Some comfort was given to Hippie Niece when one of the hospital staff told her, you have one of the worst cases of postnatal depression we have ever seen. Hey Uncle Andrew and Uncle R, at least I achieve at something. Her mother and step father had to pick up the pieces and become carers for her twin babies. So many of the family helped, included R a few times.
She separated from her partner, who none of us really liked but we were always perfectly nice to him, and moved back to her mother's home. A cold medication interfered with her psychiatric drugs and she had a terrible meltdown, a psychotic episode, and ended up back in hospital.
It was rather impromptu, just a mention by R that the babies (at 17 months old, not the girls as everyone refers to them as) are growing so quickly and we had not seen them for a while. I arranged it and we journeyed down to the Mornington Peninsula last Sunday and arrived just as her former partner was dropping the babies off after a couple of nights of custody visits. He had bought them brand new really nice shoes and flannies*. But when he dropped them off at midday, they were sound asleep in his car as they had missed their morning nap, and so they were initially a bit grumpy. We had a little time with Hippie Niece and the babies before her mother (Ex Sis in Law) and step father arrived home. The babies were excited to see them. Then Tradie Brother (Ex Sis in Law's former husband) arrived after surveying tree damage at Mother's and Sister who had been up for sport, a social engagement and a visit to Mother arrived as well.
We, Sister, Oldest Niece, the babies and Ex Sis in Law went for lunch to the local sports club and had a really nice meal in nice surroundings. It was a couple of hours driving for the day, but a really nice day. Oldest Niece was back to her old self, bright, bubbly, gabbling away, talking too loudly, being embarrassingly frank.
Ok, I found this so amusing. Before she went to Europe a couple of years ago, Hippie Niece met up with a guy via a dating app. She told him that as he had custody of his two young children, separated from his partner, he came with too much baggage. They have connected again via a dating app and now who has the more baggage? But then came the clincher. I met him firstly when we were teens and he was so nice and considerate and reluctant to have sex on a first meeting, but all I wanted to do was jump his bones, so we did have sex when we were teens.
What could Uncle Andrew say to that? Ever so not tactfully I said, so he is a known product then. He had just stood her up for a date, with the inexcusable reason that his mother was dying in hospital, or something like that. It is hard to think of Hippie Niece having sex when she was a teen, about 16 I think. People of my age and my generation are caught between two worlds at times. By the age of 16 I was hunting for sex and ready to go off like a cracker and I do understand and remember what the drive is like. But my teenage niece? No no. Maybe by the age of 20 when you are in love with someone. I am a stupid old man but at least I don't say, once you are married. I am sexism personified in a way. It is all very well for young straight and gay male teens to hunt for sex, but not for young teenage females.
Having said that, I mentally collapsed once home as I read the latest email from Mother's neighbour about fences and falling trees. Tired as I was, I could not get to sleep and once I did, I was awake by 4am, not having to get up for work until 6am.
*Flannies, flannelette shirts such as a bogan/chav/redneck might wear. Or a tree cutter or lumberjack, or my Tradie Brother.