Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word - Irritated by kindness? – you’ve got famger

Irritated by kindness? You’ve got famger

Mum's the Word - Pic: J Christie
Mum's the Word - Pic: J Christie
Mum's the Word - Pic: J Christie

Youngest Child is on her summer break from uni and has been in the park in the sun with a mate.

“We had an amazing time. Just lying there thinking about things from when we were little and laughing. Like, you know how if it’s your family you get angry for no reason at stuff they do? says Youngest Child.

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“No,” I say, because I’m clinging on to ‘Be Kind’, even if it only lasted a fortnight at the height of Covid, and anyway when I get angry at family there’s always a reason. Let me count the ways…

“You know what I mean,” she says. “The worst ones are when you’re so thankful they’re doing something nice but they’re still annoying by accident and your expectations are dashed. Like when you were trying to be nice - which made it even worse because I felt guilty for being angry - but if you made me Nutella on toast and brought it to me and I’d be all excited then see that you’d put butter on it - again.”

“Wait, you don’t like butter?”

“Ha, ha. I know you know I don’t like butter - you were just always busy so forgot, and you were trying to do a nice thing but it ended up being a disappointment. Or if I had a cake in the fridge and I’d been looking forward to it, then Eldest or Middle had eaten it because they thought I didn’t want it and they’d just tidy the fridge up.”

“That’s a charitable interpretation,” I tell her, and doesn’t add up with the scenes where the words “stolen”, “deliberate”, “gutzer” and “brat” were hurled.

“With my friend,” she say, “it was when her granny would ask if she wanted an egg and sausage roll and she’d say yes please and be all excited and grateful waiting, and then her granny would give her an egg roll and a sausage roll separately.”

“Could she not just move the sausage into the egg roll?”

“Course. But it’s that feeling, where your family are being kind to you and you’re excited, but then it’s disappointing and you’re annoyed...”

“Dismay or anger caused by family kindness?” I say. “Must be a word for that. Disfamily?” “Famger?”

“Normal,” she says, and goes to make me a cup of tea.

Aw, kind. But I hope she remembers I don’t take milk.

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