Little Angel is immensely proud of herself. She’s sitting up all on her own. Who knew that balancing took so much effort? She wobbles to her left but counteracts this with a panicky wave of her right hand. She sways backwards slightly but a well-placed cushion realigns her. She beams in delight at her newfound skill then suddenly nose-dives into the carpet. For a moment it’s all tears until equilibrium is restored and this strange new world becomes manageable once more.
That’s also the reason I’m babysitting today so that Darling Daughter can re-surface from the seabed of responsibility and float once more on the ocean of carefreeness. Because parenthood is the biggest balancing act of all, with mums and dads walking the tightrope of insanity between euphoria and despair. And sometimes we all need a break and a helping hand.
Or sometimes we need to find the right balance. Grunting Teen has just learnt this lesson the hard way. It turns out that too much socialising and hanging out with friends on the PS4 does not equate to high marks on your homework. Apparently, all play and no work, also makes Jack an educationally dull boy.
Still at least he’s now back on track, unlike his father, whose injured knee has plunged him into an abyss of self-pity. The Nearly-Beloved’s grumpometer is off the scale as he can no longer release the stresses of the day through playing tennis. Chain-eating Hobnobs is not the answer and tips the weighing scales even less in his favour. So, it’s just as well that the sun has been shining and that salad and short strolls have been on the menu.
If only our planet as a whole could find that balance. When the world’s wealthiest 20% account for 75% of total private consumption and the poorest fifth just 1.5%, the figures don’t add up. And with an Oxfam report showing that the richest 1% of the world’s population is worth more than the other 99%, then something is surely wrong? We see this need for levelling up on a national level too. Our north-south divide has grown to Grand Canyon proportions and it’s hard for us Yorkshire folk to comprehend. It might even make us look unkindly on our luckier southern countrymen because the reality is that some people will always be more equal than others. But when more of us become less unequal, then we will finally be heading in the right direction. And if a baby can learn to find a point of balance, then surely, we supposed grown-ups can too?
As for me, I’ve been juggling too many plates recently – work, family and a new writing project. So, it’s time for me to retire from this blog for a while to find that balance in my own life. I hope that you all can find it too.