The Stephen Fry of the playground

I’ll admit it. Young children bore me. Up until they reach the age of about seven, I couldn’t be less fascinated by what they have to say. The_Thinker_Rodin-2

They undoubtedly feel the same way about me though, so I don’t feel too guilty about the admission.

(I refer to my child here, by the way. Yours might be the Stephen Fry of the playground, in which case I’d love to buy them a latte and have a chat.)

But is a five-year-old child capable of introspection?

Last night mine interrupted Masterchef to tell me she was going to the bathroom in order to have a think about Daddy.

“About who?” I asked, distracted by the pannecotta on the screen which looked indisputably like a breast with a huge nipple. (Greg’s grin when he saw it suggested he thought so too.)

“About our Daddy, what died,” she replied.

Off she tootled to the john and shut the door behind her.

She was in there a long while. After Greg had sampled the breast (predictably, he LAHVVED it), I knocked and opened the door.

“Get out!” she barked. “I want to be on my own so I can think.”

When she came out I asked her what she’d been contemplating.

“I was thinking about when Daddy died,” she replied.

“Oh. And did you feel happy when you thought about Daddy, or sad?”

“I felt happy and sad.”

Like Dianne Weist in Parenthood trying desperately to connect with her surly hormonal son, I found myself saying;

“I’m here if you want to talk. Or if not, talk to Mrs X at school. Or perhaps Mrs Y. Or Grandma! Or Aunt!”

She nodded at me like I was deranged, then asked for an Oreo.

Finally I find myself genuinely interested in something she has to say, but unlike her views on Barbie and the Secret Kingdom, she is suddenly unwilling to share.

8 thoughts on “The Stephen Fry of the playground

  1. dear Lucie,,

    kids are so unpredictable sometimes! just when they show they have latched onto something that renders a clue as to what’s on their mind – BAM- they firmly close the door on it. go figure. good that you gave your daughter other outlets, other people she might open up to. and perhaps she knows on some level she needs more time to ponder what is brewing in her head. but, undoubtedly, I know it must be leave you wondering…but you are a wise momma to know better than to pry.

    I think of you every day and hope big hope for you traveling on the “W” path.

    much love and light,

    Karen, xoxo

    • Thanks so much Karen. This damn W path throws up so much shit at every twist and turn doesn’t it? No wonder we’re all looking to each other for answers. Much love to you dear friend. Xx

      • Lucie, in just 3 weeks it will be the 1st anniversary of Hugh’s death. the unrelenting explosions of grief make me feel just the way I did a year ago – and I was so stupid to have not anticipated it. I’ve been riding the wave of transition from the raw, surreal bereavement, but now I see I was too insulated – or maybe it was denial – but I never felt I was in denial. it’s eased off a bit in the last day or so, just when I felt like giving up, when my mind could make not an iota of sense about anything, and I felt I just couldn’t bear it another minute – the crying and crying and crying. and here’s the thing, and what a fucker it is; I hate, hate that it takes away all that keeps me afloat – I cannot FEEL any sense of accomplishment for how far I have come, I cannot feel gratitude, I cannot in any way feel connected to the universe, I cannot feel any hope, nor anything to look forward to. inconsolable is a tortuous and horrible place to be.

        but now I realize that I was responding to the sudden, unexpected onslaught in a terrible panic and that my mind and heart felt as if it was being blown to bits. as I breathe a sigh of relief and have some respite, I am coming to understand that for me when grief comes, it comes for a reason, and that if I try to sit with it quietly and lean into it and surrender to it, even with horrible fits of tears and desolation (which I believe we have every right to succumb to – goddammit – it’s a cryable and desolate event) that unrelenting part dissipates. it kept coming and coming, over and over again because I tried to push it away, and I just wasn’t getting it – that grief needs to be honored and FELT. I don’t know what helped me realize it all – maybe my sweet Hugh has helped, or I was just lucky. but I do hope if others have had this same godawful experience maybe if even just some of it helps, it was worth telling. thanks for listening, my sweet friend – I love you. XOXO, karen

      • oh my dear friend Karen!! this is torturous, yet at the same time, affirming, to read. you have actually talked yourself through the horror of the first year anniversary in the course of the comment! i remember dreading the first anniversary, yet also having the feeling that things should ‘get better’ after it. in reality, nothing gets better. one year on is simply that -one year on. another one looms ahead. and another. and another. i have come round to your way of thinking that grief needs to be felt, however it is bloody hard, bloody painful, and a whole lot easier to drink one’s way through it so as not to feel. i wish you so much strength for the upcoming date. thank you for sharing – keep doing so please! love love love xxx


  2. Hey, at least you are both able to talk about him. Not so long ago it would have been the done thing not to mention people who had died. Especially to our kids, And they certainly would not have been encouraged not to raise anything in fear of upsetting us. Although it seems your daughter is struggling to express her thoughts she is at least comfortable enough to tell you what she’s thinking about. That’s got to be a good thing. Painful I know, but positive xx

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