….then I’ll begin. Those of us of a certain age will remember a radio programme, in the afternoons, called Listen with Mother. It began in the very early fifties for the under fives and ran, I believe into the eighties. It was great for small children who could enjoy a magical story, a nursery rhyme and music whilst sitting with their mothers.
Well, the LSO and I seem to have slipped back in time and each day we have a session of listening to the AP relate yet another tale from the past. The only trouble is these stories are becoming mixed up with other happenings and no longer reflect the actual events at all but the AP insists her made-up version of things are right. The AP has a burning desire to be in control of us which of course is not going to happen so she becomes like a fractious child when thwarted and unfortunately having heard the stories many times we know the correct versions. It’s difficult to deal with because for one thing it doesn’t really matter if it’s all wrong most of the time. It was all in the past but we cannot sit there and say we remember these non existent events especially the ones that appear to involve us in some way so we find ourselves becoming silent as we try to think of a way of changing the subject. The other problem of course is that we are far from being children and are only too aware that our lives are slipping away in a sea of uncomfortable sameness.
Later the same evening a relative from New Zealand rang to speak primarily to the AP and we heard her saying how she walks often around the garden at a brisk pace. What nonsense. She hasn’t been near the garden for months, it has been too cold and too wet for a lot of the time and as for being brisk, well even more nonsensical but why not be honest and just say that. Sadly it’s all part of the fictitious image the AP insists on projecting.
We do understand her need to try to be ahead of the game, or rather her game but at some point some true honesty and acceptance would go a long way with just a hint of grace thrown in for good measure.
I dread anything that arises to do with the AP’s finances, in particular the income tax she has to pay on her rented property. She has always been convinced she doesn’t need to pay any and every year when it comes to payment we go through the same rigmarole as the three previous years. We explain everything again and again and she gets more and more unpleasant as she obviously thinks we know nothing and couldn’t possibly be right either.
The AP has absolutely no grace and every time things are patiently explained to her she tells us she didn’t know these facts before and now its all clear, until next time when once again the whole scenario is repeated. She never ever says thank you for the effort made to handle all her affairs.
This lack of understanding would be easier to deal with if she was more accepting of her limitations instead of pretending she is so capable and mentally alert. I can understand that she is frustrated by being so old and forgetful but she does not help herself by talking over us all the time and telling us we haven’t told her anything. The implication of course is that everybody is out to fleece her and that must include the LSO and myself. That would be laughable if it didn’t hurt so much. The AP is basically a bully and I think always has been and her response to any adversity is to attack. She has kept this side of her nature well hidden, well from me anyway but I can only think that the deterioration of the old grey matter, through the ageing process, has stripped away the veneer of sweetness revealing a sour little monster that has lurked there all her life. She does make some effort to be a ‘dear old lady’ but these occasions are becoming less frequent and in fact are rather unpalatable as we know they are false and won’t last.
Astonishingly she seems to resent that we have done more than her in our lives and know more than her too. I am unable to comprehend this attitude; the LSO and myself are proud that all our family members have exceeded anything we have achieved and feel no resentment or jealousy, just relief and pleasure that they have done and are doing so well in life.