Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Lessons learned from Major Pettigrew and Mrs Ali

Me at the top of Bradwell Edge. Slightly sweaty and tired out. You can't see my feet because my not-so-able assistant cut them off but, if you could, you would just see giant balls of mud.

Eagle-eyed readers will note that I've put the photos up in the wrong order so we start at the top and work our way down...this did not happen!

The muddy steep path up Bradwell Edge, oh and Rich....with feet...

The misty view of Bradwell from Bradwell Edge.

I don't know if anyone has read this but I've just finished "The Last Stand of Major Pettigrew" and really enjoyed it. Nicely written but also jolly, thought provoking, humourous, even action packed at the end (slightly incongruously I thought).

I was chuckling away empathising happily with the old duffer of a retired Major and his love interest, the widow, Mrs Ali from the village shop when I realised I was being hypocritical. I was reading about and approving their old-fashioned values yet not applying them in my own life.

So, in my last post I bemoaned my lot in the family and the fact that my father is not quicker to accept my marriage break up. I was being a bit of a demanding spoilt brat to be fair; just expecting my 79 year old father to agree whole-heartedly with everything I do and support me 100% without having a viewpoint of his own.

This isn't fair. He has been very supportive and loving and was shocked and saddened when I told him the true state of my marriage and some of the horrid things which D has done since we split up. But as to my leaping in so quickly into a new relationship, it is right for me but I shouldn't condemn him for having different, more cautious sensitivities. It must seem very quick to him and also be difficult to accept the bald fact which I've thrown at him that I was having an affair while still married.

To a man who has been married and faithful to my mother for nearly 60 years, that can't be easy to swallow.

I've been miffed that he still entertains the thought of meeting with Diarmuid, feeling that it is somehow disloyal to me. But then, when I think again, through the prism of Major Pettigrew, would I prefer my Dad to be so dogmatic and cold-hearted, one-sidedly unreasonable that he could just dismiss the son-in-law who he knew and loved for over 20 years? No I wouldn't. I love the fact that, although he doesn't approve of some of the things D has done, he is still happy to meet him and say goodbye sometime. It seems more civilised somehow. More rounded.

So, thanks Major Pettigrew for giving me a pause and making me step out of my "selfish child" world view and put myself into my Dad's shoes for a while. I'm not saying that Dad (or my sister) is right or that it's not hurtful sometime, but at least I should respect his views and have patience that he'll come round.


rachel said...

Good for you. As a mother, it isn't always easy to accept everything my beloved child does, but it doesn't affect how much I love him or wish only the best for him. Sounds like you recognise that in your dad too.

Peridot said...

GORGEOUS dog photo!