Yesterday was a strange day. Since this whole working thing cropped up I have still been able to attend most things that the children have been involved in, and they have been mostly unaffected by me having another focus in my life. I’ve been there for illness, meetings, appointments, performances, etc.
This week I’ve found myself a bit torn though. We’ve been working in the office for just over a month and to all intents and purposes the kids are none the wiser. Until yesterday when I had my first “works do” (is it even called that any more?) for 12 years. And it turned out to be the same day as the KS2 lantern festival, which A was taking part in. The work do plan was to work in the office all day and then go straight over to the pub across the road for dinner. Lovely, but I can’t go to the festival. The mum in me yelled “forget the dinner, you’ve had loads of dinners, this is your child’s Christmas performance”. The child in me stamped her foot and said “but I haven’t been on an expenses-paid jolly for TWELVE YEARS!!!!!!!!”. My inner child won. Selfish, yes. Did I feel horrible at 5.30pm imagining A walking out with her lantern and me not being there to watch? Yes, I had a gut wrenching moment. Did she actually miss me? Maybe a tiny bit but she had thoroughly enjoyed tea at her friends house and she was going straight off to the pantomime with Brownies after the singsong so she was pretty happy actually, thank you very much.
And I had such a great evening with my four co-workers (we’re a small business!) – I laughed until I cried, drank a few sherbets (dad’s expression) and ate a delicious dinner. I was slightly apprehensive about the evening as I get the impression that 3 out 4 of them are pretty big drinkers (in a non-alcoholic kind of way). I’m a true lightweight and hate feeling drunk. I can drink maybe 3 glasses of rose wine over the course of an evening, and I’ll get a bit of a “glow” but that’s my lot. My concerns increased when a bottle of prosecco emerged at 4.30pm but I managed to make my glass last an hour, before heading to the pub. A glass of rose – another hour. A cocktail “do I really have to?” while eating starters – another hour. You’re getting the gist now. Two glasses of water to every alcoholic glass, and not a flush or glow in sight. Very grown up and sensible, but still such a fun evening with lots of great stories from back in the day when the 3 owners first met. Lots of banter and p***-taking but I reckon that’s a good sign that they see I can take a joke and think of me as properly one of the team. A great feeling which I’ve not had for nearly 15 years (when I had a top boss and fab colleagues).
So, although I let my inner child win the battle, I ended up feeling so much more like the proper grown up me that I remember. A bit guilty, but I can live with that. Roll on next year. (I’ll just need to check the calendar better next time…….)
This evening A has been to our neighbours for tea. So after dinner, rather than slinking off to his room I persuaded T to stay downstairs and play cards with K and me. We broke open the poker set that K had for his birthday back in August and decided to try and work out how to play. After ten minutes we decided that we’d be better off sticking to something we know and started a good hour long session of pontoon, or 21 as we know it. So much fun. We played with chips against K as the dealer and it was brilliant. I never know when to stop so most of my “hit me’s” were followed by sighs of “oh bum, fold”. But I didn’t sulk.
A came home full of beans after a lovely afternoon and evening with her friend. She’d made cakes and brought some home. Delicious. So good to see her smiling and happy.
Since the children were small we have accumulated a number of books which now live in the loft with the decorations. The Christmas books. These are brought down each year with the advent calendar and as each year goes by I wonder how many more times they will be wanted. So I’m making the most of this year and am savouring the evenings when A and I snuggle up to read one or two. A couple of them are very young, board books so they haven’t had a look in this year, but tonight we enjoyed The Jolly Christmas Postman and Mr Christmas. Happy times.
Today I have been the lucky recipient of not one but two gifts at work.
The first was chucked across the room to me (lucky I can catch) from the slightly more mental of the two guys and was (I hope) meant as a joke gift – a mug with the words “This is Vodka – I’m completely p****d” emblazoned on it. We are short of mugs in the office…..and I do like a drop of vodka on occasion but……!
The other was plonked on my desk in a big box, with a “Happy Christmas” from the less mental one. After checking I could open it – some people like you to wait until the big day or at least until they are out of the room – I was really thrilled to find a beautiful set of 3 boxes in decreasing size stacked up with ribbons tied round them. The label explained that they were a “hamper stack” and each box contained treats of various types. I didn’t open the boxes as I wanted everyone at home to see it in all its glory before I ruined it, so waited until I got home tonight. It’s so pretty that I had to take a photo.
There are lots of lovely little bags of sweets, chocolate covered raisins, cookies, shortbread, etc in each box. And best of all a bag of fab chocolate stars which will be perfect on my tree plate that I painted at the Craft Cabin all those weeks ago. Lovely.
