Thursday, July 30, 2009

Paralysis Of Thought

Posted by Anonymous.

When she wasn’t where she was supposed to be which was 10 feet to my left, when I had circled around twice, when I retraced my steps once again, when the well-meaning employee who stood by the door assured me that she was still in the building, when I circled around for the fourth time, when I began to realize she was NOT in the building, when I stepped outside, when her older sister began to panic, when I could feel my chest tightening, when I had to send her sister back inside to stand with a nice stranger, when my mind began to think words I would never say in her presence, when I could not see her in front of the building, when I could not see her at the side, when I found her standing next to our car, standing next to our car by herself, outside, down the stairs, along the sidewalk, across the parking lot, ACROSS THE PARKING LOT–BY HERSELF, when I saw her and screamed her name, when I saw the look of fear on her face–first of being alone and then upon hearing the shrillness of my voice of being in trouble, when I swooped her up, when I held her sobbing body in my arms, when I got nose-to-nose with her, when I impressed my fear upon her, when she impressed her fear upon me, when I returned for her sister, when I explained the “lost rules” again, when my throat began to unclinch, when my chest stopped hurting, when I began to be acutely aware of the fact that I was in the presence of a few dozen other moms but I was the mom who had just lost her 3 year-old child, when I calmly took both daughters’ hands in my own untrembling hands, when I crossed the parking lot again and buckled them in, when I pulled out of that parking lot, I did not think about it again.
I did not because I could not. My mind just. would. not. consider: WHAT IF. That is the only reason I was able to keep breathing. I just hope it stays that way, because I could die a thousand emotional deaths if it starts to move again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Neighbors And Fences

Posted by Anonymous.

I moved into my home 10 years ago. I had an 18 month old daughter & was expecting my second daughter at the time. The neighborhood was still in development at the time. One of the next door families was already here, the other family moved in shortly after we did.

We hit it off with the "First" family the day we moved in. My now late-husband and the First family dad, a firefighter, talked every day, borrowed tools from one another, helped each other with projects. The First family mom has always been easy and fun to talk to.

The First family kids, 5, 9, and 14 were always comfortable visiting and asking for help. They locked themselves out of the house sometimes and sat with me until one of their parents came home. When the daughter missed the bus on her first day of high school the 9 year old spoke up for her, asking if I would mind taking his sister to school. I put my 18 month old in the van and I laughed along with the older kids when I had trouble finding the high school.

Fast forward to October of 2003. My late-husband lost his battle with cancer on a Friday night.

My girls were with my parents at the time. The First family mom and dad stayed with me while I waited for the ambulance, while I waited for my dad and best friend to make the 45 minute drive to my house. The First family mom and dad followed me from the living room to the front porch and back again several times. My dad thanked them for looking out for "his girl." First family mom told him that I was "their girl, too."

We have always had a great relationship, I thought. First family dad took my riding mower to the repair shop a few months ago. He took care of my lawn and the lawns of a few neighbors.
After taking my girls to school a couple of weeks ago I saw First family dad outside. I ran into my house, grabbed the cash I owed him for mowing a couple of days before. He was talking on his cell phone, so I handed him the money and we did the one arm half-hug thing.

A few minutes later he called and asked if I could run over to their house because he wanted to show me something right quick. I thought nothing of it, I have been in their house too many times to count. I followed him through their kitchen and into the living room. We made small talk as we went into his living room. I looked at the Mother's Day cards and family photos on their coffee table. He had looked down at the coffee table, then around the room. I thought they had bought the wide screen TV they have wanted for a while. I was still looking around when I heard him say "OK". When I turned to him, he had his thumbs hooked on either side of his jeans and was pulling them down.

I freaked out and started walking back to the door leading to the garage, waving my hands in the air, chanting "no, no, no,no". As I was leaving the garage, he opened the door and yelled "You're not gonna tell on me, are ya?" I said something profound like "No, no, no, sometimes, um, people's pants, um, just...fall down!" and kept walking.

