Sad to say I'm still only 9408 words into the race, partly due to ongoing t'internet problems, which affect the research I'm still doing, and family related things. However, it seems to have got itself rolling, and I have more of an idea of where I'm going with it.
The guilt is to do with my much beloved eldest daughter Louise, my first born, mother of my first and only grandson, who is now six and a half months old. For most of their lives, certainly from as soon as they were able to understand, my four children knew a) I didn't want to be a grandmother and b) I wasn't going to be on tap to babysit. My parents lived too far away and Brian's parents were in Australia, and by the time we actually had my mother to live with us, briefly, the two older children were almost out of the babysitting years.
My daughter is a professional singer (and she'll read this, so sorry, Lou), her partner, the also much beloved Jarrod, is a professional musician. Lou's gigs usually start with her leaving home between mid-day and 4 in the afternoon, getting back between 2 and 3 the next morning. A lot of them are abroad, which necessitates at least one overnight stay, and certainly means leaving home around 6am. I have expressed concern for years, even before she was with Jarrod, having formerly been married to another musician (what a perishing family) about how she would cope with a child if she decided to go back to her profession. This is now what she wants to do. Co-grandma doesn't go out a lot and is therefore happy to babysit, but not for that length of time, I do go out a fair bit, and definitely don't want to babysit for that length of time. Herein lies the guilt.
I have berated friends of mine for giving up their lives for their grandchildren, one in particular has done so, and many friends have told me I would feel different once I had my own. Sadly, I don't. My friend Beryl Kingston has written a book, Neptune's Daughter, with this subject as one of the themes, giving me to realise it isn't only me who has a problem in this area. I know I will have to babysit sometimes, but how galling to think that if I get an invitation to dinner, or to a party, I can't go because I'm babysitting. I did that for a very long time with my own four.
Oh, dear. Comments welcome, especially if they tell me how to resolve the issue without losing a daughter.