R’s grandparents arrived today from Germany. My usually high levels of stress always go through the roof when they come. The problem is mine really, or rather it’s the result of the peculiar miscommunication that exists between us.
It’s not actually the language that is the barrier. I understand German really very well. I have said before that I am one of those British English speakers who prefers requests to be cushioned by the liberal use of phrases like “if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, could you perhaps …”. Criticism should, where possible, only ever be hinted at in the most oblique terms and never said openly and directly. My in-laws are the Yin to my Yang in this regard. When he first visited our house after we moved in, my father-in-law, having surveyed the property, turned to us and said “Well, really the only thing you can do with this house is take it down and build a new one”. Followed by “I’m allowed to give my opinion, am I not?”, presumably because both G and I looked so crestfallen. That’s not to say that my father-in-law is a cruel man. Far from it, he is very kind and generous. He is just a very direct man.
This afternoon I was setting up R’s Tobii eye gaze computer and gushing to my father-in-law about how well she is doing and how smart she is. I told my father-in-law (again) about her being able to write. He looked, not for the first time, skeptical and said “you know that it’s very hard for us to believe that”. My father-in-law, as usual, was telling me straight. I am disappointed but its not because I am afraid that he doesn’t care about R because I know that he does. What really troubles me is the suspicion that he is not alone in this belief. Perhaps its just that he is the only one to tell me what he really thinks.