Angst, what angst?

I hated being a teenager. I was utterly angst-ridden. Not so much in the existentialist ‘why am I here?’ department, but just about everything else. I was too skinny, too foreign (at the time practically the only brown-haired, brown-eyed girl in the whole of Sweden) and too different (mad Italian father, divorced parents, strange surname).
Bea asked me yesterday if I always thought I would get married and have children (she is 12 now, so probably just about to embark on various angst-ridden phases). I had to think about her question, and couldn’t say with all honesty that I did. All I really know is that I decided very early on that if I ever did get married and have children, I would give them the kind of upbringing I wished I had; so two parents, no divorces, stability and routine. And definitely no psychos.
I remember my stepfather yelling at me when I was about 19 years old. “You’re so bloody middle class,” he shouted. “I can just see you in years to come, married to some bloke called Rupert, loving in Wiltshire waving off your kids to boarding school.”
“What’s wrong with that?” was my reaction (which of course I didn’t dare to voice). “Sounds ideal.”
I did marry someone called Rupert, and although we don’t live in Wiltshire (and yes I do wish we did sometimes), the children may soon be going to boarding school. Of course that is now a source of angst for me, because I can’t imagine what it will be like without them, but more on that another time.
I hope we have succeeded in providing the kind of stable background that at least reduces the horror of teenage angst. So far the girls seem balanced, happy and able to talk to me if anything is worrying them.
As for Leo, there really isn’t much existentialist angst there I’m happy to say. As Rupert put it the other day: “Why am I here? I am here to score goals for Chelsea.”
There can be no greater aim….

Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2012

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