The Grandmother

she doesn’t know what happened to the life she planned and hoped for

but somewhere on the route she lost her way

somewhere, over time, years voided girlhood and her reasons

while she watched and waited for those better days

those halcyon of yore that she was promised

by the fairy tales she’d heard and read, imbibed

where the prince is true and saves deserving maiden

and the perfect ending meets the perfect bride

instead she is the tarnished, disillusioned

more imprisoned now than then and saviours few

passed her way or loitered with intention

she was trapped inside and still the briars grew

confined inside a castle of contention

sojourner in a land that sees unveiled

every yarn that once began with once upon

nullifying happy ever after tales

a cinderella always, now grandmother

no fairy guardian to relieve the mess

pumpkins flourished, rats were rats and lizards reclined

there was no transformation, no new dress

surrogate to another willing victim

still the stories spun like threaded silk to bind

while she wondered what had happened, where salvation

where relief for careworn, worried mind

she fretted now and quite forgot to hope for

a future since her past had cast its spell

as she meditated where had all that time gone

then promises no more fables will she tell

she’ll let the child run ragged, even barefoot

oblivious to vows and promises that fail

she’s the mother of the son of errant daughter

and the child, though wild, is carefree, this tale tells

Virtual Conversations

Too little time to gather each memento,

Tokens only, second best, it’s true,

Each a valued part of all our yesterdays,

Virtual realities of you.

Here’s the service, china that you cherished,

Inside the case of glass so worldly old,

Incongruous among the modern,

Patina still polished, burnished gold.

There’s blue Willow Pattern, studied paintwork,

Aladdin’s lamp that took your fancy too,

Books on every subject that you purchased,

Read, shared, discussed, in nights where me and you

Sat up in the small hours drinking whisky,

Passion flying in between debate,

Nothing ever vetoed in discussion,

We didn’t know then time was running late.

Time, the bastard child of loving parents,

Belonging nowhere, orphaned while we muse

Each and every small memento looked on,

I’d swap them all for one more night with you.

My mother died five years ago, it’s not the anniversary of her death but she’s been in my mind a lot this while back. Dreams of her, conversations in the dreams, looks I know so well. Whenever this occurs I know there’s something I need to listen to, something I would have discussed with her, something that’s eluding my full understanding or something I’m ignoring. She was good on the somethings and the everythings. Nothing ever vetoed. Need to listen now. Or she’ll skelp my arse! And I’d welcome it for one more real conversation.

 

Child’s Day

No tears on waking,

one to keep

from words of love still running deep,

Two or more shall still be shed 

upon this day and those ahead

for mum-shaped love departed.

Daughter still,

though only name,

when both have gone, it’s not the same

Love shaped, parent-hearted.

I’ll never be an adult till

I forget, don’t miss them still,

Child-shaped, broken-hearted.

A rose or two I’ll lay today,

My children with me as I say

Goodbye, again,

Love and miss you always,

tears now started.

Funny how

the years betray

the child inside us, come what may,

 Children all, though parted.

Some tears I’ll spread for kids around,

some for others lost but bound

to heaven’s home where still they be

parents always to childlike me.

As children, how we started.

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK. To all children and parents, children still, for the love you have and give, be blessed.

In Praise Of Unique

Before there was liberation

There was salutation,

Supplication,

Fear.

Before there was liberation

There was sadness

Mixed with joy

And some tears.

Before there was liberation

There was angst

Filled with worry,

Too much noise.

Still, with the liberation,

Sadness, tears and worry

Don’t depart

But now they’re voiced.

 

For my beautiful daughter.

Heart of my life,

One of the seven.

One of the world.

Unique.

For our children.

All children.

All unique.

A Schoolboy’s Sins

Obsidian eyes

strip colour from his whipped soul,

volcanic centre

pulsing,

pushing,

thrusting

to tensioned skin and beyond.

His haloed aura

shooting sulphorous, searing flares,

purpled haze of rage, a scarlet maze,

nothing muted in violent

whippet thin lips

twsting, ‘fuck you’s’, to all,

his sundry, motley enemy

of stunned football laughter and giggling girls.

Absent abundant charm,

intelligence,

humor,

wit,

gone with his glorious smile.

All this,

in the shortest of longest moments

before the tears,

blind, burning anguish

of a silent voice,

forbidden to reveal

the cost no child will willingly pay.

So silent.

Then violent.

Souls warping nicely for future

atrocities.

Blessed, burnt souls –

the child sacrificed –

on the altar of adult

duplicity, supidity

and,

quite possibly,

the same reasonable rage.

All our sins.