When I got home checked the locks on my doors, put my gun on my coffee table, and stared at the wall. I called my best friend. I called my aunt. I didn't want to tell my husband but my aunt said I needed to. She drove to my town after work and told my parents and brother for me. They all came to my house and waited while I woke my husband from his after-work nap and told him. Each of them blocked a door when he came out of the bedroom.

My dad talked to a friend of his, a police officer, who sent an officer over to talk to me. I didn't want to press charges because I didn't want first neighbor's wife, two kids still living at home, 6 year old grandson to ever have to know.

Of course first neighbor dad told the officer nothing happened that morning. The situation was even more awkward because the officer is the father of one of my younger daughter's classmates.

I keep bouncing between feeling sad and furious. I am heartbroken because I can never be friends with him again. I am beyond outraged because I had to tell my parents, brother, aunt about what happened. I am livid because I had to tell my 9 and 11 year old daughters to stay away from him and why. I'm embarrassed because I feel stupid. First neighbor dad had made comments to me 3 years ago, saying that since he was home alone on many weekdays and so was I (soon-to-be current husband worked out of town) that perhaps we could "visit and help each other out." I thought he understood the NO I responded with.

I don't feel comfortable leaving my garage door open if my husband is home. I feel like a fake when I respond to First neighbor mom's "Hey, how are ya's." I told my second next-door neighbors because she is home alone during the day.

I'm tired of crying at odd times of the day and night. I hate that someone I trusted did such a crappy thing to me.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Posted by Anonymous.

They’re destroying us.. At nine months and 3 yrs, the children are ruining our marriage. I have been patient, thinking it will get better when they’re older, but how do we make it until then?

Nursing has completely killed my sex drive. I used to be the one who lustily drove our lovemaking and now I just don’t care. At all. My husband is actually pawing at me in desperation for the first time in our relationship. I have no interest, and am slowly realizing that my sense of myself as a sexual being and attractive and vital is deeply connected to certain hormones that seem to be on vacation. I am a shell of my former self. Everything is blah. Stop nursing? I could, but I like it for all the reasons women like nursing—the health benefits, the attachment, etc.

The preschooler won’t allow us to have a conversation. STOP TALKING!! He screams whenever my husband and I try to speak to one another. We spend all our time engaging him or disciplining him. Yesterday I spent most of the day with him yelling NO at me, kicking me, or throwing things at the baby. I feel like a closet abuse case.

Both children have always been terrible sleepers and now, to get any sleep at all, my husband and I sleep separately: one of us with each child. So we don’t even get to touch bodies in the night. Change things around? We’ll have to try because even sitting next to him and talking briefly about the day before we turn off the light is the *least* we can do to keep the relationship alive, right? But I’ve been sleep deprived for over three years now and the idea of getting even less sleep to train the kids makes me want to stick pencils in my eyes. I never bargained for how alternating angry, psycho, weepy, and passive sleep deprivation would make me. I hate myself for the way I can feel, then I hate the kids, then I feel guilty.

Sometimes I lay awake at night and a total panic overcomes me: the state in which we live, both physically and mentally is entirely due to the children. And I miss my old life SO much I could cry for days. I love them, but I am overwhelmed, exhausted, and I miss my husband terribly. Please assure me that it gets better. I am drowning in regrets, in guilt, in sadness.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lost Lesbian

Posted by Anonymous.

20 years ago the passion was there. 20 years ago it was love and sex and fun. 20 years ago...

Today it's "hurry up and get it over with, I'm tired". Today it's "not now". Today it's been 6 months.

Therapy for me? for her? How do I adjust? I don't want to be platonic best friends. I can't talk to anyone about it. I refuse to talk with friends or family that may hold it against her.

It's up to me. I've been the instigator for years and years. I can't take the "no's" It hurts for weeks. I want to love, to make love. I don't want a quick fuck. I want the intimacy. I miss the intimacy.

