THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, as it’s the summer holidays, we decided to look at a load of old footage and photos of our family from 10 years ago…we regularly look back at the different times in our lives, which leads to a mixture of emotions for everybody.
Mainly it’s hilarity…comments ranging from “Oh look, when Dad had hair!” to “ Mum, your clothes!” cause them to cry with laughter and the funny things they used to say in their cute little voices leave us all breathless.
I like to watch them watching themselves and find it incredible that the toddler on the screen with sticking up hair and chocolate smeared all over their face is now a young woman sitting next to me , with immaculate hair and makeup.
As I say, it’s a mixture of emotions. Seeing my girls so small brings back the feelings of guilt and exhaustion that followed me throughout their early days…my weight is usually a good marker as to how I was feeling about myself at the time. In the background in almost every picture, there are toys, clothes and just stuff scattered around, evidence of my inability to cope with the basics.
I laugh with them, enjoying the moment, making another memory…but when they have gone to bed, still giggling at the fashion sense, or lack of, back then, I’m left with a feeling that I can’t quite place, an element of time gone by and not enough done.
This feeling was amplified recently when my tutor called to discuss the college course I was about to start in September..I had applied for a student loan, books, stationery and even a new lunchbox had been purchased. So when she said they were no longer running the course, I felt a little more than disappointed….it’s one thing to be told this when you are 18, with so many options to hand…it’s another to be halfway through your life and trying to start something new, all the while feeling that time is slipping away; it seems the older I get, no matter how hard I try to grasp at it, it’s always just out of reach.
This summer holiday is jam packed with seeing friends and family, often people that I don’t see for years at a time and so I am using my experiences and pictures from the past to shape my present; the photos of me looking grumpy at Christmas because I had argued with my husband...the family meal where I didn’t speak to anybody...the day at the beach where I only ate salad while everyone else had chips because I was dieting...the start of every trip away marred by my irritation at other road users, numerous children asking “Are we there yet?” and the ultimate, a small child vomiting in the car, as if somehow it was their fault…all of it serves as a great if somewhat sad reminder to me to live in the present, find the positive and forgive quickly.
The new memories we are making with each other are precious and as for the photos, everybody is smiling…those in the picture and those looking at them.