I have never really done jealous. I was always convinced that 99 percent of life is in ones own hands. A phrase that has never failed to irritate me when something goes wrong for someone is "that's just my luck ". I know it is said without any self psycho-analysis but I just can't help judging them and concluding they have fatalistic approach to life. For the record there is now another phrase which instills equal irritation, so please refrain from saying "life's too short" in my company!
I was certainly never jealous for materialist reasons. Not because there weren't loads of people with a great deal more in this respect, but because I could accept that if I wanted the same it was solely down to me to put sufficient effort in to achieve it. I chose to achieve to the degree that I did and was very happy with the effort / achievement balance and I didn't want to have more enough to put the extra effort in. You could accuse me of underachievment or even laziness and to a degree it is true, but I was content and never jealous.
Unfortunately the 1 percent which you can't control can put a spanner in the works and for me it has proven to be a fucking big spanner.
And a couple of otherwise fairly ordinary experiences at the weekend, by virtue of occuring on Fathers day made me realise how jealousy felt .
To start with, there was a fairly typical altercation between Daniel and Jake. Usual sort of thing; initial small verbal provocation, hugely disproportionate verbal retaliation, physical counter attack, full scale scrap. And this time for good measure, a Nintendo DS being thrown out of car on to driveway. I appreciate that this sequence of events is straight out the 9 year old boys instruction manual, between the chapter titled How to Make Farting Noises Using Almost Any Part of Your Body and the one titled The Most Inappropriate Behaviour For Any Occasion, but the Daniel / Jake conflicts far outnumber those of both other sibling combinations put together.
So I am sitting in the back of the car unable to intervene either physically or verbally. I always attempt the latter but it is just an incomprensible string of noises and other than maybe make them aware that their behaviour has not gone unnoticed, it does nothing to defuse the situation. Even if I have had my communication device with me, it would have been completely ineffective, you simply can't generate the sentences quickly enough or include the necessary intonation.
So I just have to watch as two of my sons tear chunks out of each other and tease one another mercilessly until one or both of them burst into tears. A few minutes later after being unloaded from the car, they are still going, but despite being mobile I am still not able to intervene.
We had meant to have been coming home to open Fathers Day cards and presents but I wasn't in the mood any more, and as I was already in the outdoor wheelchair I decided to go out by myself for a while. To a small degree I was angry with the boys behaviour, to a greater degree I was depressed by the continued animosity between them and my complete inability to help reconcile their differences.
So with an hour or so before the carer would arrive, I took myself down to the Hampton Court to watch the world go by on the river and this was the second fairly commonplace event that had more significance on Fathers Day.
I find myself with a lot of thinking time but for the sake of psychological self preservation I have learned what not to think about. This includes what I used to do and enjoy, what I previously had thought I would be doing in the future, what it will be like as my condition worsens and what I would do for the first week if I was cured. But the first and foremost thought to avoid is what I would have been doing with the boys if I didn't have MND, that one is a killer.
Sometimes you just can't avoid it. When they play football in the garden or playing on the Wii. When everyone else is singing Happy Birthday to them or when their Uncle dangles them upside down by their feet. Otherwise I'm pretty good at obeying the rules.
But last Sunday sitting by the river I slipped up. It was impossible not to notice dads and sons cycling, fishing, rowing and playing football. And it was impossible not to be jealous.