Complicated Families  

I had conversations with two women yesterday. Both referred to ‘my ex-husband’, ‘the father of my children’, ‘my current partner’. Both are good people, good mothers; both are settled in their life and relationships. At times, however, their families are complicated.

Last week I was chatting to a friend… he’s had two wives… he has a son and two grandchildren… he now has two ‘lady-friends’ who are jealous of each other. His life is often complicated.

Prince Harry’s interviews and book have dominated the news over the past few days. Past grief and grievances, who said and did what to whom, issues of truth, recollections and opinions all get tangled in a complex web. His family is complicated!

The phrase ‘airing one’s dirty washing in public’ seems appropriate. Most of us wouldn’t want our clean washing to be hung across the street for public scrutiny – let alone our dirty washing! …Apparently Napolean used this phrase.

Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is a play about complicated relationships. I love Algernon Moncrieff’s irony: ‘The amount of women in London who flirt with their own husbands is perfectly scandalous. It looks so bad. It is simply washing one’s clean linen in public.’

I’ve listened to, produced and watched ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ many times… apparently a happy story of an old man and his 12 sons…

…Jacob has already deceived and run away from his own father and brother. He marries two sisters who are jealous of each other; Jacob’s father-in-law is also his deceitful conniving uncle; his two wives’ maids are his concubines – so his 12 sons have four mothers… and Joseph’s life makes his family more complicated!

20 years after cheating his brother Esau, Jacob decides he needs to return to be reconciled to his brother. His family remains complicated – he can’t sort out all of his problems, but this was one bit he could sort out – and he did.

I admire him for that.

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