Monday, 4 August 2008

The Importance of Family

We watched an old video of The Darling Buds of May the other night which is like comfort food to me. The perfick life of a mad but loving family, always getting into scrapes that Pa Larkin usually manages to get them out of.

For those of us who don’t have children, and live far from our siblings (Sussex and Surrey are both a significant distance from Cornwall), it is possible to forget the importance of family. We don’t have children on hand to remind us.

So it was all the more special yesterday to see my older brother and his family who are staying in Cornwall. The children are 17, 16 and 13 and the youngest has recently been singing in a choir in Venice and playing soccer in Denmark. A far cry from trips to the beach when I was a child. But I adore all the children in different ways, for they are very different people, growing up to be very intelligent, well mannered beings with a rich interest in life.

I used to be very close to my brother and his wife, before the girls were born, and even when they were little. Then I met Himself and moved to Cornwall and they had another child and were caught up in that - and work and – well, now we only get to meet once a year. If that.

It’s difficult finding the right time to ring them and usually they leave the answerphone on anyway. My brother tends to ring when he’s stuck in a traffic jam. But I’ve found that I am more sensitive to their sensitivities, which means that quite often I don’t say what’s bothering me. Like, knowing that they’ve had a hard time workwise (ie financially) over the years has made me shut up about our own money worries. We have a lot less money but we don’t have a big mortgage or three children to bring up. My sleeping problems have been mirrored in theirs. But at least I work at home and don’t have to get into a car and drive miles to get to work. I can write in my nightie if I want. Our worries don’t equate.

Our work is very different, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s another difference. And sometimes, when we haven’t met for a while, I wonder if we have anything in common - other than shared blood?

Yesterday that answer came back loud and clear. YES! Despite the rain (it’s rained all week, poor things) and the fact that they were all suffering from a lousy cold, we had a wonderful two hours. There wasn’t enough time to talk to them all as much as I wanted to, but we had a flavour of them which made me long for more. It made me understand once more the importance of family, (and made me wish, oh wish that we’d had children, but we won’t go there). I wished also that we lived nearer, that we could be more involved in their lives.

But that’s life. Perhaps when the children are a bit older we can all get together more. That would be Perfick.

22 comments:

JJ said...

Oh that's all so true Flowerpot. Being in Bangkok, we miss the growing up of our neices and nephews too. I'm glad you had a lovely time with them.

I too love the Darling Buds of May.

Rebecca Taunton said...

I totally agree with that sentiment FP.

Poor things having the weather they did! It hardly stopped raining.

Flowerpot said...

jj - yes it must be a significant downside to living in Bangkok. Though I'm sure it has its advantages!

Flowerpot said...

RT - I know, it's such bad luck. I'm beginning to wonder if we'll ever get any decent weather.

ChrisH said...

That could be me and my sister - I feel I can't complain when we've 'escaped' to the country and she's up to her eyeballs with children/a responsible job/mortgage. I'm glad you had some time with your brother and his family.

Lindsay said...

We had a lovely weekend, Husband's brother and wife visited and we had a very jolly time - sadly we do not meet up very often.

Flowerpot said...

chrish - glad to find someone with similar sentiments! It was a lovely time it really was - but I'm greedy. I want more.

Lindsay - shame isnt it when we dont have time to see these people as much as we'd like.

Akelamalu said...

What a shame they had bad weather, still I'm sure they enjoyed getting together with Auntie Flowerpot. I'm quite lucky in that I see my brothers once a week because we live quite close, we all go to visit Dad on a Saturday with children and grandchildren in tow.

Pat Posner said...

Hi,
I keep seeing you on blogs I visit so came to visit you.
I loved The Darling Buds of May - you've made me want to watch it again now.
Our families are scattered, too, thank heavens for the phone and email; not the same as seeing them but better than nothing.

Miss Understood said...

Fortunately, my close family are all in the same city. Having said that, often a few months will pass without me seeing my brother. It's always lovely to catch up though.

I'm glad you managed to spend some time together :)

Flowerpot said...

Ak - that sounds a great arrangement! How wonderful. I am most envious.

Pat - good to meet you and glad to find another Darling Buds fan!

Flowerpot said...

MissU - in fact my brothers live quite near to each other and they hardly ever see each other because they're always too busy!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I bet when the kids are a wee bit older, they'll come to visit you all by themselves. So glad you had a good time.

Annie Bright said...

Hi Flowerpot,

What a lovely blog you have here. And you put your sentiments across so beautifully.

Your Mollie is gorgeous :-) And of course Buster too!

Flowerpot said...

Zinnia - yes, I'm looking forward to that day. One of them nearly did this year but hopefully next year...

Annie - good to meet you! And welcome to another Molly Mum!

wordtryst said...

There was a while there when my siblings and I were all in the early stages of our marriages/careers/child-rearing and we were somewhat out of touch.

It's a lot better now. My sister has become my best friend. I gave up my teaching job, so I'm a lot less stressed. My son is grown, I work for my brother's company part-time and I'm close to his children.

My point being that times change, children grow and become more independent, and sometimes the oldest and strongest bonds tighten once more.

Philipa said...

I'm glad you have family you like and who likes you. Not everyone is that fortunate and family can be the most crushing thing. because when the chips are down sometimes they are all you have. And if they let you down you learn the meaning of being alone. In fact it's worse than being alone because when you have family, strangers don't offer, they expect The Waltons and like The Darling Buds of May it was just a fairy story.

Flowerpot said...

wordtryst - yes you're right, times do change and so do people. I'm glad you are so close to your family now.

Flowerpot said...

Oh Phil. I am so sorry.

kissa said...

The weather has been truly wet and tenacity is what has enabled holiday makers to have a good time. Cornwall is a long way from everywhere one of my siblings is in Scotland but the other having just graduated is here for the moment. I too reside on the west side of The Tamar which is why I felt I should say hello.

Livvy U. said...

I wish that for you too, Flowerpot, that extra time for you to be with your all-important family members. This is such an honest,poignant post.
I am adding you to my blog's blogroll tonight,I do hope that's okay by you.
All best, Livvy

Flowerpot said...

Kissa - good to meet you. Where do you live? Hope to meet you again soon!

Thanks for that Livvy - I will do the same for you.