Tag Archives: #friends

A lump in my throat

I’ve just waved K off as he heads off to Germany for a week. Well, 5 days and 6 nights to be precise, he will be back next Friday, but it feels like a week. Since we moved in together 17 years ago, we have never spent more than 2 nights apart. Neither of us has ever been inclined towards holidays away with friends without each other, even if we had the means. We’ve always wanted to go away together, and since having the children this has been a given. I’ve had weekends away, he’s had work trips away, so this trip has made us both a tad unsettled.

I need to explain. We’re not a lovey-dovey couple who can’t bear to be apart. We don’t shower each other with overt displays of affection. We just like being together. We like being at home in the evenings watching a bit of TV and chatting about stuff. We like spending time with the kids (why else have them?). We just like it that way. Of course we have time apart, we both have friends that we see (me more than  K as his friends are dispersed far and wide) and we do go out separately, but more often than not we are together. I often joke with friends that I would only miss him if he wasn’t here because I would have to put the bins out (in fairness it was one of the things I thought of when I knew he was leaving on a Sunday – “but it’s bin night!”) but in reality he does far more than that. He makes me feel grounded and he stops me worrying so much about stupid stuff and he makes me laugh. When he’s not here it just doesn’t feel right. And I can pretty much forget about sleeping.

K is nervous about the trip for different reasons to me. He hasn’t been abroad with work before. He hasn’t flown alone before. I usually organise trips (apart from last summer holiday) and take the blame when it all goes wrong. This makes him sound useless and a bit pathetic – he’s not, he is more than able to sort this and he has made all the arrangements necessary. He’s just not confident that it will all work out. He’s a bit apprehensive about the itinerary while he is away – mainly because he doesn’t have one. He is unsure what format the trip will take and he doesn’t know if there will be any communication issues, as he doesn’t speak any German. I’ve assured him that their spoken English will probably be better than his (let’s face it, he’s a brummie) and for him not to worry. A has given him the phrase “My name is K…” in German as a little bit of help. I suggested a name badge.

Making stupid jokes is the way we (in our family) seem to deal with nervous moments. I think it’s so that the subject matter seems less ominous. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, it’s just our way of saying “hey don’t worry it will all be OK” without actually saying it (because we are not American).  Here’s a case in point: K developed a rather unfortunate lump on his neck a few days ago and has had to get it seen to by the doctor. She diagnosed a boil (sounds very 1950’s) and prescribed a steroid cream. T’s immediate response was to refer to it as Susan. This has now stuck firmly in all our minds and we now say “Susan’s looking better” rather than “your boil is not too bad”. It’s mainly due to relief that the lump was nothing more sinister and therefore we can be silly about it. I was rather disappointed that my comment of it being where his bolts had been removed was overtaken by the Susan comment, but you can’t win them all.

An email K received from his German colleague last week confirmed the hotel booking and the plans for collecting him from the airport. It was signed off with “we look forward to welcoming you to our house”. Of course, we said this was surely due to a Google Translate issue and that they meant “to our company offices/our place/our town”. Then, we saw the hotel booking was for bed and breakfast. Still no big deal, as no doubt they will be taking him out for food each night rather than expect him to sit alone in a hotel restaurant (for K this would be almost preferable to having to be sociable). And then, it hit me. “Welcoming you to our house” might mean exactly that and he could be dining “chez nous” as the French would say (I have no idea what the German equivalent is). Unfortunately, the kids overheard our conversation and we now have an ongoing joke that he is going to be having selfies with Helga and Wilhelm, the directors lovely kinder, while eating home-cooked bratwurst and sauerkraut. Even his Auntie S joined in when we saw them last weekend. I was slightly perturbed by his Uncle D’s comment of “watch out for the lady-boys”. K reiterated that it was Germany he was going to not Thailand, and we have since put it down to a slip of the tongue; we think he meant to say “lederhosen”.

