5.4 Character with conflict/dilemma

Name: Judith Anne Barker, age 58, married to Steve Barker

Judy is blonde, with some grey. She has to do the roots every six weeks or so. She knows she ought to go to the hairdresser more often than she does, but it seems an extravagance so she tries to make a haircut last as long as possible, which means that it is always a bit too far gone by the time she gets back to the salon. She also finds it difficult to relax, is always doing something, so the idea of sitting in a seat for the best part of an hour doesn’t much appeal to her. She doesn’t like to admit this to herself, though, because if she were to really face up to how little she takes care of herself, she might get upset. She has always been hard on herself and hard on other people (according to her husband).

Judy and Steve have two grown-up children, Ben and Emily. She is very proud of her children. She wanted another baby in her thirties, but by this time Steve had had a vasectomy and didn’t want to have a reversal operation. He says she made him do it, and in a way he is right. She was very fertile. She thinks of this never-born child as her ‘ewe lamb’ an expression her mother had used, and she often counts up how old the child would be had it been born. By now it would be almost 20, maybe on a gap year. Now, her daughter is having trouble conceiving, but her son got a girlfriend pregnant and has to get married in a hurry.   She is looking forward to having a grandchild but feels bad that it should be her daughter and not Bethany who is having the baby.

Judy was the eldest of three children – she thinks this is why she feels this strong urge to help out in an organizing way. Anything needs doing; she is prepared to do it. For example, at her son’s wedding she found herself herding people to help the official photographer. She feels that people both appreciate this and think that she is making a bit of a fool of herself.

Judy’s dilemma is that she wants to be as involved as possible in Ben and Bethany having a baby. But Emily is envious and resentful, and Judy is afraid she will withdraw from her and she will lose her relationship with her daughter.

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