I try to talk about it- nothing. I try romance-nothing. I try planning ahead, dropping hints for tonight- she gets a headache, stomach ache... that night- nothing. I try surprise attack- nothing. I try a night away from the hustle and bustle- nothing. I try before I go away for a night- nothing. After I've been away- nothing. In celebration, in sorrow, alcohol, early bed, late bed, middle of the night, morning, early morning...

We are best friends. I know she loves me. I know she is faithful. I know she enjoys making love, when we do.

I am at a loss.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What Might Have Been

Posted by Anonymous.

I saw him yesterday. Him, the one that I had such a bad crush on in college. Him, that I hooked up with one night, and kissed far too few times. Him, that said that we couldn't be more than friends.

I wish that, 16 years later, that I didn't still wish he had given us more of a chance. I am very happily married, but I wonder at how he looks at me. I wonder if his wife knows that had I only shaved my legs, I would have screwed her husband that night, and would have enjoyed it. I wonder if she knows that I know just how big he is, and part of me wouldn't care if she did.

I look at her, and I can't help but compare. We are alike, you know. We have the same profession, we're the same height. We have similar hair color. And I wonder how come she got him instead. We were compatible. We have similar interests and values. Seeing him here, now, in a place we share again tells me that. Were you that opposed to my personality? Was I that repulsive? Or do you wonder, too? Do you wish the same things as I? I suppose I'll never know.

I would never voice this. I would never let you know. I know it is wrong for me to think of the passionate love we could have shared, and wonder how it would feel to be her. So I'll keep it my secret, and always wonder...what might have been.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dear Sonuvabitch

Posted by Anonymous.

Open letter to the sonuvabitch that refuses to pay his child support:

You suck!!!!! It's not fair!! And I wish you a slow and painful death!!!!!

Thank you. Now I can listen to my children mention their father without wanting to scream out what a dick he is. And a dead beat. And a no good, irresponsible, piece of shit that does not deserve to have such sweet children. (Did I mention I hate him?---Oh, you could tell? Well, then, good.)

The end.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Birthday Surprise

Posted by Anonymous.

Yesterday was my birthday, I am 30 years old. I am the high school student who was in forensics and band, never went to parties, and graduated from college with a 4.0 GPA. I have 2 children (ages 6 and 2) and have been married for 9 years. I have a good job, a good life, a good husband. I don't party, don't drink, don't smoke. For my birthday I wanted to do something I have never done before. I knew that before we were dating my husband had done it only once or twice, and I just wanted to be able to say I'd had the experience. That I had tried it. I only casually mentioned it to him, that I was just curious about what it felt like and he said he could probably get some if I really wanted to. That was the end of the conversation, I didn't really believe he could. And then he brought some home from work, I didn't even recognize what it was when he showed it to me, LOL. So last night, after the kids were in bed, we went out to the garage together. You should have seen us, neither one had a clue if we were doing it right. And then we had great sex and went to bed. I can't tell anyone, I would NEVER tell anyone, so I am sharing it anonymously with you internet. I am 30 years old and last night I smoked pot for the first time.

**Postscript: please don't judge me in the comments, this is a one time only experience. End of story. Neither one of us have any desire for this to be a repeated event. I am happy that my only time getting high was with my husband, in the safety of our own home.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mother Manipulator

Posted by Anonymous.

My mother and I have never been friends. As a matter of fact, in a different setting, I can almost reassure you that she wouldn’t even like me. Not that I am bad, not always anyway, just that….I am not her. I have no desire to be her. And, because I am writing this as anonymously as possible but I just asked about it publicly, I am going to tell you the stone cold bloody truth and if you figure me out, bleh, who cares.

