Last Friday was not a great day. I expressed this, and some of the thoughts that it brought up, in a post. I was rather surprised by the reaction I got, mostly verbally, from those who love me. They were worried about me, sad for me and my husband described it as rather bleak. And yet I found it an experience which brought with it the hope born of insight and a new understanding; the powerful position of recognising a choice in my life which I had not seen previously and so I had felt at the mercy of circumstances beyond my control. It is not comfortable to acknowledge the decisions I make which are based on a image of myself which is not true, which I would like others to see or which is how I want to see myself.
There have been a couple of occasions this week when I have been faced with the same choice, and now that I have noticed this way of thinking, I can begin to unpick it. Would it be a good idea to commit myself and my children to becoming pony helpers once a week? This involved mucking out two stables and feeding the horses. In the winter this will be a cold hour-and-a-half's work. While my little girl quite likes horses, she is not pony-mad. My son quite likes the idea of the hard work, but we have plenty of that available in the garden. We would be on our own and the horses are too old to ride. As my best friend pointed out to me, I would hate it. So why am I even thinking of it? I like the idea of my children having passionate interests which will seed early and flourish in later life; I like the idea of being a super-supportive mum; I like the idea of being an 'outdoorsy' family.' The truth? My daughter is getting over a horsey phase, she quite likes to ride but it is not a consuming desire within her. She is not yet eight and there is plenty of time yet for her to find her passions. I am a pretty supportive mum with a slight tendency towards the pushy, my children may well benefit as much from me backing off. We live in an area with access to some wonderful parks and not far from the Surrey Hills, we have just got ourselves and highly energetic working cocker spaniel and there is as much opportunity for being outdoors as I would like, on my own schedule and completely flexible.
Would I like to cook a nut-roast for Christmas Day? I like nut roast but no-one else in my family cares much. So if I do, it will be for myself, if it will be a pleasure for me to cook and eat; if it will stress me and be a burden then there is no point. No-one will thank me, or appreciate the effort or think I am a wonderful cook.
So, what am I going to do? I will call the pony lady this morning and decline (and I have written her number in my address book just in case.) I will take my recipe book away with me and see how I feel on Christmas Eve.
New territory, little steps to freedom.
(I started out this post with the intention of answering the question which had been posted in the comments on 'Resentment. I have been pondering my response all week. It will be there in another post.)