This weekend the football World Cup comes to a close with the final tomorrow. Unusual subject for me but bear with. I’m not a soccer fan. I wasn’t very good at sport at school and usually played a wing position in hockey so I could just run up and down. As the last person on the pitch before the ball went out I thought I wouldn’t be blamed if it did (and, of course, it did because I was no good at the game) but I think that was just something I was telling myself. The men in my house love sport. I’m lucky enough that the three of them are together for the next two weeks (for the first time in nine months) so I’ll be the one feeding and watering them while they sit glued to the telly tomorrow night. But here’s the thing. These footie events must be a bit like our menopause is for men. Now that’s something you didn’t think I’d be writing today, is it? With sport, my lot are totally engaged in what’s going on, talking at the TV, living the drama with the teams and all the time I’m watching their excitement and enjoyment without understanding any of it. Now, I’ve been around football a lot. I’ll save my thoughts on how the UK game is run and what it does to young boys (not missing out girls, but I’ve no experience of that) for another day, but I did enjoy the football manager who once phoned the house and asked “Is your husband there?” He didn’t do that again. My youngest was signed to a Premier League Club and much of his education has been paid for through scholarships that his talent brought him. I’ve watched my sons matches from the side lines and, very occasionally, I got interested in what was going on too. Mostly, I chatted to other parents and made some lifelong friends that way. I’ve watched the euphoria when all goes well and the heart break when it hasn’t. I’ve watched the disappointment as my sons are passed over for captaincy and the pleasure for them when they play well. What I’m saying in a very long-winded way is that men must feel like this about menopause. In the same way that footie touches my world and I’ve played my part while still not “getting” it men must feel this about the changes they see in their partner. They don’t necessarily understand it, they don’t know any of the rules but it absolutely affects their lives. Many men try to help us with hot water bottles, soothing cups of tea, sympathy, but they can’t really understand what’s going on, the same as I’m never going to understand the offside rule (salt was in front of the ketchup when the pepper passed the ball) but key to this all is that we all try, that we don’t dismiss what the other is feeling because while we may not be able to see it, to them it’s very real. This acknowledgement of what’s important to someone else while not understanding it at all ourselves is crucial in adult life. Tolerance, understanding, kind words – all of this goes a very long way. Clearly, we’re not tolerant of bad behaviour and unkind words but I’m sure you know what I mean. At present, I seem to be seeing a lot of unkindness in the world – strikes, protests, even Harry and Megan must feel very hurt to be saying the things they are, whatever your view is on this subject (and we’re not going there). So, as we enter the final day of the World Cup, as we enter the season of goodwill let’s try to understand – and not dismiss or make fun of – those things that are important to those we love while not “getting it” at all ourselves. Wouldn’t that be a lovely gift to give someone, the gift of tolerance and love? It works both ways, you know. Karma at its best. I thought that was quite deep for this week – back to popping the beers tomorrow and getting the nachos on the go every thirty minutes for my men while I watch Places In The Sun in between – huge love to and for Jonnie Irwin.