My mother is a Bible Thumper. She married a man (the first time, marriages 2, 3 and 4 were to the same man who happened to be her first cousin and horribly abusive, husband number 5 for her was too nice of a guy) who was gay and knew he was gay but wanted children and in the 60’s there was no way he could openly admit to being gay. He also married and went to college to prevent being drafted. I know, not all high standard traits by any means, but we are talking truth here ok?

My dad finished school, got a teaching job and taught for 19 years…in the closet. At age 4, my father kidnapped me and left the state because my mother was trying to get a judge to take away his parental rights base on his selection of a partner (amazingly enough, even in the early 70’s that was a truly remarkable thing that judge did.)So, fast forwarding a bit here but at age 13 after my mom had remarried the cruelest, meanest, most abusive man she could find, I moved to live my dad. Note above she married him 3 times….

Enter – the manipulator – that is my mother. She is playing a game of chess and she uses her tactics of manipulating people into doing what she wants. Don’t get me wrong, no one has ever seen that side of her but me and my husband. He had been with me for close to 3 years before he saw the evil manipulation and it was enough for him to ask her to leave our home.

So, I’m skipping a lot here just because what is readily on my mind has to get out of my mind or I’ll never go to sleep. If anyone expresses interested, I will come back and fill in the gaps later.

I am going to tell you this one thing, it is important to the surroundings of today’s particular chess move on my part…and hers too. The time that my mom got so out of hand that she was asked to leave was after she had found out she had cancer and told many people but not me. Instead, she chose to berate me and condemn my ever action for about 3 days. And, then the proverbial shit hit the not-so proverbial fan. And, she left from my house screaming and crying in a fit of rain with a walmart bag over her head about 10 pm.

So, my mom has battled cancer (has lost 3 brothers to cancer and a sister in Florida that is very sick) and was diagnosed as “in remission” last October. But last week we found out that she does have some re-growth but they aren’t going to do chemo or radiation for 3 months. I don’t know why, that’s just what I was told.

And, speaking of what I am told, I am not told everything. I am an only child and I live 100 yards from my mother but my cousin has been living with her on an off for 3 years now and she tells me way more about how sick my mother really is than my mom ever will.

So, today, as we are mulling around after graduation and I was attempting to straighten out a bill for her, she lost it again.

I spent over an hour and a half trying to get a bill straightened out for my mother. The lady on the phone is talking, mom is talking, and mom is talking to a lady on another phone and trying to tell me what the other lady is saying…..


So, I get off the phone (1.5 hours and 2 lortabs later) and my mom wants to argue with me. I got the email and read the damn thing to her and she just kept saying things like “well why did they do this or why did they do or why did they send me this letter if they didn’t mean for it to be real?”

Now, here’s a couple of tidbits, I was raised in the south, I went through a rough stage when I was 13 or so and being abused by mother's husband but for the most part, I do not talk back to my mother. But, on occasion, and there have only been like 5 in my life, she loses her complete fucking mind and starts yelling crap at me about how horrible my father was and if I knew about his lifestyle, I would think differently about him.”

I cleared the air on that one a couple of big fights ago and let her know that I new it. Since that time she has had nothing to hold over my head. She was beating me at the manipulating game and I forgot I was suppose to be playing.

Now, given, yes this is the woman who has waited on me hand and foot while I’ve been in a cast, she has cleaned my house, done my laundry, cleaned my front lawn and yea, she has cancer. But, she wasn’t ask to do anything except take the boys to school and back and spend time with them when she wanted.

So, today, after that 1.5 hour conversation, she starts to complain to me because we never have any money Now, with that said, we live paycheck to paycheck and right now, we are borrowing from peter to pay paul and then borrowing from paul again so we can peter.

I don’t know what we can do about that. And, right in the midst of all this, my husband was laid off for a week. I don’t have to tell you that I was sick as a dog for 3 days when he told me that. That was a week ago yesterday and at that time I said to myself, which is more important? car notes? electricity? phone bills (my internet is through my phone so that cuts me out of work)..I knew we would never make it til his next paycheck without something being disconnected. So, kept what money I had and waited to see who was going to make the first move and I’d pay them first.

