As a family, we have – in the last four years – spent a lot of time together. It is a little embarrassing. For our kids especially. I mean, who the hell wants to hang out with their parents as much as ours do? Sorry, kids. Our kids drive us crazy too. Surprise! What Jack and I didn’t realise though, is that we have similar feelings, but with opposite children. If it’s ok, I’d like to share them here. To try and make sense of it.
Jack has certain expectations with Lulu. And these are expectations I don’t have. Conversely, I have expectations with Delph which doesn’t touch him at all. Crazy, no? Good thing we don’t have a third kid. That would be really confusing.
I do know one thing though. If we were at home, we wouldn’t be experiencing this. Or the feelings would be floating around in the background. We’d be able to walk away. Go to school. Go to work. Probably we’d never quite understand it. Here on Quest – no way, José.
Overall, we are getting some valuable alone time with our three separate cabins on Questie. Still, because we spend so many waking hours together, our family expectations collide. Yesterday for instance, I wanted to go and hide in the toilets. The air-conditioned ones. I wanted to cry for a pitifully long time. Why? Delphine couldn’t remember how to add. Or subtract. And we’ve been practising addition and subtraction FOR YEARS.
In these moments, I get an overwhelming feeling of doom. I see the years we’ve worked together, Delph and I. Then suddenly nothing. I look at this kid and just can’t figure it out. What can I do to make it work – to make Delph remember these basic academic tools? Ok. Time to go and cry. That’s me in a nutshell.
For his part, Jack wants Lulu to love being on Quest. He wants the proverbial child who enjoys doing what he enjoys doing. And unfortunately, she’s not always game. Don’t get me wrong; her mood’s been better this week. She’s settled down into the rhythm of school, classwork and homework. We’ve had some good laughs. As I’ve said before, Lulu is proper hilarious. She has a wit sharp and irreverent at the same time. She’s an observer of life. I’m enormously proud of her for this.
Jack wanted her to help him wash the deck this morning. But he caught her in a slight slump… and here’s where the other side of Lulu comes out. The sharpness stays sharp – it just goes to the dark side. She was helping him do it, just not to the degree of enthusiasm he was hoping for. In essence, expecting her to be.
So, what to do? I stayed working with Delph. Swallowed my tears. Then, the weirdest thing happened. The teacher, Elizabeth, gave the class some maths puzzles, and Delphine got them instantly. They’re called Mathrix Puzzles. She did them faster than I could. Her eyes started to sparkle. I could only shake my head… and then go lie down.
What happened with Jack and Lu? Well, that was a bit more emotional. The sense of expectation Jack feels isn’t something that’ll go away in a day. We talked about it afterwards as a whole family (well, except Delph of course. She snuck off to watch a movie in her cabin). If Jack can step back and accept Lulu for who she is, then new opportunities for growth and bonding will appear between them. Why am I being reminded of Dirty Dancing right now? Weird. But I guess that’s a point. Parental acceptance isn’t exactly an unknown theme. It’s just harder than it looks.