My other gran and papa, dad's parents, lived near my primary school, I rarely went there through choice, I had loads of friends in their street and liked to go out to play there but that was about it. I only recall staying overnight once. It was a strange house, there was Aunt Isobel's room, I remember there was a doll that lay on her unused bed, she lived in Spain and I didn't know her then, I was to small to remember her, she was the youngest of the 4 siblings, Auntie Grace, who was the oldest, lived in Zambia with her family, a husband and 2 daughters, my big cousins, so I didn't know her then either and Auntie Evelyn, the second youngest, she was married with a son and 2 daughters and I knew her well. There had been twins born, but they had both died, for some reason at 6 weeks old sticks in my head, but that could be inaccurate. Gran and papa had a 'scottie' dog called Blackie, I was terrified of Blackie, he barked and snapped and slept behind the tele, I was always reassured by my gran 'he won't touch you' as he was biting at my ankles, this was not reassuring. I did not feel comfortable there, it was like being left with strangers, I could only describe the house as cold in both atmosphere and emotion. I may have been loved, but I was not at home there. I remember on the night I was to stay over there was a bird nest outside the back door, my gran showed it to me and told me I was not to tell anyone so that the baby birds would not be frightened, I showed my friend next door, who then showed her brothers. My gran was very angry, she did not shout and I don't remember what she said but it made me cry and I went to bed feeling lonely and wanted my mum. My papa was a man a few words but I'm sure he had something to say that night.
During a refurbishment of their house, they were decanted into a caravan just around the corner from their house. I went to see them more often, I liked the caravan. They then moved into a newly built 2 bedroom flat down the road from us as they were getting older and the 3 bedroom house was a bit much for them, by this time Isobel was back from Spain and married a nice man and Grace back from Zambia, we always went to my grans on the 2nd January for a family gathering, I liked it then, I got to stay up very late. I liked my Aunt Evelyn she was more motherly and I felt closer to her then anyone else in the family.
Mum and dad had a blazing row one night and mum called gran, I remember a few occasions mum had tried to call, but dad had stopped her, it wasn't easy on a dialling phone, not like now when you can push the buttons in silence. She must have been afraid, I was not aware of any violence it was all psychological threats, his favourite being 'I'll put that chip pan on and burn this fucking house down one night' she would lie awake on the nights where we had chips to go with the dinner. Gran and papa came, it was the middle of the night and they were none to pleased, I was up, of course, I don't know what was said but my papa reduced my father to tears, I was bewildered, my dad in tears! My dad was not happy that his parent had been.
Mum got a part time job when I went to school and a full time job when I was 8, granny gave up her work, she would be 58, she came to our house every day, she kept the house, went shopping and was there for me coming home from school and during school holidays, she made the dinner for mum coming home and would have her dinner with us, leaving enough for dad to reheat when he came home from the pub, then she would make her way home on the train, often on a Friday night I would go home with her and spend the weekend there. We had a spell of living there for a few days during another separation period but as usual we went back.
Granny decided she wanted to be closer to us, the travelling was becoming too much, she went to the council to put her name on the housing list but they said she couldn't as she was not living in the area, so she bought a residential caravan in the area and her name went on the list. She could now walk to our house. It was a great arrangement, the house was well kept, gave granny a purpose and some money in her pocket and I could stay at home during the holidays and play with my friends. Eventually granny was offered a flat which was half way between the caravan and our house, I never imagined this would be the place she would eventually have to leave as she would be unfit to look after herself.
Over the years the arguments became more frequent and more heated, my father would come home and if the dinner didn't suit he would make a point of wakening my mother to tell her, not that she had made the dinner, that was granny's job and nor would she have been sleeping either if chips were on the menu. He would shout and swear and threaten, 'I'll put you through that f'in windae' as I got older he hid the arguments less, he would not stop when I entered the room. How things change, he had protected me when I was younger, my mum had to try and protect me even more now. She would often come into my room during the night and snuggle in beside me, simply as she could take no more and new that he would not disturb me.
As a mother I know what I would do to protect my children, my mother lived on her nerves, trying to keep life as normal as possible for me, I would often ask if they were going to divorce, my dad always answered, no, the thought of them not living together made me upset, this must have added pressure to my mother as I'm sure all the times when we went to the safe haven that was granny's house I would have eventually asked to go back. My mums self esteem was at an all time low, she lived in robotic mode. I am angry at my father for putting my mother through this, although I did not realise that then.
One negative point that has come out of this is my refusal to argue in front of my children or argue at all, I did argue with hubby before we got married and after, but not once the children came along. I do shout at my children, don't get me wrong, but I will not subject them to arguing parents saying things that cannot be taken back. This does not sound a negative point but I fear it is, I tend to huff and then things that should have been said are swept under the carpet resulting in feelings being kept bottled up, be it good or bad. The hubby and I have been married for over 11 years for 10 of those years we have had children, I can't imagine life without him, he is not a 'discuss your feelings' kind of bloke, but he would be if I had allowed him to be, he reduces me to tears when he says simple sincere things like 'I don't deserve you' usually when he's had 'a few' I find it so difficult to respond and I don't know why. I tell my children loads of times a day that I love them and they do likewise, but can I say these 3 wee words to my husband? I know he loves me, he knows I love him, it's an unspoken understanding. Our marriage is a good one. I can't say the words, well I can after quite a few drinks! Is it a fear if I let out those words he might break my heart? Might reject me? I am reduced to tears when he tells me he loves me, so he doesn't he just uses the kisses and cuddles like I do to verify our love.
3 simple words leave me broken.