Its really hard for me to sit here and try and write about this….
This past year has been incredibly hard for myself and members of my family. Why? Well quite simply, until very recently my fiance had had a fall out with my mother. Not something you could just brush under the carpet either. The underlying problem was a clash of personality I feel. I struggled with this for some time as both Jems and my mother are very much alike in may ways. They are both caring people and both work exceptionally hard at whatever they turn their hand too. They differ however when it comes to personal space. My mother has always been a very open and accommodating woman. Always willing to welcome people into her home with open arms. Jems is not. Jems likes her space very much. Their are a couple of reasons for this that I feel I cannot speak off as they are personal to Jemma, suffice to say that were I to live with those same ‘issues’ shall we say, that I may at times act in a similar manner. I think another big part of Jemmas love of personal space stems from her life at home before she moved in with me. For most of her life its been just her and her mum in a relatively small cottage. Her mother I have to say is best tolerated in small doses and an extremely interfereing woman even if she does mean well. I believe Jemma has a fear of being in this kind of situation again and is therefore fiercely protective of her own space.
Now, my mother likes to help in any way she can. For example, Mum will happily do all my laundry, dishes, hoovering and basically clean everything in sight… happily.
I am perhaps a little guilty of happily sitting back and letting her get on with this. Thats what mothers do isn’t it? Anyway, when Jemma and I started living together we invited mum to stay. Mum arrived and immediately got to work cleaning the dishes and whatever else she could find and i parked my arse on the sofa. Jemma, took offence. Jemma does not like anyone coming into her home and doing ‘her’ housework. I say ‘her’ housework. It is of course ours but that was the word she used at the time. So now we have a situation where Jemma is becoming increasingly frustrated and angry, Mum is gleefully oblivious and scrubbing away and I am becoming nervous. I can see a situation developing that must be quashed fast. I know of Jemmas firery temper very well, and I also of mums rather fragile feelings. This does not look good. Things get rapidly out of hand and before you know it Jemma’s worst fears have been realised. She is not in control of her own home. Mum remains oblivious and I become piggy in the middle. Two years pass. I snap finally and announce publicly that I want nothing more to do with the planning of future visits. Jemma ascends to daemon-hood in the eyes of mum and there are much tears all round.
In hindsight I can see that a number of things occurred that I was responsible for. My laziness in the past was clearly a factor in my mothers behaviour. Why would she act differently if I had never stopped her in the past? I should have put my foot down early on and stood up to Jemma. In that I mean I should have told mum of the developing problem and laid out some ground rules. Instead both Jemma and I took the cowards way out and kept out mouths shut not wanting to upset anyone. That was, I believe the biggest mistake because the decision to remain silent and not speak out festered between Jemma and I and very nearly ended us.
Yet its all looking a lot better now. Jemma and I have just returned from visiting the family and I have to say it went a lot better than I would have dreamed. A lot of effort was made on both sides and I think it has paid off. I wouldn’t say we are out of the woods yet but lessons have been learnt and the future looks quietly promising.
I am grateful for this turn of events. The next year is undoubtedly going to pass quickly and at the end of it mum is going to have a new daughter-in-law and Jemma is going to become part of proper family. A family she never really had herself but really wants. Time will tell I guess.