It was Drummer boy’s last exam today…maths in the morning and then English. He had taken the precaution of bringing a bottle of beer with him to the exam, in order to celebrate afterwards, and, in the car at 7 am this morning, he confided his worries that it might clink on the stone floor when he put his bag down. I tried to imagine the same conversation with my own mother when I was his age on my way to my A levels, and failed absolutely. Will there ever be another generation where the change was as radical between parents and children as happened between the fifties and the sixties?
It would have been my mother’s 86th birthday on the 24th of June. She had me late in her life (for those days), at the age of 31. She suffered from post natal depression afterwards, from what I can gather. She was bi-polar, like me. I went through the usual teenage angst, felt undervalued, undervalued her, rejected her and was rejected, and confused the order in which these things happened. On reflection, I was an appalling, wild and inconsiderate rebel. A quick brain, like hers, but educated, unlike her and thanks to her. I went to university, unusual for those in my social class at that time.
In my late twenties we met as polite strangers and slowly rebuilt something, but there was always a distance that I didn’t understand. It was only just before she died that I realised how much she did love me and how much I regretted not knowing her better. Can we ever really know our parents?
Here she is…
3 days ago