The Angelina Jolie effect continued yesterday as the glamorous actress and peace ambassador released news that, in a risk reducing operation last week, she had had her ovaries removed. And in a BRCA1 gene mutation type of way, she and I are now on a par.
Now more than 4 years since I had my pre-emptive double mastectomy and a year less since my oophorectomy, I do finally feel that that part of my life is over. It's just something that happened in the past. Not because it was such a dreadful journey, but simply because that was me then and this is me now.
The whole point about a life journey is that we are constantly moving. A close friend recently lost her father. It was a hideous time and yet now, a few weeks on, she is moving closer towards a happier moment in her life.
Angelina and all those other risk adverse girls are brave but you too would do the same. We take what life throws at us and try to regain any control possible over our destinies. And – when we're not journeying through troubled waters – we slip back into the daily joys, trials and tribulations of 'normal life'.
Unfortunately though Jolie's operation did not remain the first item on today's news agenda. A plane carrying 150 people crashed in the French Alps. Sixteen of the dead include children from a German school exchange trip. And this is the very worst sort of journey imaginable.
Dear Patricia Marie,
My 30 year old daughter has been happily married for 10 years now, while my 25 year old son is still drifting from one relationship to another. He introduces his girlfriends to us as the love of his life, and a few months later it's all over. My husband and I have enjoyed wedded bliss for almost 35 years. It is extremely upsetting that while one of my children seems to have followed our example, the other has not. I am becoming increasingly concerned by my son's erratic behaviour.
Patricia Marie says.....
Having blissfully happy parents can sometimes be an unexpected disadvantage. Your son could be approaching every relationship with totally unrealistic expectations. If he measures every one of his new relationships up against what he experiences at home, he's soon going to feel disappointed. It may be that you're applying unfair demands.
Your son could be introducing every new girlfriend as 'The One', because he feels that's what you want to hear - and it seems to me that he is desperately trying to seek your approval.
He is still young enough to be playing the field, and maybe you should let him do so, free from the weight of your expectations. Whilst it's a comfort for you to know your daughter is happily married, you cannot compare your son's situation to hers, as this could jeopardise your relationship with him. Your son has his own unique personality, that if you were to embrace, could enrich your relationship with him. Trust that he is an adult, able to make his own choices regarding his relationships, and believe based on his many experiences, that when he is ready, your son will hopefully be able to make a good decision that is right for him - not one that is expected of him.
There's been a fair bit of finger wagging at those glossy magazines this week. Women far and wide (no pun intended) seem to have an axe to grind and it involves those 'perfect mums' in those shiny pages profiling their 'perfect lives'.
Now, I do understand that sometimes those features can be eye-watering nauseating as well as self-esteem damaging. Honestly, I DO get it. But talk yourself off the edge, ladies, and realise that no-one's life is even half close to perfect. Those magazine editors (who are honestly lovely and normal) have pages to fill and, anyway, reading about a perfect mum is much more inspiriting than a lady-who-has-totally-lost-it.
One of those profiled happened to mention that her children do not play with plastic toys, watch TV nor dress in anything less than couture. We all know THAT'S never going to be the truth for us. The real women. But it is amusing that she tries to pretend and should therefore make you smirk not growl.
Peronally, I read these magazines for pure escapism and, actually, it would be a boring old world without them. There are plenty of horror stories in the Daily Mail and Woman's Own, but I count on those with thicker, sumptuous pages to allow me to fantasize.
So the bottom line is - don't get your knickers in a twist over someone else's gloss, it's often not as it seems.
Dear Patricia Marie,
My son left his ex-wife and two children and is now living with someone else. They have a new baby. My son has told me in no uncertain terms not to tell his ex-wife that he has had another child, but I have been invited to the christening of his daughter by his ex-wife and I feel that she should know - and that the children will be related.
She too has a new partner, and I feel sure she would be accepting of this news. Thankfully we have a good relationship, which I work hard to maintain as I would not want anything to jeopardise me seeing my grandchildren, but if I kept this secret from her, and she found out, she would be very upset.
My son said it is up to him to tell her. I can't envisage enjoying the christening, as I am the mother of the man who left them, so would it be right for me to accept the invitation?
Patricia Marie says.....
It is your son's responsibility to tell his ex-wife that he has another child. It will come out at some stage and the more he delays it, the more difficult it will be. The children should know about the new baby - and perhaps hopefully get to enjoy a relationship with their new sibling. If it's kept a secret and they find out one day, that could be quite traumatic; they could be upset or angry with their father, and if it were to remain undisclosed for too long, they may never forgive him.
When he tells his children, to avoid them feeling rejected in any way, he must reassure them how much he loves them and that he will see them just as often. Whilst this is not an easy situation, it can be made tolerable if dealt with in a civilised manner.
Explain to your son that if you have to keep it a secret, it could damage your relationship with his ex-wife and your grandchildren when she finds out. If he absolutely refuses then when his ex-wife does discover the truth, insist you were put in an awkward situation and that you had asked your son to tell her himself or to let you do it instead.
You are very worthy of the invitation, so go along, hold your head high, and enjoy your granddaughter's very special christening celebration.