Temporary Legal Guardian

March 7, 2011


My sincere apologies, folks! My failure to add a blog is down to a few factors: the amount of essays due, my new found love affair with Jameson Irish Whisky, a fascination with cheese burritos and most importantly, a visit from my Canadian boyfriend. All these things have kept me from my computer (which is now missing an R key) and for this neglect, I am sorry.

I did, however, pen the following in a particularly boring lecture last week and hereby present to you the continued inner workings of my inexplicable mind:


Sleep tugs on my heavy eye lids as the tube’s gentle sway lulls me into an unsatisfying slumber. My mind is still debriefing the events of the day and I create a ‘to-do’ list in my head, an arbitrary task as I am sure to forget the moment I step from the carriage into the cold night air. The stereotypically English announcer tells me I have arrived at my stop; I hoist my bag onto my shoulder and lumber down the carriage toward the door, ensuring I ‘Mind the Gap.’

As I trudge along the pavement home, brow furrowed, steps labored, I contemplate my newly acquired title: Temporary Legal Guardian. The title may be ambivalent to some but to me, it instills pure, triple distilled terror (For those of you who don’t know, Jameson whisky is triple distilled). These three words have managed to place a boulder on my shoulders under which I am struggling to stand. The implications of such a title floor me, a mid twenties woman, as I am still trying to figure out if I should be my own legal guardian or just let my mother do it. The task of being responsible for a minor’s life contains more culpability than I am prepared to handle. What exactly is included within the job description of a legal guardian? Well, I suppose with my signature she could get a tattoo or her nose pierced. I could also buy her cigarettes and alcohol (Jameson’s, of course) if need be. I can also supervise her while she drinks (Jameson’s) in a pub (with a meal of course), buy her a knife in a B&Q or take her on holiday. If these were my appointed responsibilities, I might be okay but unfortunately this is not the case.


I am to make sure she gets to school on time, has a clean school uniform, eats properly and regularly, know her whereabouts and ensure she is happy, healthy and above all, safe. These are tasks I have yet to master myself so you will have to excuse me while I perform the infamous display of fear and pee my pants.

Now I must admit, I am being slightly over dramatic. My charge is 15 years old and quite capable of looking after herself; despite my urge to sport a cape and a ‘Super Mum’ emblem, she doesn’t really need me to coddle her. She can dress and bathe herself (phew), do her own laundry, cook, clean her room and get to school…she can probably buy her own alcohol and cigarettes too! She is a smart, savvy, beautiful 15 year old (going on 21) who should it be required, could look after herself at a high standard.

Right- back to this term ‘Legal Guardian.’ What does it mean exactly? Well since undertaking my new post, I have come to the following conclusions. While she may not need to me to physically ‘guardian’ her, she will need other things in her mother’s absence. She will need hugs and cuddles; she will need a kiss goodnight and a good morning smile. She will need a meal cooked especially for her, a trip to the cinema and chocolate binge while watching Friday night telly. She will need to be reminded how much she is loved…. because she is…a great deal.

                                        brt monkeys hugging 235

And so I have decided not to be frightened of ‘Temporary Legal Guardian.’ The term is merely words thrown together in an attempt to make ‘someone to love and care for you’ less cheesy. I think everyone should retain his or her legal guardians, someone to love you and care for you no matter what. Someone to make sure you’ve washed your underwear and consumed the correct dosage of iron…not to mention ensure you are drinking Jameson’s whisky and NOT Jack Daniel (yech!). As we get older, parents tend to slowly distribute ‘guardian’ responsibilities to yourself and possibly, over time, a significant other. I like to think my parents are looking after me in their own trans-Atlantic way but I think they are quite ready to hand over the reigns entirely, despite my attempt to constantly give them back. Who doesn’t like the security of knowing that when your world falls apart (and goodness knows it has…), there is someone there to stroke your hair, cuddle you and give you a whisky (Jameson’s) on ice? My parents have lifted me, hand in hand, over many hurdles, even carrying me at times. I am still running the race but they have retreated to the side lines, cheering me on, jogging behind me, ready to pick me up again should I trip and fall. It is this type of guardianship one should never be without. 

So yes, little cousin, I will be your legal guardian…for as long as you need me. 


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