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Monday, 18 July 2016

Monthly Musing - July 2016 - Waiting

Traditionally, it has always been the women who have waited.  From the earliest recorded times to the present day, the mothers, wives and sisters have been the ones to stay at home and watch their menfolk leave for battle, on fishing ships, down the pits and to a host of other dangerous jobs, not knowing if they will return.

Nowadays, it’s not just the men who leave family waiting behind, and it’s not always for dangerous reasons that they go.  We wave our loved ones off on holidays, to university, to jobs and homes in other parts of the country because that’s the way our world works now.  Transport connections allow us to zip up and down the motorways and along railways lines in ways that our ancestors could never have imagined.  Internet connections allow us to talk to our families on the other side of the world and our anxieties in waiting for them to return are lessened as we are able to be in touch with them on a daily basis.

Or are they?  Do we ever stop worrying, even if only in the backs of our minds?  My husband jokes about my “inner sheep dog” and my need to know that my flock is safe, wherever they are.  Is it a Mummy thing?  I don’t know the answer to that one but I do know that I am far happier when I know that my family members are all present and correct.

Big daughter is just starting her second week in Peru, so she is half way through her travels.  The time has gone much more quickly than I expected and we have had several messages from her to let us know that she is safe and having a wonderful time.  We know that she loved working on her social project (so much so that there were tears all round when they left) and that this weekend she is trekking high in the Andes.  I am hugely thankful for even the short contact that we have had, knowing that it was much worse in times gone by when no news was good news and a telegram could only bring heartache.

Despite this, there is still a part of me that wonders every day if big daughter is happy and if she is safe.  I don’t think that I would be able to turn that off even if I wanted to.  I think it is something that is inbuilt into all of us to a greater or lesser extent and not just exclusive to mothers, even though historically we have always been the ones left behind.  Our bonds to those we love are stronger than gender roles and society’s expectations.  In two weeks’ time, all being well, we’ll be at the airport to meet big daughter and hear her stories first hand.  It’s something that we’re looking forward to very much, but in the meantime we will do what families have done for centuries; we will count the days and wait.


14 comments:

  1. The 'inner sheepdog' ; what an apt expression. If think it's the essence of motherhood that we do continue to worry about our off spring wherever they are. The moments of relief are immense when we have chatted to them or just received a basic text. The ease of travel in our modern world means they go far and wide. But modern communication at least makes it more bearable. Safe travels to your daughter. She will be home before you know it :) B xx

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    1. Thank you! It's been great to know that she's having a lovely time and the time is passing at a pace that feels just about right xx

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  2. I think it's definitely a mum thing. My mum has always told me that you never stop worrying about your children no matter how old they are, I know I haven't stopped worrying about my two yet. Glad to hear that your daughter is having a wonderful time, I'm sure it'll be a trip that she remembers for the rest of her life.

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    1. I think that your Mum is right; I can't see a day when I would ever stop wondering what my girls are up to, even when they're old and grey (which would make me about 120, but never mind!) :-) xx

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  3. Oh Christine your post hit home in a big way today. My youngest boy (11 years old) has gone off on a school trip this morning for 4 days and 3 nights! He's gone on 2 night trips before but never 3!!! Am not sure how much sleep I will get but I'm already missing him hugely and am worrying about all the things that could happen..... I guess you're right and that it's in-built in all us women. I call it the Maternal Switch - it gets flicked on the day you give birth and can never be switched off. We just have to live with it. Love & hugs. x

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    1. Oh, I hope your boy has a wonderful time away, Laura, and I hope you do get some sleep whilst he's away - after all, we all did things without our parents and survived but somehow that seems to get forgotten when it comes to our children! The Maternal Switch - that's a very good name for it, and I think you've got it absolutely right! xx

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  4. I agree it is a mum thing. My mother is in her 90's and says she still worries about my older brother, who is a granddad! Funnily enough she says she does not worry about me but then she sees me everyday so that must make a difference. So glad you have heard from your daughter and she is having a wonderful time. What an amazing adventure and experience that will stay with her throughout her life.

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    1. Yes, seeing you every day must make a difference; I wonder if those people who end up living with their children worry about them in the same way - perhaps the Granny flat idea isn't just for keeping an eye on the Granny! xx

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  5. I remember restoring the nursing chair I had when my daughter was a baby while she was in Peru, just to keep busy. Back then in 1999 email was not as ubiquitous as now and there was one girl in the group who had a Hotmail account. Halfway through the trip, they ALL emailed home on that one account! I stuck that email on the noticeboard and read it every time I passed it! You never stop worrying about your children - mine's 35 with children of her own and I have to bite my tongue so often!
    Glad she's enjoying it so much.

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    1. It makes you realise how technology is changed and how it is so integrated into our lives these days, doesn't it? Occupying our hands definitely helps I think, though instead of restoring chairs I'm knitting more socks! xx

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  6. On the theme of knitting socks whilst waiting, I've just reread "Rilla of Ingleside", the 8th book in the Anne of Green Gables series. It's set in Canada during World War 1, and is full of references to the women knitting socks. The author lived through WW1,and it has the ring of truth in the details. I think of myself as a fast knitter, but I am stunned by one of the characters - who works full-time as a housekeeper - setting herself the target of "a sock a day". I might manage to knit a sock in a day but I wouldn't get anything else done!

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    1. Goodness, I couldn't see myself knitting a sock a day either! I didn't know there were 8 books in the Anne of Green Gables series - I've read the first 3 and I thought that was it! xx

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  7. I feel your pain Christine! It doesn't get any easier either I don't think the more times they go!! My daughter went studying at Beijing University, and it was taking five days for an email to get through, absolute nightmare! Now I only hear from her if there is something wrong, so I have to assume no news is good news !! She is in my thoughts everyday! Seeing them again makes it all worth while ;-)) Keep busy hun xxx

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    1. Goodness, that certainly puts my four weeks without big daughter into perspective - how on earth do you manage?! Luckily for us, she's back on Wednesday and we're REALLY looking forward to seeing her! xx

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