Rite of Passage Fourteen –A Journey Resumed–
1959. I am 25 years old
Q: All for them! A new job in a new country and the need to provide; all this takes time, focus and commitment. But what about the “heart felt” needs? Did you ever put achievement before family?
Surely it has not escaped your notice that recently I have taken up a good deal of mine and your time on my work related focus during the early years of marriage when youthful strength joined forces with demanding competition and the completely logical desire to provide successfully for my family.
How often have you heard the well-worn excuse when real stress makes its mark, “But, I did it all for my family!”
Well, in my case, I could have easily said just that…except it really wasn’t true!
I burned that candle at both ends because I didn’t want to fail –either for their sake or for mine but mainly mine!
I could have spent as little as a half hour a day and written a letter – Did I not have thirty minutes to spare? Of course I did, but it was filled with “what ifs” instead of what…was!
It had all begun with the Royal Ascot and being asked to take over the General Management position from my dad. Of course it was way beyond me…BUT…what a start, a General Manager at twenty-three years old…yikes!
But what a cost, absolute stress and the loss of our second child! Then came Chief Catering Advisor to an Air Force (albeit a small one). That would take five years on my way to thirty and I could close my doors at 5:30pm and we could be a family…at last!
BUT, I needed to prove myself to my new nation and so the Vice President of the Wine and Food Society; radio, television, followed by books upon books…
Guess what…no time again, always out to prove myself first as a manager, then a gourmet, a celebrity, an author…always with a head filled with “what ifs” and so seldom “what was”!
So…what about now?
On September 17, 2015 just 5 days short of our 60th wedding anniversary my beloved Treena breathed her last breath. It was for her that I have done so much…eventually but on the way I was driven for more than my family.
At times it was competition and the ever present ‘ratings’ which, when very good, were like a good housekeeping seal of approval almost stamped into my forehead!
Millions watched me worldwide but what about my family; was I really doing it ALL for them?
14 million cookbooks sold…hundreds and thousands of detailed ‘measured’ words that had to work well the first time they were used.
And my family waited and waited! How many more programs and books were needed? Well, there was a contract…an obligation to finish.
Eventually, as you may read in my book, there was a time when it was enough – a time to ‘do a small thing and do it well’ with the family I have always loved…and for whom I did a great deal…but not ALL because the rest was done for my sake and I’m deeply sorry for all those years that could have been.
There remain now the years that are and the family I have left and the memory of the extraordinary woman without whose sacrifice I may not have achieved…anything?
PS. This week I read Treena’s poem This Love