Out planting bulbs (yes, I know, late spring is also a good time for daffodils and narcissus) & because I often think about my parents when gardening*, I got to thinking about my life choice to say ‘yes’ as often as I can and how many of the people who are always encouraging me to say ‘no’ more often had v different upbringings to me …

They could go home once they left, there was room for them, money for them, a place for them. Whatever age they were when they left home, there was something for them to fall back on – perhaps not quite Pulp’s, “If you called your Dad, he could stop it all”, but not far.

That wasn’t the case for me and for the kids who came from poorer families as I did.

And it interests me that the poorer kids are the people I gravitated to as soon as I left home – the ones who knew what it was like to fend for yourself.
We left home, we got on with it.
There was no allowance, no money to fall back on, no back to go to.
Not because my parents were unkind or unloving, but because they didn’t have either. From the age of 17 I looked after myself.
I ONCE borrowed $200 from my Mum to pay my rent – and I paid it back.
Add that to being freelance my whole life, and the chances of being someone who says an easy “no, thanks” to pretty much anything that might result in work, that might lead somewhere, one day … well, it’s not quite as easy as just learning to say “no”.
Like so many other things, saying “no” is a class and poverty thing too.

Those bulbs will be lovely in April and May.

*economic migrants, my parents moved to my father’s native NZ when I was five. They went from decades of post-war shared houses and the council flat I was born in to a little weatherboard house (like all the other mill houses in Tokoroa) with a 1/4 acre section. My mother had her first ever garden at the age of 48. They both worked full time and they both worked that garden.