Sandy Lane, near Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. Showing more of the landscape otherwise my head gets cut off on social media pages. Just don't ask...I'm not a photographer. I'm just the camera operative
This is what I've been saying on various bits of social media:
BEING CHILDLESS IS NOT A CHOICE. PLEASE UNDERSTAND WE WANTED CHILDREN, WE COULDN’T HAVE CHILDREN. WE FACE A CHILDLESS FUTURE. STOP TELLING US WE’RE LUCKY. MOST OF THE CHILDLESS DON’T FEEL LUCKY. FOR MANY OF US IT STILL HURTS. WE CHILDLESS NEED MORE PUBLIC PROFILE. MANY OF US ARE AGEING ALONE.
(When I speak of my aloneness and loneliness et al I realise there are others out there suffering more. But I'm here to speak about me. Us. And that's it).
What happened was I received quite a few tweet replies from childfree folk. I knew them well via twitter and they didn't let me down. They were kind, supportive. Understanding. It's how we move forward - together.
And yet, so many still don't really get it. One or two members of both free and less got into a spat online. A sharp retort from an American lass, responding to a childree, rather mouthy person, 'you had a choice, you made a choice to not have children. My choice was taken away from me. I longed to be pregnant, have kids. I had no choice and I will remain childless for the rest of my life. It's not what I envisaged nor wanted for myself'. She was in her 60s, she told us.
Me and her on our favourite walk along the Spa Trail. Sandy Lane, Woodhall Spa. A very beautiful (and famous) spa town in Lincolnshire.
We childless are not lucky. Recently I've felt so far away from lucky I could spit pins.
I have no wish to become bitter and twisted. Lashing out at families, the tele. People who look happy (yes, that's been happening). I feel the loss. The great, gaping loss where motherhood - yea - grandmotherhood, should have been.
I want to be a contestant on Michael Macintyre's BBC1's "The Wheel" telling him my winnings will go to my family especially my grandchildren. Did you see it on Saturday night? All the oldies opt for that one. How bitter I felt, sitting at home. Just me and Lilley.
How lucky are they? Because they have a family, children, grandchildren. And I have none. No one.
So, why am I lucky? The childfree tell me that. I can zoom off to various parts of the globe, apparently. Where did they work to acquire a pension that allows such luxury?
At present I'm stiltified trying to find somewhere to live when moving- day happens. Anytime soon, I imagine. (Have sold my house - hopefully).
I'm scouring far away lands like Wales. Even Scotland. So we're preparing for a visit any day soon. We're- a- comin' Wales! Stand by your bed Kate Gwynne…
I use my oldness as an attribute. If some nice chap wants to help the 'older' person then so be it. I'll not complain.
Anyway - blow me - out of the blue, I had a message yesterday from one of my social media pages. This lovely person would like to share her family with me so I can become a sort of surrogate 'grannie'.
Taking a bench break during a lovely, refreshing walk along the fields at Thimbleby. A very pretty village near our home in Lincolshire.
Can I just say here that I am, in fact, already a surrogate 'grannie' to young Freddie Cocker - well known podcaster of Vent Podcast. I wouldn't want him to feel affronted if my 'grannie' surrogacy becomes 'available for hire' as it were. Anyway, I was mighty flattered. But, here's the thing, I woke up the next day with Lilley staring into my face as she does most mornings. Presumably to check I'm still breathing. And, here it comes, it struck me that I am, in fact, very much OK with just me and her. 'Justmeandlilley will do fer me'. There - I said it. I'm so used to it being justmeandher. Anything else now becomes almost an intrusion. Is that bad?
I think I'm simply ageing. Alone. That's all it is. Please don't tell me I'm not ageing. Of course I am. I'm elderly now. It doesn't matter in the slightest. Except I could do with an invisible hand to help with the moving lark. Like a ghostly hand from a BBC1 Sunday night drama.
"So, not a real person, Trish?"
Good grief, no. I can't do with a stranger rifling through my personals.
And there you have it.
Lawyers, who used to help, today look about eighteen years of age and speak with the voice of a twelve year old.
Even on our celebrated walks along the riverbank it can go wrong. Sunday afternoons are the worst so we've learnt to avoid crowded places at those times. All families, couples of all ages are out and about. Most smile and say hello but many stalk past like we're a bad smell. Old woman and dog - huh.
Somebody please explain to me why, at that moment and in my head, I recite to myself thus: "do you know my sunglasses are Prada? Good grief my old jacket is Gerry Weber ('course it is). My sweater from Net a Porter?" After I've recited each labelled piece of my old, worn wardrobe, I whoosh this important info out to snooty one. Why? Why would anyone do that? Just me? What difference do I think it's going to make to snooty person's life - if she could actually hear it?'
It's ageing without children isn't it? Sends some of us barmy. Alright, one of us.
Looking ever so slightly barmy at Chambers Woods, Wragby, Lincolnshire. Mysterious woods. Expecting (hoping?) for Pan the God of Nature to leap out any minute behind one of the famous elm trees.
An excellent tweet this week spoke profoundly about the total ignorance shown to we ‘aloners’ mostly those without family/children who spent the whole of covid lockdown totally alone. If like me you had to shield it was a question of ‘being bloody strong’ - again. Still our situation has not been acknowledged. Appalling you know? Repeat: totally alone throughout covid. No one. Not a one. Reassuring to now find it wasn't just me. But we do remain unacknowledged. Why? It's OK to say your elderly relative was alone in a care home during the pandemic, but not for we childless to tell our truth also? Is it too much for some folk to face? Because a lot of folk never bothered actually checking on the 'aloner' ? I do believe there are quite a few tales to tell about our lonely covid period. We'll wait…
So to make up for my status as ageing without children ’they’ say things like ‘but you don’t look your age’. ‘Think of the freedom’. Whatever makes them feel better so they have no need to offer help or assistance.
Contrary me then says (to myself): 'but you don't want any help do you? People just get in the darned way - don't they?'
Well - yes.
But, as a childless person I do want recognition. Because I just do. Because I'm childless. Because I'm ageing.
Hells bells - I like my life as justmeandlilley.
Shut it at the back!
Ahem: I just wanted to say something very onpoint and was going to write what I'd remembered but two minutes distraction and I came back to the page and forgot what I was going to remember. What the blithering bejaysus is going on? Aha - my tweet today was all about us and families. How we should be getting together more. It is not 'them and us'. I don't like it and, mostly, neither do they. Can we try to be friends?
** I've remembered: so often I get asked about the photos. I'm well flattered when praise is heaped upon them. Because it couldn't be more basic. I broke my old Lumix as you know and now use a tiny cybershot. It goes on to the tripod, I gather Madame in, we get in position, I hear the delay buttons start and I set us off towards camera with a nonchalent look. Lilley is the problem. What issues she has with simply doing as she's damn well told I don't know. That's why she has a lead attached. Otherwise she'd be over the fields or stood behind my back. She hates photos being taken. And yet - if I am snapping away on my own at a scenic shot she stands in front of me awaiting her moment. I'll give her her moment, little s**
Bye bye lovely people. Love the wotsits off you all!!
In the garden. I've no idea what's up with her.
Now she's happy on her usual trail walk. Lovely snowdrops were out carpeting the ground.