It is the weekend. Not a special weekend. Not Easter, or a bank holiday. But I am off work for the next week and the Easter bank holiday. It is the end of term for K and L, but not J.
Last night, while chilling out over a film, I have a message from an old friend. I have been meaning to call him for a while, but keep forgetting. I suggest this weekend or Monday and he replies to confirm Monday as he is at a memorial event for a woman who died earlier this year. A woman I knew and with whom I worked, who wrote to me when I got the job I currently have and who I counted as a real inspiration.
I am stung and hurt; I know at in any organisation there is a hierarchy even of similar grades and I know that I am somewhere near the bottom when compared to my peers. It doesn’t even bother me, most of the time. I know that some of this is incidental in terms of geography, but also whether or not I have the time to do the kind of things to “get on”. To be at the right places, at the right time, to act in a certain way, to carry one’s status in a way that means other people notice it. I am not very good at these things. To be honest, I find it a little embarrassing. That doesn’t mean I am “humble” in some Uriah Heep way; I am perfectly capable of holding my own when slighted. But I struggle to keep the distance and a sense of “hauteur” as the French would say.
So, I will not be on the invite list for the big events. You will not find me engaged in deep discussion with politicians at Westminster, sipping Chablis looking over the Thames. I am not on important people’s speed dial list. But that doesn’t mean I am not present at some great moments. The ordering of prom dresses for K and L, as well as a little cocktail dress for me. J’s first haircut in a salon today, while L and I silently squealed in excitement. Tonight we eat meatballs and spaghetti, while we debate emotional responses to certain songs and how childrens programmes deliberately confuse gender. We reminisce about our evening singing sessions when the children were tiny and they laugh about how i changed the words of songs to make them more politically correct.the children tease me about whether it is possible to be a socialist and love really nice handbags. In our lives, these are our great moments of history. There are no guest lists, save the requirement to be a part of our family. No invitations are issued, we are just here because we are here. In prioritising these moments, I will never be one of the “inner circle”. And I simply would not have it any other way.