In all the upset of last week I forgot to post about the letter that my lovely girl received in the post. At the beginning of the summer holidays A wrote a letter to an author, Anna Wilson, whose books she enjoys very much. She had just finished reading one called Kitten Caboodle and wanted to write and tell her how much she had enjoyed it, and to tell her of a name she had come up with for another story. We sent it off (with A positive that she would get a reply, and me not so sure!) and to be honest after the first few weeks I think we had both forgotten all about it, Until one day last week when we found a letter on the mat addresses to A. The writing was very like a friend of mine’s but this made no sense as the friend would not be writing to A! Intrigued, she opened the letter and lo and behold it was a handwritten reply from Anna Wilson. After at least 2 minutes of jumping up and down screaming with joy A finally managed to look at the contents. It was a lovely letter replying that she was pleased A had enjoyed the book and thought her idea for another story was interesting – perhaps A could have a go at starting it.She encouraged her to keep writing and reading, and enclosed some other bits and pieces for her – a wordsearch, a recipe and a postcard with her autograph on. A was most thrilled that her name had been spelled correctly – a rare occurrence! A very happy moment.
I’m back. And I’m restarting the “finding the happy”. Too often lately I have given more time to the niggles and the worries and not enough to the fun and the joys. And it ends here. No more worrying about people who aren’t important in the grand scheme of things; no more stressing about silly, trivial matters; more time thinking about what makes me smile and what good things are all around me.
This week my daughter has proved to me the power of positive thinking. She bounces back time and time again and always sees the best of a situation. My mum and I were discussing recently how she appears to have inherited my Nan’s tendency to be a little bit messy (understatement of the year but I’m being glass-half-full here remember) and how they drive us mad respectively. But, on the other hand, she also seems to have inherited my Nan’s eternal optimism and faith that everything will turn out ok. Nan’s is based on a more spiritual level than A’s but she has always seen the best in people and wanted to help those who have lost their way, and A has inherited this in spades. And I couldn’t be more proud or in awe. Yes, she’s stroppy and yes, she’s messy. But she’s also incredibly forgiving and sees the best in people (some of whom frankly don’t deserve it at all).
It’s been a tough week. I have been agonising over paying the deposit for A to go away with school for a week next year. Unpleasant events this week have made the agonising even more, well, agonising. But after a good chat with friends and then with the school’s parent liaison teacher I feel much better about it. I’ve been told I need to be upbeat and encouraging about the trip (which I will be) but I’ve also been told that my worries are not ridiculous, that she (said teacher) is in my corner and that she will ensure that nothing happens to spoil the trip.
Today, we are off to see that other beacon of positivity for a pre-Christmas visit. Happy moment already ticked. But first I’m looking forward to seeing my boy who was out last night at a friends house for a sleepover. And spending the day with my family. And an evening in with the lovely chocs and wine that a special person gave me. The happy is back.
Lovely day out yesterday with Mrs F and Miss T, sampling the delights of Winchester – yummy lunch and a stroll around the Christmas market in the Cathedral ground. All very festive and a great catch-up day.
Today was the day of A’s dance performance with her group that she does Street Dance lessons with. She’s never performed on stage before -apart from singing in the chorus in school plays and one small turn as a fairy – so today was a very exciting day for her (and us). She was due at the Ark Theatre in Borehamwood at 9.30am for a morning of rehearsals and then two afternoon performances in front of a packed audience. There were 6 other classes taking part but A was in two sections as she’s recently started cheerleading as well. So we were up and out this morning, at what felt like the crack of dawn, to get her there in good time. Apart from a few butterflies she was more excited than nervous and didn’t look back when I said goodbye at the stage door.
The next time I saw her was when she appeared on the big screen at the back of the stage at 1pm when the first show started. Her teacher had filmed each of the children taking part and they had been asked to say what they wanted to do when they grew up. (The theme of the show was “when I grow up…”). After a couple of answers such as Popstar, vet and dancer, A answered with “teacher” – an answer that has been consistent since the age of about 2.
Then they came on stage in their onesies and baseball caps ready to start their routine to the song “Big when I was little”. And they were brilliant. Some of the group (I can’t bring myself to use the proper term of “crew”) are only 6/7 years old and A is one of the eldest at 9 so expectations were not high (and I don’t mean that unkindly at all). But they really surprised me and I thoroughly enjoyed it as did Grandma, K and T. They were followed by the other groups with some great dancing and some of the responses to the “when I grow up” question were hilarious – the winning two in my book were “dolphin trainer” and “tattoo artist”. Priceless. Far too many wanted to be famous or popstars or just a celebrity. However there were enough vets and doctors to balance it out. The absolute best answer of the day was by a little 4 year old in A’s school’s nursery group who simply said “I want to be happy”.
A had a fab time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. When I picked her up later she was a little despondent that she had messed up in the second show during her street dance routine and one of the other teachers had got cross with her. But it didn’t ruin the experience for her and I know she will definitely want to do it again if she gets the chance. The cheerleading routine was great despite only 5 weeks practice and she beamed the whole way through it – a real performer.