Am I Sheep or Goat: 2013 365 Challenge #129

Feeding the Goats

Feeding the Goats

We went back to Old Farm (Sacrewell Farm) today and it was lovely. I selected it because of suspected rain (there’s more to do indoors) and because I needed to be home mid afternoon for the shopping delivery.

The children have been hankering for New Farm (West Lodge) but I think that’s the novelty factor. I’m enjoying the familiarity of Sacrewell and the timely reminder that new isn’t necessarily better.

It’s too easy to let familiarity breed contempt or to need there to be a better and less better in everything. I think that’s preschooler behaviour rubbing off (or maybe they’re like that because of me). It’s like parenting, when one person’s way needs to be better than another’s: we can’t all just be different.

I filled out all the school forms this morning for daughter’s start in September and it was hard not to be swept up into the parental discussions and to be swayed by the opinions of others. I guess that’s only going to get harder the older the children get. Mostly I’m okay with my choices but when there are parents, teachers and other professionals telling me otherwise, how will I fare? Will I stick to my guns, as I did today bringing the children to Old Farm against protest, or will I be swayed by majority opinion, strong personalities or the will of others? Will I be a sheep or a goat? Hmmm might be time to learn some of my children’s stubbornness!

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Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:

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“How are Francesca and the boys?”

Robert looked up from his coffee as if the question surprised him. “Fine. They’re fine.”

He looks uncomfortable? What’s that all about? “Did they come with you?”

“No.” The word shot out like a bullet. “No,” he said again, more softly. “Can’t take the boys out of school, you know.”

Claire tried to work out how old Jack and Alex were, and realised she had no idea. How can I not know the ages of my own nephews? I really am a rotten Auntie.

They sat in silence, sipping coffee and watching hospital staff stride in for their takeaway caffeine. A pocket of strained calm surrounded them and Claire was glad for her heavy eyes and foggy brain. There was no urge to fill the emptiness with conversation. Not that I’ve ever figured out what to say to Robert. You’d think by our age, a six-year gap between us would be irrelevant. Sometimes it feels like a hundred-year gap.

She looked at Robert, his uncrumpled shirt buttoned to the collar, despite the early hour and long journey. He looked like a nineteenth-century doctor, not a twenty-first century businessman. Whatever it is that he actually does over there in Geneva. I have no idea about that either.

“How is Ruth?”

Robert’s question startled her, and she spilt coffee across the table. Keeping her eyes focussed on mopping up the spreading liquid, Claire shrugged. “How much do you know?”

“Only what Mum told me on the phone, yesterday. That the cancer has spread and they need to change her treatment.” His matter-of-fact tone set Claire’s nerves on edge. She raised her head, about to expostulate, and saw the red tinge surrounding his eyes.

Dropping her head back to the table, away from the horrific image of her brother close to tears, Claire shrugged again. “You know as much as I do, then. I guess we’ll know more later, when the doctor has done his rounds.” In her mind she added, When you have spoken to the doctor. What were big brothers for, if not to deal with the authorities. Claire felt queasy at the idea of discussing her sister with the intimidating people bustling around the building. She waited, hoping Robert would pick up on her unspoken vibe.

“Right. I will speak to her doctors and discover what the situation is. Leave it to me.”

A week ago his assumption of control would have irritated her: Now she felt a rush of relief. For the first time in a very long time she was content to be treated as the baby of the family.

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2 thoughts on “Am I Sheep or Goat: 2013 365 Challenge #129

  1. Sometimes I think how easy it would be to be a sheep. But I’m very much a goat!

    Stick to your guns. You know your kids best, and if you feel you’ve made the right choice, then stick with it!

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