It's Panto season. And this year, I've come into contact with both a Wicked Stemother
and a Fairy Godmother
(you know who you are).
I've had just the BEST few days away from home, staying with a terrific Twitter friend and meetings lots of other Tweeters. I went down South to see my son in his school play, "Animal Farm". I'm biased, obviously, but I thought it was a tremendous production (well done, Aldenham School)and afterwards I met my son's housemaster, who told me my son was doing really well. I can't tell you how pleased I was to hear this.
Those of you who read my blog regularly (hello, and thank you) will know that I was nervous about the son and heir leaving home and going to a new school and living with his father and stepmother and although the school has worked out brilliantly, home life has not.
His stepmother did not enjoy having her stepson living with her AT ALL. She made life increasingly difficult for him as the weeks went on. He was not allowed, for example, to study at home at the weekends. This, apparently, was not productive and he had to take himself off to Barnet library every Saturday and Sunday. Last weekend she caught him taking a small bottle of water with him and made him put it back in the fridge. "You get pocket money - buy your own water," was the instruction. Several hours later, he returned home in the pouring rain and couldn't get in (he's not allowed a house key; no reason given). He rang his father who explained that he and his wife were shopping and would be home in an "hour or so". He was to "find some shelter" and wait.
Then a few days ago, he was told that his father and stepmother wouldn't be coming to see him in "Animal Farm" as his stepmother, believe it or not, "didn't feel wanted".
On Friday last week I was told by my son that as from January, he would be a full-time boarder at his school. Presumably the decision to whisk my son down to Hertfordshire and live with them hadn't, um, worked out.
Fortunately, he's delighted to be boarding. And because he's happy about it, so am I.
I have no idea what it must be like to be a stepmother, but I imagine it's difficult. Welcoming someone else's child into your home cannot be easy, indeed it must be fraught with difficulties. I'm not going to say what I think of his father's role in all this because I can't do so without recourse to........... well, I'm sure you know what I'd like to say.
I worry every day how this will affect my son's feelings about himself: what will it do to his self-esteem? What kind of relationship will he have now with his father? Will he ever have any relationship with his stepmother? Somewhere along the line I feel I've failed him, but I don't know how to rectify this other than to make sure he knows he is loved and that I'm proud of him for dealing with this farcical situation with more grace and dignity than I would ever have thought possible.