May Music, Day 14 – ‘Damn Right I Support It’

Pick a song, says Twindaddy, that reminds you of your boyfriend/girlfriend, for day 14 of his 25 days of music challenge.

It’s been a long time since hubby or I could be described as boyfriend/girlfriend. Or boy and girl, for that matter.

So, I’m going with the prompt as a reminder that love knows no distinctions. In honour of all my children. And everyone else’s. Love is love.

boyfriend/girlfriend

boyfriend/boyfriend

girlfriend/boyfriend

girlfriend/girlfriend

All bases covered here. And it still looks and feels like love to me. It takes love to know love. Same Love, Macklemore.

May Music, Day 3 – Not Pished (Adult Content – but only slightly!)

No one was pished in the construction of this post.  Although, quite frankly, it’s taken me so long to answer Twindaddy’s third music question, I think I deserve to be.

And this should not have been as difficult as it proved to be. Two songs hit me straight off from my parents.

We often had nights when I was young where a sing-song erupted. My mother sang what I thought was called, ‘Like A Golden Dream’ to my dad when she was being all ‘lovified’. And he would tear up. I know. But that’s love for you.

Anyway, it’s not called, ‘Like A Golden Dream’, as some lengthy time trawling  the internet has proven. It’s called ‘Tosselli’s Serenade’ as far as I can tell. And I found an Italian version sung by Mario Lanza and an English version where the lady in question yodels in it. Yodelling may have its place in the world. But it’s not on my blog.

So you’re stuck with my rendition. If you can find an English version that doesn’t involve yodelling, let me know and I’ll replace mine. (Mibbe!)

Mum and Dad and her song to him

Now, for my dad’s song. This I was most surprised at. After a few jars of Guinness at these soirees my dad liked to pretend to be a bit on the drunken side – ok, he had been lubricated, somewhat – and sang ‘The Seven Drunken Nights’. Now, this is an Irish song and a lot of our music was Irish folk but my dad never sang all of the verses. We used to count out the days of the song and ask why there weren’t seven. My dad would wink and say that he or the guy in the song was too drunk to remember.

Upon researching this song for inclusion here, I now know why the 6th and 7th nights were never included. Auld bugger. No wonder he laughed every time we asked.

The original version was sung by The Dubliners but they were banned, apparently, from singing verses 6 and 7. A few versions of the two omitted verses have sprung up.

Now one version I came across was particularly lewd using a word that rhymes with sock. I’m going for this Irish version by Puca. And be glad I didn’t include my version of this one. 😉

 

 

 

Respect. There’s The Buzz!

I wrote this today when I came home from school. I’ve had a challenging couple of days. One, yesterday, with children who need and who get, from their dedicated workers, the love and care they need to grow and learn. A group of people I now have the utmost respect for; because I understand better. I don’t think I could do it on a daily basis. I was shattered after one day of special ed.

I almost decided not to post this because I felt it sounded a bit big-headed, as if, ‘aren’t I so good at this?’

But then I read this post. I understand where the thoughts are coming from and I agree with some of the matters pertaining to control being ousted from the hands of parents and teachers and children thereby feeling they can get away with just about anything. But then why not all children? Not all children act up or misbehave even though the same legislation governs all.

And I figured I disagreed strongly enough to want to share why I think children often act the way they do and how it can be overcome by very simple measures. I don’t have discipline problems with the many classes I take. These classes may have up to 33 children in them, the legal limit. And I put it down to giving and expecting respect. And walking that walk.

 

And so began another round,

Children lost and children found.

Those who try their best to please,

Those who want you on your knees.

 

And here lies where I do my best,

A daily sort of different test,

Where all who bring their many moods

Can be taught that good is good.

 

A mindful sort of joint respect

Expected, so you always get

A shift, a change in attitude,

A lifting of those many moods.

 

I love it when I have the chance

To encapsulate, in just one glance,

What is needed; I appraise.

Teaching has momentous days.

 

Another job I could not do,

So many different points of view,

But only one that’s worth its weight;

When love is shown they hesitate –

 

To bother with the nasty eyes,

The blaming culture, telling lies,

The arrogance that some may feel.

We get to basics, discover real.

 

And when you see the child within,

The innocence, the carefree grin,

Even those whose moods are black

Succumb to love and give it back.

 

Thirty years of doing this

I rarely shout or want to cuss

For children know, ‘cos they’re not blind,

That some there are who read their minds.

 

No hesitation if you feel

That here’s a job where, for real

You can make a difference if

You’re prepared to love and give

 

And, in return, (the pay’s not much),

The satisfaction’s such a buzz

When children know and find their way.

