Kay and I are very close and have always got on very well together. That's not to say we don't have the occasional argument or disagreement over something, but generally speaking we are very close. She tries to phone me every day, partly because she knows I am on my own and am trapped in the house for long periods (because of not leaving an aged dog on his own too long) and partly because she likes to share her news with me.
However, I know that I am an anxious person and always see the worst in situations or people. It probably stems from growing up in a family where my maternal grandmother lost two of her three young children within the same week (one six weeks old, the other three years old) in 1925 to double pneumonia and whooping cough. My mum was 18 months old at the time and the only one to pull through, even though she was in hospital with the other two. On my paternal side, things were not so hunky dory either. My father's wider family in Germany were largely wiped out by the holocaust and he and his brother and parents only managed to escape to England in 1939 by the skin of their teeth. So gloom and doom and cautionary tales were forever in the family psyche and have rubbed off well and truly onto me.
Whenever someone tells me something, I am a glass half-empty rather than half-full. I see problems where noone else can. I sense danger. This tends to heighten where Kay is involved and I just cannot help myself saying "don't do this, don't try that." When she was little, it was not too much of a problem, and I don't think I was any worse than the average mum, waving a small child off to school, letting them make that first climb alone on a slide, dropping them off at their first sleepover. As she grew older, I adjusted reasonably to waving her off on school trips to France, watching her jump off at the deep end of a swimming pool or seeing her head off on a backpack challenge to Guatemala and Belize. My grandmother used to say "Small child, small worries. Big child, big worries." This is so true. No matter how old your children, the worry grows in ratio to their age, as they become more and more independent and experimental. Try as I might to bite my lip, I find words tumble out of my mouth with dire warnings. The result is that Kay thinks that on occasions I am trying to smother her or stifle her wanderlust. She once said that I can never be pleased for her about trying something new. It is not so much that I don't want her to challenge life or experiment, but that I am afraid it will go wrong and harm her. I accept that since Greg has died, I think this has got worse, as she is now my world.
With that in mind, I am trying very hard to be pleased for her that she is taking a 7-hour coach trip tonight along dark foggy autumnal motorways from the far north end of the country to Cornwall to go surfing for a long weekend with the new club she has just joined. She is an average swimmer, although you can count on one hand the number of times she goes to a pool in any given year. She never swims in the sea and she has never been surfing......ever. The weather is reasonably good this weekend. So I am desperately trying to put on my glass half-full hat. Cross fingers, touch wood and wish me a shedful of luck!
All is well.....she survived the weekend safely and so did I!