Fast forward to my mom and I getting testy with one another and she explains to me how we live to frivolously (yea, we have satellite tv, not the regular 3 channels) and how we should be doing this and this and this. I am one person in a marriage. I am her daughter and I know she thinks it is ok to say more to me than him, but my husband is a very big shopper. I rarely ever get anything for me other than stuff I win on line.

I let her know that she is making no effort what so ever to enjoy life. She has never for that matter. And, to be perfectly honest with you, the day I has headed to the hospital to be induced to with our first child, my mom said, “I don’t have ever seen you happy in your life, something was always wrong and you look happy right now.”

And wiht that thought, comes the idea that I don’t think I have ever seen my mother and using her own words, “I’ve had a hard life, I am dying I am just not happy” I don’t know how to make her happy, do you?

She complained because we eat out a lot, then she complained because we bought groceries and my husband cooked but didn’t clean the dishes up. She thought that was a sign for her to do it. No, that’s just how it has always been. If we ate at home, he cooked and I did dishes.

But right now I have a medical condition that prevents me from being able to clean up behind him or the kids and so she acts like it is her personal responsibility to do it. And, so the yelling ensues - I tried to explain that I am just one part of the marriage and I have to do to some degree what he wants and in my condition and she cuts me off, she starts screaming and yelling and hollering that she is sick and she is dying and I act like don’t even care.

So, now I am pissed, I do care, it’s all double edged swords at this point. And, I am also pissed that she has chosen to show her ass yet again in front of my kids. My husband and I do not raise our voices to one another ever, not in front of the kids and not ever for that matter.

So, she starts hooping and hollering about how she is sick and she is lonely at her house by herself and I don’t even come out there to check on her. When the truth is, no haven’t been going anywhere that I didn’t have to and she will be at my house and get up and go home and be alone, then be pissed at me because she is alone.

And, when she was sick from the treatments the kids (6 and 4) wanted to see her but she was too sick to deal with them. So, I would leave my kids screaming and crying and begging to see their nanny and go stay with my mom some. An a majority of the time I was there, she was explaining how I needed to go home and be with my kids that I was missing out on too much of their life.


Either way, the phone rings, I had texted my husband in the midst of the argument because my feelings were hurt so bad. He called back after mom had left the room and when she came back inside I was on the with him and sobbing until I couldn’t catch my breath.

So, here we are 24 hours later and she isn’t mad at me but she certainly isn’t happy with me. I don’t know, basically it’s both players yelling “Check Fucking Check” and nothing is accomplished because….no one is willing to back down. I did get up to jolly children though…..they are gone to her house because as soon as I got out of bed, she decided it was time for them to leave..go figure.

As I said, there’s lots of gaps there that could and would explain some of the on-goings but or the most part, this gets the point across. So, if I have anyone asking questions or showing interest, I’ll gladly add some short bits to go with this to help it make sense.

For now, from Anita Beer – I’ll be getting a website sooner or later and at least you will know how to find me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Have This Friend

Posted by Anonymous.

I have this friend...

She has a house. A large house with a large yard in a nice neighbourhood. A house that is fully furnished with nice things.

She has a job. A good job with security and summers off that pays well and offers her advancement with even better pay.

She is healthy. Pops the occasional med for the occasional migraine, but nothing major.

She has a partner who loves her and they married last year at a celebration where they were toasted by many friends and family members and gifted with many items.

She and her partner take vacations every year and want for nothing material.

She and her partner also have many years of education behind them, all paid in full.

And she has nothing good to say.


So it is hard for me to listen to her bitch about the state of their back yard when I don't have a backyard.

And it is hard to listen to them communicate with one another in snippy comments and whiny voices.

It is hard to understand why she feels so down-trodden. Why she edited her FaceBook status to read "...bad things happen to good people, I am now wondering why I am the good people that this stuff continuously happens to."

