Daughter called at 9 am on Tuesday morning. Can I come over for the day? I just want to chill. She has argued with people at home, and wants an escape for a while. For daughter, you see, has just passed her driving test, and is now mobile. Despite our advice to save up for something better, she went out with her meagre budget and bought a car that same day, a clapped out old banger. We can’t really say anything, we both did exactly the same. Driving is a big deal – I was fortunate enough to fly through academic challenges, but my Driving Test was the first thing I ever failed.
So, daughter has been here since Tuesday. She feels that she has a right to be here. I feel that she is imposing. After events gone by, I don’t feel I have any responsibility to her. It’s not as if she has even been confrontational – not to me at any rate – but, you know when someone is sofa surfing in your house? I’d like my lounge back. When I go in there at 7 am each morning with my cup of tea, I’d rather not feel like I’m turfing someone out of their bed.
There was some altercation last night, over something as trivial as the gym. One of them went without telling the other. For that, my wife was told that she was the worst mother in the world. Not just told, but texted. That’s not on. Especially when you’re staying in their house, under their roof, at the time. That’s just the way I am, daughter says. Sorry, but not here. If you want to stay here, you’ll have some respect the people who live here. I did point this out to her, and said it was better that she went home today. She twists it, as though I’m the bastard here. She can say what she wants, but I’m the bastard. If I am a bastard, if mum really is the worst mum in the world, then just don’t come. Tell us to piss off, tell us we’re wankers. Go live your life. Leave us alone. Words have consequences, something daughter never worked out.
She said that everything was made up, but I think it is still better that she goes. In any case, it is not really made up to wife’s satisfaction. For me, it’s that words were said in the first place. Subsequent words don’t matter. You can’t un-say something.
All of this is uncomfortable. It takes me back to those years with an unruly teenager, that pressure pot which was finally released when she left. She has not changed, not a bit of it. But back then, we had no choice other than to let the pressure grow and grow until the explosion. Now, we do have that choice.
I feel – I wish – I should be more tolerant. I interact (especially on here) with people who have mental health issues, I like to think I even get on well with people. I try to empathise, but I have no real idea what they’re going through, except that they have their demons exactly as I have mine. We’re all damaged somehow. But when it is there, in my face….let’s say I do have my fair share of experience of living with someone with mental health issues. And, I have to worry about my own health first and foremost. A few months after all the big trouble with daughter, the trouble which resulted in her moving out, I suffered a stroke. Something must have caused it.
And her cat. She tells me that somebody is going in to feed her, but a cat needs more than just food. It needs company, love and attention. My daughter doesn’t see that, but in this respect I’m certain. I’ve lived with cats my whole life. By extemsion, she too has lived with cats her whole life (or most of it), yet she doesn’t understand that.
So that’s where we are. A Friday morning, chilly but sunny outside. Daughter is now sound asleep in the bedroom, seemingly not a care in the world. I am left, stressed out on the sofa, wondering when she will go home.