I tell people that I’ve got my old age sorted as my three daughters are 1) a secretary, 2) a beautician, and 3) a nurse. I hope that in time my two grandsons will become if not a lawyer and a doctor, then at least a plumber or a carpenter, so I can make use of them. I’d like the baby granddaughter to become a ballerina so I can bask in pride and reflected glory. Meanwhile, until I’m really doddery, I‘ve got to earn my living writing.
Now to be honest no one thinks of writing as a real job. People imagine, and this includes my daughters, I lunch out daily, drift around the garden picking flowers or lie on the sofa reading books and eating chocolates. The writing is somehow squeezed in between getting up late, and going out to lunch. I wish!
But the flexibility of my job does make me a useful granny. With the older grandson who lives in the same area, I can switch off the PC and rush off to pick him up from school, or have him for a day or two when he’s sick and my daughter is working. I can even write at night while he’s staying here, that is if I can wrestle him off my PC and pack him off to bed.
The two younger ones, however, are 100 miles away and obviously that makes it more difficult. I do drop everything to rush and help out. I not only mind the children, but clean the cooker, do the ironing and clean the windows while I’m there. But I can’t write. There is no desk or PC and anyway there would be far too many interruptions. So work is put on the back boiler and I can only do a spot of mental plotting while taking them for a walk, or on the drive to their house.
Recently however, the beautician daughter does seem to have cottoned on that I’m getting old. She gives me facials, does my nails and waxes me, in fact she peers at my face during conversations to check I haven’t got any embarrassing facial hair or blackheads. This is a rather nice role reversal, her looking after me. But she has yet to come to my house and clean my cooker. I think hell will freeze over before that happens.
The nurse will listen to any health anxieties. She’s also great at counselling. She even feeds me occasionally. What does make me laugh though is when she questions my knowledge of child rearing. I was a nursery nurse even before becoming a mother. I cook meals from scratch, no ready-made meals in my home. I was even famous once for making party cakes. I have never dropped a baby on its head.
Well not yet...
Lesley Pearse's latest book - Forgive Me - is published in hardback this week. We have five copies to give away: simply add your comments to the thread to enter the draw.