For the record, this is not a pissing contest. This is not about who has it worse off and wanting to come out ahead.

What this is about is, well...

thinking before you complain to a friend that you will not be able to take a 2-week vacation overseas this year when she is lucky to find the time and the gas money to take a road trip to visit family.

not bitching about how hard your union-protected job is as your friend struggles to find a job that will pay more than her unemployment benefits and support both her and her preschool-aged daughter.

being grateful that you will one day pay off the mortgage on the gorgeous home that you own when your friend isn't sure how she is going to pay rent in a couple of months.

being thankful for the husband who appears to love you unconditionally and making a point to mention his strengths, instead of just his weaknesses, to a friend who left an emotionally abusive marriage

keeping your mouth shut and your eyes open as your friend struggles every single day. But doesn't ask for help. And offers her help as and when she can. To whoever needs it. Without condition. Without hesitation.

I don't want pity. I don't a pat on the back. What I want is for this friend to be happy. To recognize all that she has. To recognize that, perhaps, her universe just isn't that bad.

What I don't want is this woman as a friend.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sticks And Stones And Sisters-In-Law

Posted by Anonymous.

I just have to get this off my back because it keeps playing over and over in my head and it is starting to disrupt my happy and carefree lifestyle.

Lets start by coming out with the cold hard facts. My sister in law and I are pretty good friends. She is actually also my supervisor at work. We get along fine generally.

It's hard for me to even type this. She makes fun of my ears.

I am a confident adult woman. I have slightly large features. big brown eyes, full mouth and lips, large nose and large ears. I have always enjoyed my eyes and lips and tried not to think about my nose and ears. I am very sensitive about my nose and fantasize about having it "done". It is the middle of my face though and I have accepted it as my nose. I idolize beautiful actresses with large noses because if they can get past it then I am. (And I am). I was mocked a bit for it in school but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I am stronger for it.

My ears... *sigh* My mother always said if I tucked my hair behind my ears they would stick out. I couldn't help it though. My hair was in my eyes and the ears held the hair wonderfully. I have embraced and accepted my ears. There is nothing I can do about them, and I have had them pierced 7x each in a sort of "so there" gesture. Yes they're big but SO WHAT. They're ears. I was never made fun of for them and I don't even think of them besides to hold my hair. No big deal.

Until now.

At first it was kind of, "wow, I never noticed how big (my name's) ears are!" to my partner while I am standing there.


"WOW look at those ears!"

"Look at (my 2 year old son's name's) ears! I hope you don't have mommy's ears!"

"I just can't think with THOSE EARS!"

"Would you just LOOK AT THOSE EARS!"

Etc, randomly. We could be in the car with my partner or in the house with my mother in law
and out those comments come.

I know she does it for attention but WHY???

Just thinking about it makes me nauseous. If this is how bullied kids feel going to school then I don't blame them for not wanting to go. I want to avoid my sister in law completely. And when we are in the car, like last weekend, and she turned to my partner and says, "OMG HER EARS!" and he turns to me and says, "Hey I didn't say it!" I want to punch him in the mouth for not standing up for me. We have a rocky relationship at best (on my end, he thinks its fine), but the thought of hearing her say that for the rest of my days HONESTLY makes me want to leave him. GONE. I would never have to hear it again.

I don't know what else to do at this point. I have said it bothers me, I have gotten angry. If I bring it up with my partner I know he will blow it off as joking and playing and then not only would I be angry with him I would be hurt to actually hear him say it.

I don't know where else to turn either because it so too embarrassing to even discuss it with my best friend. To me they're just ears until it comes out that they're so big. UGH.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Dear Everyone

Posted by Anonymous.

