Fraught. If you’re speaking to an Afrikaans person, the word will be heard as ‘vrot’. Pronounced ‘frot’ it means ‘rotten’. It can also mean drunk, miserable or desperately ill; “I am vrot with ‘flu…/ I got horribly vrot, fell off a bar stool and does anybody know what I did with my bra?”

An English person, on the other hand, will understand fraught to mean:

fraught adj, colloq causing or feeling anxiety or worry • Jenny has been fraught since the vote went against her. fraught with danger, etc full of or laden down with danger, difficulties, problems, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: 14c: from Dutch vracht freight.

In the spirit of the festive season, Kleine Zalze have challenged their batch of Summer Ambassadors to write on the theme “Home Is Where The Heart Is”.  As one of the Winter Ambassadors, I said I’d tag along, for old times sake, and because I have plenty of time to kill; being as how it’s the time of the year I need to make myself scarce in my home.

You see, it’s like this; my step-daughter has arrived. Until the 4th of January she will be the alpha female in the house. It has been this way for the past fourteen years. My husband, perhaps because of the guilt of his failed first marriage and the subsequent long periods of separation from his daughter, panders to the girl. It is as if they exist alone inside a glass cage. My furniture is rearranged, my bathroom is taken over and life must be lived on tiptoe as the girl likes to sleep quite a lot. I also have to be mindful of the list of DON’Ts that have caused tsunamis in past years: Don’t ask her to tidy her room, don’t ask her not to use my facewash as shower gel, don’t ask her to help with the dishwashing…

Original Bunn gets jealous, confused and nasty. I don’t understand much about psychology, but she becomes angry and acts out at me, not at her father and sister. The situation becomes more dreadful every year, and recovery at the end of it all becomes increasingly unlikely.

So, there we have it; for me this festive season, Home is where the heart is fraught.

As my friend Elizabeth Windsor would say “One will have to sip on something strong. Give One strength.” Chin-chin, Lizzie, bottoms up, eh?


59 Comments Add yours

  1. deepercolors says:

    Interesting words. If I ever put a story in South Africa (probably never) I will know who to go to for language advice. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’ll have to come over and do research, I’m a good guide 🙂

  2. halfp1nt says:

    I would be getting quite vrot in that situation. Best of luck, Cindy.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Shorty, must be gin-o-clock somewhere in the world, hey?

  3. leigh says:

    Vrot, indeed 😦

  4. nrhatch says:

    I would be SOOOO tempted to stomp on a few eggshells and let the Tsunami blow.

    So blow ye winds, high ho
    A sailing I will go
    I’ll stay no more on England’s shore
    So let the music play . . .

    We just watched Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. A pertinent quote for you:

    “What can I say? It’s the holidays. We’re all in misery.” 😦

    1. 2nd that. nicely said. go to the pain and let it loose it’s power over you

      1. theonlycin says:

        @Nancy, I love the quote!
        @Doc Sana, I can only try …

    2. bluebee says:

      Yes, the temptation would be great, indeed! 🙂

  5. slpmartin says:

    My dear Cindy…I sincerely regret that your holiday will be imposed upon by such a child…no matter what the age a “child”…I hope that you and your daughter have the type of private moments that make the holiday special…guilt has no place in love.

  6. AGH. what’s worse. the anticipation, the experience, or the recovery!?

    1. theonlycin says:

      The futility and helplessness of it all is awful.

  7. I feel your pain and more! I really do! My husband has 2 from a previous marriage and it has been years and years of and continues to be URGH! What’s worse is we don’t have a child of our own. Oh it is all so complicated and hard- so hard!
    I am sending you protecting angels to hold you high and happy during this difficult time. Even better, come and visit – we can work on your tan 😉
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you Mandy, I thought it would get easier with the years, but it actually gets worse.

  8. MissChris says:

    You know my thoughts and feelings on the fraughtness and there is naught to do but get vrot!! That I agree with!! Good Luck Cin!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks my friend 🙂

  9. buttercup600 says:

    My heart will be there with you and OB…I agree with Charlie, no matter what the age…respect always first….and no place for guilt in love!!! Many happy Chin-Chin’s my dear friend. Big hugs xoxoxox

    1. theonlycin says:

      Ag, Maatjie, baie, baie dankie. xxxxxxxx

  10. Supa says:

    I sympathise as my relationship with the Troll is equally fraught. We’ve had no speaks for a few months, now we are communicating albeit gingerly! Troll has no problems with her father, just me!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m so sorry Supa, that must be so sad for you. When the Bunn is nasty to me, bits of my heart turn to ash.

    2. Chantelle (JustMe) says:

      What did I do to the troll???? *slaps thigh at silly joke*

      1. theonlycin says:

        *scratches head and wonders about joke*

      2. Chantelle (JustMe) says:

        “Troll has no problems with her father, just me!” *giggles again*

      3. theonlycin says:

        *catches it* Bwaaaaaaahahaha!

  11. souldipper says:

    Oh, Cin – the betrayal. From all three, for different reasons. That stings. I do hope The Bunn and you plan some great outings and adventures.

