I am late, I am late, I am late… I am like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I am late in blogging and posting. I was not well yesterday and the day before yesterday. Today was another day with the Shopping-cum-Cleaning Lady. She went out with The Girls who do appreciate her very much and for whom it excellent to be without me sometimes. They chose magazines – one each – and spent time there. I had to tell the Lady beforehand that reading was VERY important for The Little Family, and that The Girls needed time to find what suited them. We had made a list of topics in which they were interested and I explained all this to the Lady.
Now that they know each others, I had made a list of toiletries to buy as well – and toiletries are always an intimate thing. They were to stop at the GP’s to make an appointment for me. And to buy a toaster as ours died last week. I read my emails and blogs while they were away. When they came back, I made tea for everybody: scented tea or herbal tea for The Girls, English tea for the Lady and myself. And I explained the tea, where from it was coming, how I was making it, etc. We discussed the Lady’s hours. I offered that she comes earlier on Mondays so that she is able to fetch her daughter at the end of high school hours, some fifteeen or twenty kilomètres from here, and do her own shopping. She told me about her life, her sister, her husband, her children, illnesses and deaths in her family, some of her difficulties and some of her joys. Then she collected herself, and said: “But I am here to help you! Not to tell you about my own life! I should be listening to you!” I laughed and said we were to help each others.
She stayed almost an hour. She seemed comfortable. She is comfortable with The Girls and The Girls are comfortable with her.
I expect it may be the same with your children and grand-children (and I would be glad to have your opinion): it is difficult “to let go” the persons you love and who depend upon you. Not that I am unhappy to see The Girls hurrying on Mondays and Thursdays to be on time when the Lady arrives, but they were doing these things with me before, and now they do them with someone else.
At the same time, I was slightly worried about the Lady herself. Would she be the right person? Would she be nice to The Girls? Would she understand them and their needs? Would she be patient? Would she understand that very secondary things like the yellow underliner and the TV programme magazine are more important than a second piece of cheese or lovely apples for me? Could she understand all this and take initiatives when needed?
It seems to work well. She did my shopping with discernment, but listened to me about the magazines and reading and writing material. They spent plenty of time in the little library aisle, and The Girls came back with magazines about geography and history, related to TV programmes we have watched and commented together. The Lady was surprised but The Girls explained our king Henri III (the end of the 16th century) and the Savoie and the Alps (new or “young” mountains when the Massif Central, closer to us, is “old”).
I understand it is difficult to know the intellectual level of The Girls. For some things their level is far higher than that of the Lady; for other things, they are entirely dependent. I feared this discrepancy in their relationship: the Cleaning Ladies who went before did not stay long as they thought The Girls were morons and what was the need to know about Louis XIV and the geography of Venice?
So, now, The Girls are happily chirping to themselves in their rooms; the Lady is gone after a nice cup of tea and a chat; my shopping is done for this end of week and almost all next; the menus are made and the TV programme as well; I shall have to cook dinner; and you know more about The Little Family and the difficulties and joy of life with people with Down Syndrome.
Do not think I am sacrificing my whole life! Look what we are going to watch tonight on TV:
My choice! Three episodes at least. I think it will be too late and I shall go to bed earlier… And this is more history to explain although I am already told that Henry VIII was not someone very pleasant… I guess, nevertheless, that, he will not play the Red Queen with me and will not say: “Off with her head!”, even if I was late in writing to you!
Thank you for reading.
And I cannot leave you without a whiff of my indoors flowers!