The phrase "well I don't know" is a meaningful one in my family. You see it's sort of a catchphrase for my Auntie. You'll be in the middle of a conversation with her and she'll just blurt out "well I don't know" or there will be a silence between conversation and she'll be off again with "well I don't know". When moments like these occur, people who are not used to her will get this look on their faces as if to say "what the fuck??...you don't know what?...did I miss something?" I used to get that look myself but I'm used to it now.
In fact my Mum, Sister and I will often just jump in with "well I don't know" mid-conversation now when we haven't got anything else to say in response. It's like a wee homage to my Auntie!
Anyway, aside from her wee catchphrase my Auntie is...how should I put this?...a bit highly strung. She is a lovely woman, full of life and fun and she has the loudest most hearty giggle you'll ever hear but she is absolutely 100% hyper at the best of times.
Funny thing is her Brothers and Sister (my Uncle's and my Mum) and even her Mum and Dad were/are laid back to the point of horizontal in comparision to her. In fact my Uncle's and my Mum all look very similar but my Auntie (who is the eldest) looks nothing lke them. There is no-one else in our family like her in fact...well apart from me..but just a wee bit and only because we're both a bit hyper at times and love shopping!
Last week my Auntie was in floods of tears at Mum's....there was 2 reasons for this. One was that she had a flat tyre and was just devasted to the point of wanting to top herself and the other was because she has no grandchildren!! This second one is a bit of a sore point to my Auntie. She's recently turned 60 and there's no sign of Granchildren on the horizon. My Mum has been a Granny for 11 years now, My Uncle had 3 Grandsons and My other Uncle (who has been dead since '99) had 2 step-Grandkids before he died and 3 more since. So my Auntie, who loves to do things first, is being left well and truly behind.
I think she's lonely. Her kids have long since flown the nest and don't exactly live on the doorstep anymore. Friends and family all have these gatherings for birthday's and the like where all the Grandkids come round and it's all good. There's just her and my Uncle and to be fair my Aunt loves a good get together and a laugh (her parties were legendary when we were kids!) but my Uncle has since settled into the quiet life of a 60 year old and those days of throwing big family parties are behind her now.
So this Christmas I'm going to head round there with my troops at some point over the festivities, with a bottle in hand, some dips and crisps and let my kids run riot! It'll end one of two ways...she'll enjoy herself and get a wee smile on her face from having us there and it'll make her want Grandkids even more...or....she'll realise how tiring and how much of a nuisance kids can be and will count herself lucky not to have grandkids!
What will happen? "Well I don't know" we'll wait and see.