Someone to Poke

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I’ve been thinking a lot about siblings this week because of an important anniversary in our family. ‘What do you like about having siblings?’ I asked Molly the other day. ‘Having someone to tease,’ she said. ‘And when I was little there was always someone to poke on car journeys.’

Over the years there’s been a lot of research into parent-child relationships but sibling relationships have only attracted serious interest more recently. And yet they’re clearly very important. Psychologist Daniel Shaw put it well: Continue reading

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It Will Never Come Again

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This week I was in the car with Molly. It’s always a good chance to spend some time with her and we started chatting about elderly friends and relatives. She was obviously wondering from the bounciness of youth what it’s like to be old and she asked me what initially seemed like a simple question. ‘Mum,’ she said curiously, ‘Do you feel like you’ve lived a long time?’

This was surprisingly hard to answer. My first reaction was to say, ‘No,’ but that seemed silly as I evidently have lived for quite a long time. Then I realised that this kneejerk feeling comes from the fact that for much of the time, I don’t feel properly grown-up. In my head I’m still waiting to get to that elusive state.

 

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I clearly have a problem as I read recently that a life insurance provider asked 2,000 people to say what they thought marked the transition into adulthood. The most common answers were buying a first home, becoming a parent and getting married. Other signs of being grown up were paying into a pension, becoming house proud, taking out life insurance, looking forward to a night in, doing DIY, hosting dinner parties, and having a joint bank account. I’m 56 and I’ve done all of these things (with varying degrees of enthusiasm)—but I still keep expecting to be outed as a pretend grown up.

I think that much of my grownupness deficit comes from Continue reading