Please don’t, not always, don’t always see the world through my eyes…

I saw a post on called Words of Wisdom. It said “Always try to look at the world through your children’s eyes.”

I can attest that I’ve always tried to do that with my own son, not just to see the world through his eyes but to hear it the way he hears it and feel it the way he feels it. Sometimes I sense things correctly, sometimes I miss the subtle nuances. I’ve never been a guy, I have no real experience from a guy’s perspective so it takes a lot of practice and I’m not always quick to learn. Theres a level of mutual understanding that has to be nurtured over a long time. We’ve managed pretty well but we’ve been working at it 19 years and it’s still a work in progress.

But this quote, “Always try to look at the world through your children’s eyes” well I’m coming a bit unstuck with it at the moment.

You see, when it comes to me and my Dad I don’t want him to have to see the world through my eyes right now. I probably don’t want him to have to see it the way I see it for the next 2 years, maybe even longer.   I know he does and I know he’ll carry on because he’s an amazing man, so much empathy, compassion, soul. But I don’t want him to have to see this, not through my eyes.  Because he’s seen it too many times before. He saw it with my Mum and her sister and there was nothing beautiful, no happy ending, it was simply hard, harsh, then downright cruel and spiteful.  He saw in a slightly different guise – same malady, different places – with his Dad, my Grandfather (another good and gentle man) and then he bore witness for his favourite cousin. No happy endings there either.

And now it’s me, his daughter, it’s me bringing the deep, dark shadow back to his door again. And I sit awake at night asking myself what the hell has my Dad done to deserve this?  He’s a good man, he’s spent his whole life saving other people’s lives. When does he get a break from all this sh*t? Of course I know I’m never going to get answers to these questions. I know they’re futile. But it doesn’t stop them being real.

Maybe, just maybe, as his only daughter with no daughters of my own, this will finally bring the chapter to a close. I will win my fight and there’ll be no more shadows over the door way, no more long dark corridors, no more walking home to an empty house.  But right now, because it’s here, because the shadow is over the doorway again, I ask respectfully and out of kindness, to my Dad, my family and my friends, “please don’t always try to see the world through my eyes.” Because the last thing I want to do, to any of you, is hurt you.

Cat woman on the hill

My son calls me the cat woman on the hill, it’s a term of endearment as well as factually accurate. We live on a high hill overlooking seven counties.  It’s a breath-taking vista on a clear day if you enjoy rural landscapes.  On misty/rainy days we’re up in the clouds so can’t see further than 100 metres, sometimes less. Anything remaining visible looks supernatural and eerie, jutting at random from the murky greyness. In the winter we get snow, often whole drifts wrapping the countryside in a pristine blanket of loveliness. It’s a great place to live with plenty to be inspired by as the seasons change. I love it here.

We (well mostly I) also have cats.  I once joked that I would be happy living with a cat of every colour.  I’ve made a reasonable attempt at this objective, adopting strays, re-homing unwanted kittens and purchasing a Norwegian Forest cat. My ‘official’ cats include tortoiseshell, white, ginger, blue, dark brown, black and grey/white/ginger mix.  As well as official residents, there are unofficial residents including a fat marmalade cat, fluffy tortoiseshell and big black with bushy tail. I’ve no idea who they belong to but they seem to enjoy visiting.  Because I’m happy adopting cats of unknown origin my son sometimes calls me the mad cat woman on the hill; it’s still a term of endearment. And anyone who has ever lived in a rural area will know cats are essential when it comes to keeping rats and mice at bay. These little critters do a lot of damage to garden sheds, garages and car engines. I don’t like the cats killing them and finding bits of rat is not my favourite past-time, but it’s more natural than using poison. And mice/rats can smell cats so tend not to come too near.

It’s sometimes said that cats are unfriendly, capricious and detached.  I like them because they’re curious, affectionate (mine would rather have human attention than food) and graceful.  They’re also engaging, playful and they cuddle up to you in a knowing kind of way when you’re feeling a bit ropey.  One of the downsides of my current situation is that they can’t cuddle up to me because I can’t afford to pick up an accidental scratch.  So my cats and I gaze at each other through the conservatory doors and touch paws either side of the glass.  I’m sure it’s as confusing for them as it is for me. Fortunately they seem pretty tolerant and it looks as though they’ll wait around for playtime until I’m well again. In the interim they have Zub to keep them amused (though he doesn’t enjoy rat clean-up duty either).

I’m not sure I ever intended to be the cat woman on the hill – mad or otherwise – but I’m glad I am. I’m glad I’ve given a warm home to these fascinating felines.  They ask very little of me but provide a good deal of comfort, pleasure and amusement albeit with the occasional unwanted rat-tail thrown in for good measure. I can’t wait until we’re on the same side of the glass again 🙂

Cat woman/mad cat woman/winter here

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