said Big to me tonight, tearfully, cuddling me.
And she’s right. It’s been a rollercoaster so far, and we’re only half way through. We’ve spent the day with my other sisters, Katrin’s husband and her children, all treading gently around each other, sniffling, talking about nothing really except the twaddle on tv and the children. It’s too soon to talk about anything much else – a brief conversation about housing where the theory was raised that as the tenancy was in her name they might about to be homeless but I’ve come home and researched that and know it’s not the case.
So we’ve drunk tea. Eaten sandwiches. Played with children. My niece, who I’ll call Princess unless I think of something better, is such a reminder of her mother that I nearly burst into tears sitting on the floor with her tonight as I taught her to play draughts – I remember teaching her mother to play chess. Neither her nor her brother appear to have taken it in at all at the moment, I suppose that’s not so much of a surprise.
Big, on the other hand, has taken it to heart and has gone to bed trying desperately to think of nice things to think of, and wants to know what the point of life is. Difficult questions, the ones without answers. She’s struggling with such a lot at the moment – she is happy having me at school, but it means that we’ve only got six weeks school holidays, and she’s missing the weeks we planned to just throw a tent in the back of the car and clear off. In a way it’s rather good there isn’t a Kessingland as knowing everyone else was gathering there would be really difficult for her. I’ve promised her weekends but it’s not the same – I think I need to get a calendar and mark in some events for her to look forward to, and when the next couple of weeks is over, I’m going to be hoping to either invite ppl here or post her off – she needs her friends.
I’m determined to make this moment a chance for change. I’m not very good at family relationships, I’ve always felt rather excluded. I go weeks or longer without seeing any of my sisters, and we don’t know anything of each others lives and that has to stop. Small especially gets on with Princess, and I have to make sure that that friendship has room to develop, I think that will be very important for her, and I want to be a big part of her life as well. Her brother too, of course, but he’s 11, and it’s going to be far more up to him how much of a part I get to play – I just want her to be used to me being around.
So today I will remember tears, and laughter, surreal tv programmes (what is the Wonderpets thing – warbling animals rescuing each other from disaster???), Shrek 2 and wire constructions – Big made a fairy crown, wand and wings from a couple of reels of garden wire that M had around for no apparent reason, a whoopee cushion for Small, and a first game of draughts for a five year old.
Thank you all for your support. It has meant a lot, and I’m going to be leaning on you something rotten.