Saturday 11 April 2009

The selfish gene

Next Wednesday is Grandma in Wales' 80th birthday. That's a great achievement, especially as she remains as bright as a button and as sharp as a Sabatier carving knife. In any argument or discussion she's always been a fearsome opponent, and remains so to this day. Best not to engage. And she continues to dominate the home where she lives with the boy's 50 plus uncle in the way that you would expect of a Welsh Valleys matriarch. And she retains a cheery demeanour as she has done since the death of her daughter, the boy's mum, five years ago. She is stoic in the face of this terrible loss...a parent should never see the death of their child; sometimes I think she would have been better to let her grief out. But each person has to deal with grief in their own way.

She has made it clear that the traditional large party was not for her, but a smaller gathering of family would be just right. Not surprisingly her two grandchildren have been of the utmost importance over the last five years, so she's been looking forward to having them both down at the same time to celebrate her four score. So next weekend we journey west for a Saturday lunchtime celebration that has been organised for months.

Yesterday, whilst talking to Live at Home Uncle, I discovered that the boy's sister will not be there. Her father has decided to take her and her step brother away for the weekend to the Peak District. She will go instead on Wednesday. So I have been asked if I can take time off work from Wednesday so that the boy and his sister can be in Wales at the same time. It's not something I can do, and truth be told I'm not sure why I should. Perhaps I would if it was a one off - but its a pattern we've seen for the last five years and it makes my blood boil.

The boy won't go down by himself, because he's revising for his exams....and needs to catch up from his rather slack approach last term. So the celebration will be incomplete. Which is a crying shame.

The sister's father and family have an absolute disregard for any one other than themselves. But then this was a family that asked the estate trustees if the sister's inheritance could be used to build an extension on their house, and charged the girl rent from the moment she arrived full the tender age of 15.

The rather tardy compromise will work for no one, but no doubt between knowing glances at the table next weekend, the issue will, yet again, be brushed under the carpet.


  1. Family politics can be a nightmare. I wish you luck negotiating this problem.

  2. The delights of family ties. We always seem to expect so much and end up being so disappointed by our nearest and dearest.

    Good luck and hope it all works out somehow. And that the Grandma enjoys her birthday whatever and whoever.

  3. You know you're the bigger person and the boy knows it too x

    ps in a more lighthearted note, I am pleased to read in your sidebar that you and Andy are now friends, aawh sweet and I'm not going to be humpy that there was no such announcement when NB and auntie became friends ! x

  4. Tim- yes she had to work Saturdays in step mother's shop to earn it :-(

    Rosiero - mmm families!

    Madame - boying desptached to Wales on Wednesday...only mild protests

    Ag - no I'm quite small-minded actually..

    And I should mention I have done some housekeeping - I followed some blogs, bookmarked others and had some in my side all consolidated into the sidebar


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