It’s all back to normal around her now… cooking for myself again. I love cooking but could quite get used to having someone else prepare all of my meals. I get how Oprah managed to lose weight and keep it off when she said she hired in a personal chef and handed over full responsibility for what she ate to him.
I’ve done so much walking this week, I’ve found muscles for climbing hills that haven’t been used in years. It’s so flat where we live that a hill is something of a rarity so I must remember to put some steep incline on the treadmill when I do my lazy jog every day to keep those muscles in use.
So the daughter is back to work and the son has just left in a whirlwind of racquets, sports bags, tins of balls and polo shirts to go to tennis practice for the first real time this season. The French Open is in progress which heralds the approach of Wimbledon and so begins a frenzied few weeks where English (rather British, mustn’t forget Andy Murray and all that) tennis courts see a serious upswing in visitors… weather permitting of course.
My son spends most of the summer playing tennis, he often leaves the house at 8 or 9 am and heads off with a bag full of frozen water bottles and a couple of pounds for lunch at the tennis club snack bar and comes home again at 7 or 8pm, a shade darker from the sun, sweaty and glowing with the vibrancy of a combination of youth and good honest outdoor slog type exercise, giggling as he recounts tales of the day.
Teenage boys seem to have it right, if I could come back as anything it would be a teenage boy. They just find life so easy and so much fun… everything is a source of amusement and wonder and they don’t seem to be aware of drama or fuss.
I wonder if that’s why my daughter spent her teen years in astonished bewilderment and with a deep sense of being an alien. She too had the mind of a teenage boy, she was a very simple teen, no drama, no conflict, no fuss, saw fun in everything and anything, was never bored, always content and happy in her own skin yet surrounded by pressures from society to be ‘a girl’. She is a girl in every sense of the word, but she was pressured to want to spend hours each day adorning herself with all manner of fakery and to be dramatic and full of angst and bitch and cry and be misunderstood and she really didn’t want any of that. She would recoil from involvement in the nastiness of teenage girlhood and was known as something of a saviour and spokesperson for the underdog at her school. Striding in to ball out bullies and to support kids who didn’t ‘fit in’, calmly reassuring them that they didn’t have to ‘fit in’ they should be happy being themselves, fitting in their own skins.
Ultimately then she built her strongest friendships with boys who she had a greater affinity with. To this day her very best friend in the world is her school friend from 10 years ago when they met in a maths class, both with a rep for being the maths genius from their respective primary schools and formed a strong bond which is just one of those that you know will endure for life.
I describe my daughter sometimes and realise that I was exactly the same… ditto all of the above for myself except I wasn’t a maths genius and met my enduring male friend in a cookery class… now ain’t that a surprise!
So I have a pile of marking to do, it seems my students have been working overtime this break and have been submitting work like their lives depended on it. I think they have finally realised that time is running out and coursework needs to be in if they are to actually pass anything. My pep talk just before the break worked then. I was aware of a few slackers and a little concerned that they didn’t appreciate what they were doing so gave them a rousing speech about being something or being nothing, about making choices, putting in the effort and giving yourself options. They were taken aback by my sudden change of approach from humanist to dictator in one breath… but then teaching is 80% acting and I’m good at that.
It’s life exactly as we know it then… all back to normal.