I actually began writing this at around half five this morning, rising from a horrible night’s — you could hardly call it sleep since I seemed to be awake for most of it — tossing, turning, snorting and worrying. Feeling hopelessly lost.
Things had really got on top me and I went to bed early to try and sleep on through to some kind of miraculous enlightenment, or at least a new perspective that would let me appreciate the light of the new day. Hoping against hope things might somehow be different, better.
But it’s still dark outside, and in.
I know I have more than alluded here before to my ongoing woes in the parenting department. Dealing badly with a 12-year-old boy and an almost 14-year-old daughter.
Feeling sorry for myself, and cranky all day yesterday, this horrible analogy regarding some of the carry on with our kids just popped into my head: it’s like someone shitting on you, you have to wipe that shit up, and then deal with a tirade of abuse for having caused them to shit on you.
There I’ve said it, the unvarnished, pathetic, victimy whine of a failure. But it’s what I feel. All the positives, the good stuff I do seem taken for granted, expected even, and every fault or less than perfect response jumped on and added to the list of grievances stuffed into the hurt locker, to be taken out and examined in my daughter’s hideaway teen apartment upstairs. My son usually throws a few F words — yes, the bad F word, Father — and I have also been given the finger. The anger and the hurt I feel then I will not try to describe.
For my daughter, it’s raw material for woe-is-me reflections on Snapchat and lines in her notebook, composed while she languishes across those gorgeous throws and cushions on her bed — all provided by my wife and I, but sure that’s what any parent would do — those flawless angry cheeks and lustrous locks glowing in the tasteful mood lighting.
The irony is not lost on me that I am engaging in pretty much the same thing: composing my own lines on a computer screen, only under the harsher light of so-called adult responsibility. So also, in long moments of despair such as this one, I too am only seeing the negative side of behaviours and attitudes. And I am also the cause of them, or at least have some responsibility.
Not the old Irish Finance Minster Brian Lenihan-type responsibility whereby you agree in principle that you have faults, but stoutly dispute each individual manifestation detractors dare to bring up. On the mature reflection patented by Lenihan’s old man, also Brian, maybe I too dispute my own manifestations. As my temperature and temper rise.
The real truth is I actually cannot see clearly anymore regarding who is right or wrong and more pertinently, what we can do about it.
I seemed to shout a lot yesterday at the kids, and even at my wife, which they all let me know about. And just like the shit analogy, there I was angry at them for making me shout. Their fault.
One family therapy session months back was an unmitigated disaster as our daughter said we all just ganged up on her and she never wanted to be there in the first place, and never again, you hear me, never again!
In the middle of all this, I somehow found myself drifting away and thinking of yesterday’s Man City versus West Ham match on Sky, and the day’s sport. I have always loved sport, and even now I read all the guff about Jose Mourinho’s tiffs, and how Ciaran Donaghy will be giving it another year with the Kerry footballers and all the rest.
I often think that sport still has a morality and a reason to it unlike the real world antics of Trump and the North Korean rocket man, crooked Garda breathalyser tests and forgetful — hah! — Defence Ministers, and Brexit and, for all my lifetime, talk about the North that drones on and on and on. Like a dire July 12th marching band in Ballylambaydrum or some such dreadful place.
Sport inspires a passion and a conviction in me unlike all those other important matters. Like if a Premier League manager fecks up he gets the sack; dodgy Garda Commissioners or crooked civil servants here seem to end up with a big lump sum and a great pension. Okay, the football boss gets a big pay off but you know what I mean! No on ever seems to fess up and say, yes, I did wrong. Does anyone ever anymore? So why should our kids do so, maybe?
Writing this, however moany, however abject does help. And here again I am back at my desk, having spent the last hour putting on the heating, letting the dog out, preparing breakfast stuff for all, giving both kids an equal hug of the dog in bed before rising … the usual stuff, expected. The sun is up. Like Beckett said, I can’t go on. I’ll go on.