I had a long phone conversation with my parents this evening. Like many children I am often quick to be critical of my parents rather than celebrate them, to rail against their way instead of giving credit it. But I enjoy a really good, close relationship with my Mum and Dad and although it would be fair to say our life choices do not mirror theirs I cannot deny they have been influential in our choices over the years.
My parents were self employed small business owners for my entire childhood. They both used their skills, creativity and imagination to create careers for themselves outside of the world of salaries, company pensions and paid holidays. I was always really proud of both of my parents for this, they made their own hours, fitted in their work around my brother and I and we were part of their worlds as kids. Taken to work with my Dad in the back of his van, sat on a pile of dustsheets, surrounded by paint pots, brushes and the smell of turps and putty. My first job aged 13 was not a paper round or babysitting gig but learning all of the roles within my Mum’s restaurant from waiting tables and presenting a professional front to the great British public to the washing up and tea and coffee brewing in the middle kitchen to the world of commercial deep fat fryers, bulk catering of Sunday roast for 100 people and portion control of starters in the high pressure environment of the back kitchen.
I have not followed in their footsteps in many ways – Ady and I are a generation later than them with different priorities and different ways of doing things. We have placed great importance in this period of early parenthood and by Home Educating our children have curtailed our own career prospects and availability for work, choosing family time over all else. We have been less concerned with material gain and are content enough with less work and a caravan where my parents had worked harder and had a beautiful home by our ages.
My parents have not always fully understood or agreed with the many unconventional choices we have made, perhaps they have not always had faith in us to be able to accomplish everything we have set out for but they have always been behind us, providing a safety net if not a cheerleading team. Always there to mop up tears, pick up pieces and never afraid to sit me down and tell me I am being bloody stupid! Of course I have not listened but them telling me and me ignoring them remain parent and child perogative right?!
What we have achieved in our time here so far is in no small way due to their support, financially and morally. Our long term aim is to pay them back but all the while our house remains on the market without a buyer our funds are tied up and not at our disposal so while we have been curtailed in terms of what we have achieved so far the leaps and bounds we have made have been thanks to my parents help.
In chatting to my Mum tonight I realised that the things we are finding hard just now are not to do with Rum, or us. They are to do with the tough circumstances of our house not selling and us deciding to come here and make a start regardless. We could have stuck it out, tried to find jobs to finance us while we sold our house while living in it before moving here. If we’d done that then none of what we have achieved so far would be here. No static. No animals. No crops. None of the amazing year or so we have already enjoyed. I’m happy to take the biggest share of the credit for what we have made happen but need to send a big vote of thanks to my parents for helping us do what we’ve done so far. And for helping me realise tonight that no matter where we were sleeping tonight we’d still be curtailed by our house not selling preventing us from really throwing everything at our dreams. That feels like a big step forward in positive thinking.
Thanks Mum & Dad. xxx