the single life. My daughter tells me that now she is in a relationship, she is trying to unbundle some of those ideas and expectations, and is finding it difficult. ‘Opening up’ is a rare, and treasured conversation. And occasionally it does happen. The moment has to be right. And I want to gather them close.
Bill and I sit up in bed tonight dissecting titbits from our children's lives, trying to fix their world, knowing we can't. The phone lights up and in come three bitmoji personal cartoons from Catherine: “Hang in there.” “I love you.” “I'm pooped.”
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