That letter

>>  Monday, September 11, 2017

When I was 7 years old my mother had a very serious operation.

I was aware it was serious but I don't recall being massively stressed about it but then my father had always been ill and I expected him to die every day so worry had probably pretty much become normal and I disassociated from it.  (I'm still a lot like that now sadly with other people's health issues, except Cog.)

I was sat playing with my brother's chemistry plastic drawing template thingy.  I don't know how to describe it really, it had cut out chemistry equipment like test-tubes and flasks to draw around for your homework.   I drew a picture using it and coloured it in.  I remember very clearly thinking it could be given to my mother even though it was all chemistry and not really a drawing for a mother at all and I wrote a letter to go with it.

It was a dull letter and in a last ditched attempt to inject humour I added "ps you did not give me last week's pocket money"  I thought it was funny both because I didn't normally get given pocket money anyway and I thought it showed her she didn't need to worry that I was worried because a comment like this showed I wasn't worried (!), but it was meant in a kind, funny way, I thought we would all chuckle about it later at how it had lightened a dark moment.

It was an early discovery of my talent to pitch things just off point and fail to produce the right words at the right time and how, when mixed with my dark sense of humour (that also developed early), the proverbial shit would always be flying off my personality fan.

When she made me a photo album for my 21st birthday the letter and drawing were in there so I now have it back.

So why do I bring this up now  I hear you ask?

Because my mother will on occasion mention that first serious operation and every damn time she reminds me of the letter and says quite seriously "and you asked me for pocket money whilst I was so ill, you'd have thought you would have cared about me not money" and for 40 years I have sucked it up and occasionally muttered it was meant kindly.

This week I finally flipped my lid and reminded her that I was 7 years old, that it was meant kindly, that it was a joke, that it was meant to make her laugh and would she just mind shutting the fuck up about it after 40 years and never ever ever mentioning it again.  She appeared to finally get the message and apologised.

So now I am burdened with double letter/picture guilt - the original guilt and now the residue "I made my mother feel bad about it by telling her how I felt about it" guilt.

Garrrrrrr...why are parent/child relationships so complicated?!


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