Dear everyone,

Firstly: boyfriend, I love you, but you are DOING MY FUCKING HEAD IN. You try looking after a baby and two demanding cats all day, trying to run a business, and still have some Me Time. Then imagine someone’s told you that of COURSE you have the fucking time to work, you can just do it in the evenings and at the weekends. Because I have a free evening when I’m not cooking you dinner and pouring you beer and tidying the flat. We’ve poured so much money into this, and I’m scared it’s going to fail if I can’t put more time in. We can’t afford a child-minder and our son is too little to go to nursery, but I need to make time to work. Even if I start as soon as he falls asleep, I still only get half an hour at a time doing useful stuff. I need to be working all hours of the day at the moment, and you don’t seem to appreciate it. In fact, you take everything for granted. You don’t tell me you love me without prompting, you expect to come home to cooked dinner and a nice cold beer and an evening in front of the TV, or playing on the Wii. You think you’re such a perfect modern man because you change the odd occasional nappy or look after the baby while I get a very occasional gym trip, but you’re stuck in the past. You want me to bring some extra money in? Let me work, and not in some shitty shelf-stacking job at the supermarket. Wake up.

Mother-in-law: yes, I get it. Your daughter had a baby too, and he’s smaller and cuter than mine. That doesn’t mean you have to stop being interested in your eldest grandson. I know you never really approved of him: your son and I aren’t married, and you’ve made no secret of the fact that you think I should’ve taken the morning-after pill. Your daughter has been with her husband for ten years and trying for a baby for eighteen months, and you had the gall to be upset when I got pregnant and carried to term after TWO YEARS of miscarriages? And of course, she wants to be a stay-at-home mother, and that makes her a better person than me. They can afford it, we can’t. I know that the baby is the most important thing in my life, but I need to be able to support him and your son, because hell, his company will go down the shitter if things don’t start improving soon. Also, when you do show some interest in your eldest grandson, be gentle with him. He might be a big baby, but he is still a baby. He doesn’t like being thrown around like a toy.

Father-in-law: I’ve worked for you for over a year now, doing bits of design and admin work. Remember we agreed in August that perhaps you could pay me for some of the work I do? Still waiting for that to materialize. Also, when you give me a pile of stuff to assemble into a workable presentation on Sunday night, and expect it done by Monday lunchtime, the answer is a NO. Not unless you’re prepared to fund a child-minder or let me bring the baby to the office. I feel guilty writing this, ‘cause you’ve been very good to me, but PLEASE will you pay me for what I do?

Mum: I’m a mother now. I can make perfectly adequate parenting decisions. I’m not breast-feeding anymore, and in your book that makes me a terrible mother. You know what? He’s thriving on formula and solids (I’ve never met a baby who loves his fruit and veg so much), and that’s much better than him ingesting any traces of Zoloft. I’m not going to put him in his cot and leave him to scream until he falls asleep without trying to rock him to sleep first, just because that’s the way you did it. Stop nagging me to stay chained to the kitchen sink, just like you were. My brother and I turned out so non fucked-up because of your parenting decisions, didn’t we? In addition, forcing me to eat isn’t going to cure me of my eating disorder, and making life so uncomfortable when we visit that I can’t take my antidepressants is going to do nothing but screw me up further.

Dad: Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Just... you need to stop being a soft touch with your son. You were incredibly strict with me when I was his age, and I can’t believe you like the way he treats Mum and you.

Brother: Get off your lazy backside and get a job. At least help your parents around the house. You’re sixteen years old and you’ve not had a day of responsibility in your life. Mum effectively did your GCSE coursework for you because you didn’t know how: you’ll never fucking learn if you don’t make an effort. Quit spending your money (that they give you) on beer and weed. If you keep having irresponsible unsafe sex with your girlfriend you’ll have to support someone else, and then you’ll be well and truly fucked. Also, quit stealing my money. Every time we come and stay with you money magically disappears out of my purse if I leave it in my room. I’m sick of it. Treat your parents with a little more respect. Grow up and be the man you think you are.

Son, I love you and your chubby baby cheeks and your gummy open-mouthed kisses. I just want to do what’s best for you... I wish I knew what it was.