Family Ties

Sorry about the bigger-than-usual gap since my last entry. My mum, sister and my sister’s three boys have been in town visiting for the first time from Texas for almost two months and everything’s been really busy with kids EVERYWHERE.

Of course there was my little monster Felix who keeps me busy anyway…

But there was also 5yr old Alex (the loud one)…

And 3yr old twin brothers, Shaya on the left (the temperamental one) and Faris on the right (the charming one)…

I LOVE these boys more than anything, but I have to say it was a challenge at first. They burst through the front door like a stampede of wilder beast - jumping on the sofa, knocking the lamp down, pulling the microwave off the counter (oh yes he did), smashing glasses and so on. It was horrendous!

The thing is, my aversion to mess started young. I was raised by messy parents. My folks were never really like other parents with the whole tidying-up thing. It was always a case of "Lets have fun and clean up later", but of course later never came. So while other kids dreamed of never being nagged to tidy their rooms, I dreamed of being a domestic goddess with my own pristine little palace.

Ugh! I just realised they turned me into a stereotype!

Anyway even past childhood I didn't quite get my tidy-fix for a while. Around the age of 20 I moved into a house share with four others, so as you can imagine I would wake to pizza boxes and cigarette butts. It then became a lot more civilized when I moved in with a guy called Joe who was obsessed with the Golden Girls, before living on my own for a short time but not really long enough to make my mark. I then moved back home in my late 20s, shortly after which my mum moved to the states to help my sister raise her kids after having divorced my dad. By this time the only people in the family home were my dad, a typical laid back bloke, and me, an ultra-clean gay man. So I rose from the ashes like a phoenix and took my crown as the mistress of the house!

Then the family visited…

You can imagine the horror before my eyes when I walked into the living room to see it totally wrecked by three excited little boys. Forget seeing red, it was like watching the scene from The Shining where blood covers the room. I grabbed Felix and ran up to my room to take sanctuary. If I’d stayed downstairs there would’ve been some serious redrum.

After the initial shock I realised I needed to suck it up as this family time was valuable. Felix and I emerged from the bedroom a month later to join the family on excursions – a convention at Earl’s Court, shopping on Green Street, Alex’s birthday picnic in Valentine’s Park etc.

Actually the shopping on Green Street was interesting. It was just the other day actually, their last weekend in London. Green Street is an Indian street in the East End where you can buy food, fabric, Bollywood movies and so on. As a kid I spent many painful afternoons being dragged down that street waiting for my mum as she stopped in EVERY shop feeling fabrics, tasting samosas, squeezing vegetables and sipping masala tea whilst I trailed behind carrying tins of ghee and sacks of Basmati rice in her granny-trolley.

To be honest, not much had changed since I used to go. My mum still looked in every shop and I still dragged her granny trolley, only this time it was with one hand because the other was pushing a stroller! This was why it was so interesting, because it really felt like the roles had moved on. I’d become the parent dragging moody kids around! How weird!!!

But anyway that was our last weekend together. I left Felix with granddad and took them off to the airport a couple of days later. I said my goodbyes to my mum, sister and the boys and watched the noisy crowd disappear past the gates. And boy did I cry. Nothing brings tears to your eyes like being left alone at the airport.

Don’t get too sad for me because there is good news - whilst here, my sister decided that it was best for the kids to move back to London next year. She’s right of course. Kids that age need to grow up surrounded by people who love them. Actually, parents do too, because having family close by has got to be more important than a tidy house, right?