    I’m sending you all sorts of Light – and will include the Five Archangels. They stay for five days, clean up after themselves and answer your every request – as long as there is no maiming or victimizing. 🙂

  12. Chantelle (JustMe) says:

    *downs vase of Merlot* I have the same with the in-laws (funny how it’s only the MIL and FIL – the rest are fine!) I find the anticipation of their visits are sometimes worse than the visits themselves.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I just have a lot of naps and hope the time passes quickly.

  13. This is a fantastic piece of writing, Cindy, and makes my heart reach out over the oceans. One gives one’s spouse space, one’s stepdaughter the world as defined by her, and Bunn a soothing hand; and yet one seems to remain at least civilised about the whole fury-enducing shebang.

    I am quite in awe, as I would turn red and start shouting quite early in the business.

    Enjoy that drink.

    1. theonlycin says:

      One has had years of practice, Kate, but one does yearn for a sleeping draught that would knock one out until January.

  14. nursemyra says:

    Oh I hope the step-daughter grows up soon!

    1. theonlycin says:

      She’s 21, Myra. It’s more my husband’s fault, really.

  15. Tandy says:

    I can really empathise with you on this BIG HUGS

    1. theonlycin says:

      You can cut through the atmosphere, it’s so heavy …

  16. Ah, Cindy, so sorry this is such a difficult time for you. For you all, I’m sure. OB no doubt acts out with you because you’re the one she feels most secure and safe with, although that doesn’t make it easy to deal with at the time.
    Much love and strength to you all, Cindy – it sounds like you are blessed with an abundance of grace, which is just what you need right now.
    Hugs from a vrot-cold London
    Sunshine xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’d rather be blessed with an abundance of Merlot 😉
      Thanks, Sunshine. xxx

  17. suzicate says:

    Yes, if I had to endure this spoiled woman child, I’d be vrot with Merlot, too. I’ll even have a drink for you. I pray for an abundance of blessings for you this season and virtual hugs on the way!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks suzicate *fills glass*

  18. Liane says:

    I know what you mean… If I have to look for silver lining I’d have to say that it is what has been happening for years. The first time catches you off guard maybe and you do all kinds of things you might regret – don’t know where to hold, or where to let go. Second time you’re a bit more enlightened, but still bit wobbly… but over years it gets easier… if nothing else you become wiser, become familiar with the traps and where to step to avoid some… But still… 21!!!?? May she lose interest in miserable (oh, and hide the face wash! – maybe the toothbrush too… 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh! I didn’t think about the toothbrush :O

  19. As “kak” as that is- it made for interesting writing!!! Perhaps you can just blog about her for the whole of the holiday?

    1. theonlycin says:

      I terrified of boring my readers away 😉

  20. bluebee says:

    Oh, a damn good reason to find a nice cosy pub and get vrot with friends

    1. theonlycin says:

      Friends have all decamped to Cape Town 😀

  21. M says:

    Cin, am a step mother myself and been in the same situation! I admire your courage writing all this!
    I had some problems also but I was always afraid of not being understood if I vent about the situation, so I do admire you for writing this post.
    … be patient Cin, things will change, you will see…
    I am thinking of you a lot!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I appreciate that, thanks Mirella xxx

  22. you and the bunn must go and do things together just for the fun of it. leave the others to themselves

    1. theonlycin says:

      We have little choice but to do exactly that.

  23. Cin, I can identify with you – my stepdad’s one daughter is 47 already and yet, if she comes to visit (which isn’t all that often, thank goodness), it is as if the Queen of some distant land is arriving – she does NOTHING to help around the house and treats my mom quite badly and Dad doesn’t say a thing – because he suffers from guilt of being an absentee father (he worked away) and when he was home, he was inebriated most of the time. It’s a difficult situation to be in. As for the Bunn, I also lashed out at my mom in previous years (thank goodness I’ve grown up a bit now), but it was because on some level I felt threatened by the step sister, even though I never really showed it. Sending you lots of love xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for sharing that, MTM!

      1. Pleasure! Hope it helps xxx

  24. Lyndatjie says:

    How on earth can this situation be healthy in any shape or form? Your husband deserves a slap for allowing you to be treated like this. Argh!
    Poor Bunn – she sees you as the authoritarian in her life – the one constant that is her rock and her port of safety….. if she sees turmoil like this – she is more than likely blaming you for not putting a stop to it. The older she’s going to get – the more she is going to act out and like you say – the longer its going to take you to snap her back… purely because she is going to see it as UNFAIR treatment because the older one is getting away with it – so surely she must be treated the same.

    Take her out for a milkshake and a cake dripping with chocolate and have a mother/daughter conversation with her – but treat her like a little adult. Tell her that you are in a difficult position because you are trying to understand and be supportive of the relationship between your husband and his daughter. Tell her that you are hoping that one day SOON the daughter will wake up and have the same wonderful relationship that Bunn and her dad has. ASK her for her help. ASK her to stand by you and be your rock and your friend during this. Kids are NOT stupid – she can see what is happening – she just doesn’t understand WHY you are allowing it – so if you speak to her on a level she understands – she will be the daughter you’ve raised throughout it all.
    Just my humble opinion – but then what do I know? I want to kill the teenagers at the moment! Maybe you shouldn’t be listening to a woman that will soon have blood on her hands… *sigh*

    1. theonlycin says:

      I may just forward your comment to him, maybe it will give him a wake up?
      Thank you.

  25. nzwaa says:

    This breaks my heart.

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