Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Trouble in Paradise or the First Fight of the Year



New Year is full of resolutions that last about five minutes. I stopped making them years and years ago when I realised it's not years that are important, but days. Every day should contain a seed of better behaviour, clearer objectives, less swearing and more piano practice. Big sweeping declarations are for the theatre. Makeup, stage lights and surges of clapping. Bullsheet. None of us have any idea what we will be thinking in September.

One of my longterm resolutions, almost a twin sister of mine, has been to cut
out the freak-out. I mean, Don't lose your cool, Catherine. I mean, try to look through to the other end of the moment and see how frantic and uncontrolled you appear from the other side. Don't lose it. 

But I do lose it. I've just lost it now.

You wonder whether in disassembling a moment that has passed whether there is any lesson to be learned. When you see the jagged spot where you should have bitten your tongue and not lashed out. When you drive back along the glittery snowy road now devoid of holidaymakers. When you sit there in the silent car thinking, is it my fault that I have raised an ungrateful, demanding teen? Or am I just caved in, playing the victim, as was said?


As mothers we are always juggling plates and often - for me - at least one drops.  You are thinking about the jammed road all the way home down the mountain, the rent to pay, bills galore, your crappy work status, the homework to nag about, the dog on heat, the house now a male hovel to clean, the extra 150kms driving tomorrow to resettle Ungrateful Diva... and how the hell do we get to the end of the month.

And then to be pushed off a shelf. Told that, Why should you be any more tired of driving than anybody else? When you freak out at the bl***y long queue of public holiday skiers and tell a certain lazy teen to get out and walk the short walk to the ski slope. (And this after 650+kms driving lately, including midnight forays into the -10 night to heat up an ailing engine.)

Sorry doll but this was a red flag to this stomping steaming bull.


We all know that suicides and domestic violence surge when families spend too much time together over Christmas. Too much alcohol, sluggish digestion of rich foods, cramped kitchens and rubbish to be taken out, bright lights in supermarkets and the empty fridge. I was fine through all of this. I've had wonderfully helpful family members here on holiday, it's just my own damned kids.

But I could have a saviour. My hit-of-last-year writer Simon van Booy has written a philosophy book called Why We Fight. This book will be the first book I order this year.

How about you? Did anybody make you lose it over the silly season?

***
Read a great writer interview and review of Pelt and Other Stories on www.whisperinggums.com

76 comments:

  1. Sometimes we are all driven to that line that we cross - hopefully the diva will reflect on the patient saint that you are every other day you yield to the demands of a busy household, knowing that 'any day' you could cut the apron ties and set them free into a world they often want help in! xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Ingrid how sweet of you to imagine me as a patient saint. I'm not quite! I don't think this will be the last time I lose it this time either. As for still needing help in the big wide world... Yes! This is where we are right now. Hope all is good for you xxx

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  2. I held it together because it was only me, my husband and youngest son for Christmas this year. But in Vegas, my mother was throwing a fit over something that happened with my kids, and she is still pouting and refusing to see them. Everyone is looking at me to step in and smooth things over, but I'm not going near it. I agree with my kids on this one, and that is not what my mom wants to hear.

    I got a call yesterday that my grandmother has been placed into hospice. So I'm flying down this weekend to see her. I'm sure this will be my mother's opportunity to state her case over whatever bullshit fight she had with my kids over the holiday. Would it be childish to stick my fingers in my ears and go na-na-na for an entire day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if you put your fingers in your ears Averil? I'm a big one for blowing off then quickly cooling down. And I always expect and give sorries before going to bed. I hate sleeping on an argument and letting it seep inside. Hope you worked it out. Xcat

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  3. You lasted a week! Mazel tov.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ahhh can't wait till our daughter reaches the teen years, she is gifted at pushing all my buttons even those I didn't know I had. Such ups and downs here but our life has played that way since forever maybe it's me who is creating the drama...

    Your post resonates so much with me, I just totally loose it even when moments before I told myself I wouldn’t. We all then just build up and up until we have a massive fall out….then I beat myself up for loosing it in the first place!! Throw in my husband and Luca and it's WW3

    My friend in Australia went through this with her daughter who is now in her 20′s and she sent me a book for Christmas called “I’m not mad, I just hate you!”…a new understanding of mother-daughter conflict ..surviving and thriving during your daughter’s teenage years. by Roni Cohen-Sandler.
    I laughed when it arrived it’s like she read my mind. I remember thinking my Mum evil because she wouldn’t let me walk to the shopping center with my friends…now I think good on her for sticking to her guns xx
    Hoping to catch up with you this year when we take Renovating Italy on the road lol

    xxx

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be lovely to catch up! I'm here all year except for the occasional jaunt. Actually I don't clash much with my daughter at all, this was just a minor blow up which we are now laughing about, and thankfully we are both able to see the other's viewpoint. I remember how unbending I was when young, and I still have a short sharp temper. It's all about management and public relations, isn't it? Hope to catch up xxcat

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  5. Oh, oh I love your comment about it being days that matter, not years. I think I needed to hear that today, when I woke up feeling wobbly and not as in control of/calm about a situation as I thought I might be. Thanks lady. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Hannah, you'll be fine. Just think, little steps. Little steps. Then you'll look up and the mountain will be behind you. Xcat

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