An enjoyable education day.

Whose Job Is It?

 

http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/how-the-internet-is-hurting-our-kids/  set me thinking and my response to her would be too long as a comment.

Is the Internet hurting our kids with expectations of instant gratification? Do parents enable irresponsibility in their children?

(Linda inserted a disclaimer, as do I. There probably is no exact right way but there still has to be an attempt at providing one.)

 

Perhaps there is an element of this but I can only speak from my own experiences with my own children.

They all have had access to the internet since I was able to make it available to them around 15 or so years ago. That was about the time we had our first internet capable computer, modem built in. Prior to that, the hand-me-down computer that we had was used by me and all of them for word processing, spreadsheets for work and some games that were onboard.

It’s difficult to imagine that such a relatively short time has passed and we have come so far in what computers are capable of and the multitude of social networking sites available for use. Not to mention the range of games and the graphics capability.

Each of my seven children, from the eldest at 24 to the youngest at 6, is well-versed in how to use the many programmes available. Most of that is self-taught. They have no fear of challenging capabilities, whereas my initial attempts were fear-filled at what I might erase or damage in my feeble attempts to become comfortable with technology.

They use the computer for school, work and social activities.

But they also read, play guitar, listen to music, watch movies, go outside to play, visit friends, play chess, have friends round, go to the cinema and a host of other activities that are not computer or internet dependent.

As far as depending on parents for financial support this is a matter that I have given a lot of thought to and have implemented various strategies with different degrees of success.

The general rule in our house is that the children are given pocket money up to the age when they can get a part-time/Saturday job. The pocket money has been a fixed amount or a flexible one depending on our circumstances. It is not dependent on doing chores but they are all expected to do some as well as keep their own rooms in order.

As soon as the children are of age to find part-time work (which is not always easily come by) they are then expected to buy their own clothes, provide for their own entertainment and any other extras. We still purchase their school clothes and necessities. They are expected to contribute £10 (15US$ 16C$)  a week from a part-time job to get them used to the idea that contributing to their upkeep is essential.

After they have finished full-time education and gone on to work in full-time employment, they contribute around £200 ( 310 US$ 326C$) per month for their upkeep. This is much less than they would be paying if they were in a flat or managing for themselves.

My eldest got her first part-time job at 16 and worked there until she started university. She then did auxiliary nursing in addition to her studies as a nurse and this helped fund her way through university. She still contributed at home. She is now in a flat with her fiancé and the two of them work and manage their home and know how to finance themselves, pay bills, save for holidays and so on.

My eldest son also had his first part-time job at 16 working for McDonalds. He moved from there to a warehouse job and kept that on while at university. He packed in uni as he hated the course and got a job working in a bank where he has done very well. After two years of working there he has decided to return to college and started just last week. He has kept on the bank work part-time and he still contributes.

My daughter at 20 started working in Cineworld about 3 or 4 years ago, part-time. When she finished school she did not want to go immediately to university so she went full-time for two years at Cineworld. She started the same college as her brother last week. She is in a flat with friends and pays her way there as she did when she was at home.

My 18 year old son has had one part-time job that only lasted a few months. He hated it and gave it up. I was not amused. He did a year’s course at college but now wants to get a job. He has an open evening visit at my other son’s work tonight.

My 15 year old has already asked me to help draft her skills CV in readiness for when she turns 16 to get part-time work while still at school for the next two years.

Until then, she and my younger children will be provided with everything they need. NEED not want. If they want something that I see as a possible nine days wonder or something very expensive then they are told to save up for the cost of half of it. If they manage to do this (from pocket money, birthday money, etc.) then I know they are serious about the desire and I pay for the other half of the item. In this way, over the years, various children have ‘received’ a computer/laptop/playstation/camera etc. It has happened, fairly often, that they stopped saving for the item and said they weren’t bothered any more. So, they don’t get it. If they had really wanted it, they would have saved for it.

With seven children, we simply could not afford to give into every wish and desire. We provide for everything they need but they have been and will continue to be taught to be responsible about all sorts of life lessons in order that they can, one day, join the world of independence with confidence and a sense of responsibility, as well as that all-important work ethic.

A long post, I know. What’s new from me, eh?

But, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are ready for the grown-up world. Not the schools’ responsibility. Not ‘society’s’ responsibility. Ours. And, if children are not expected to be responsible they’re not going to be. Would you?

It would be lovely, for a while, to be handed everything on a plate. But, those things that I have achieved greatest satisfaction from are those things I’ve felt I’ve deserved because I’ve worked for them. It is how I was taught. It is how I teach my own.