Joking aside, we will all miss him massively while he is away. A has sneaked a letter and cuddly Panda toy (his nickname) into his suitcase, T has been giving him way more hugs (i.e. more than one) than usual and I have found myself looking at him a bit longer than I normally would (i.e. more than a few milliseconds). He has promised to FaceTime and asked if I would like him to bring back a bottle of Gin from duty-free (did he even need to ask?) so it’s not all bad. The week will soon be over and he will be back with us: annoying us with his singing, farting and general nonsense. And it will be fab.

 

 

Re: the title of the blog piece. Whenever I am a bit stressed, I get the sensation of having a lump in my throat. I first had it when we were planning our wedding and after weeks and weeks of being convinced I had throat cancer and would not make it to the wedding day, I finally plucked up the courage to see the doctor (funnily enough, the very same one that diagnosed Susan) and she gently asked me if there was anything big going on in my life, with a quick diagnosis of a stress-related phantom ‘lump’. It comes and goes at certain times but is never more apt than when waving K off this lunchtime. A true lump in the throat moment.

Home Alone

Don’t worry, this isn’t a film review about small blonde boys running amok, scaring off incompetent burglars. I’m talking about me. Again.

It is the Easter holidays and I have worked for the first two days and now I have a glorious (regardless of the weather) 12 days off (including weekends). K is off for just slightly less time. We don’t have much planned; we’re not going away. I am mostly looking forward to not rushing up – I don’t like to lie-in but anything past 6.30am will do me fine, thank you very much. I am looking forward to not having to sit at a computer all day. I am looking forward to some walks and maybe some bike rides and perhaps a day-trip to the coast.

The kids, on the other hand, have made it very clear that they are cramming as much time with their friends into these first 2 days as is humanly possible, as they will be stuck with me and K for the remainder of the holidays. They haven’t said it out loud, but I can tell. I asked them both to ensure that all homework is done before the close of business today (no I didn’t use that exact phrase) so that we don’t end up with frantic, last-minute panicking ruining our break. A spent most of yesterday doing all of hers and has free time today to go out with friends. T’s response was “but I only have these 2 days to see my friends…..” (and then I am going to have to spend the rest of the time with you, you boring old woman, and you are going to make me do ‘family stuff’ and I will be bored, so no, I am not going to do my R.E. revision, are you mad?)  It’s the unsaid words that are the loudest.

I love that my kids have friends that live close by and that they have a safe environment to go out in and that they are free to do as they like (within reason) most of the time. T has spent most of his free time lately going for long treks through the local woods with his friends, undoubtedly annoying dog walkers and wild animals. A pops out with a friend, they come back here and giggle in her room. It’s lovely.

But, I see friends with younger kids going to the Zoo, the Farm, the Park and I feel a bit wistful. I used to love going to the Zoo. I still would love going to the Zoo but might look a a bit odd on my own. I suppose I am forgetting the horrendous trips where it started raining and we had to dash back to the car, or when someone spilt their ice-cream all over themselves, or the time at the Farm when my friend’s child slipped over in pig excrement (this wasn’t just poo it was Excrement with a capital E) and we all stood horrified not knowing what to do with him. Or the time when we went to the seaside and A fell over at the waters edge and I HADN’T TAKEN A CHANGE OF CLOTHES (*) so she spent the day in her brothers thankfully very long hoody in lieu of  a dress. The list of nightmare events while attempting to enjoy ourselves is never-ending. But, I forget all those when I see my friends pictures of little faces beaming at lambs, or baby elephants. I remember the time when T held a rabbit for the first time and the look on his face and him whispering to me how soft it was still makes me want to weep. And the time when A wanted to feed the lamb but was too scared so we did it together and she held my hand while I held the bottle and we laughed at how hard it was to keep hold of it, even with 2 of us doing it. I wish I had enjoyed those moments a bit more. I wish I recalled those moments more than the ones with sick involved.

As much as I would love more of these moments, I am not going to force my kids to spend the next 12 days solely in my company. We will have some days out where we will be on our own together, just us four. But, it wouldn’t be fair on them to stop them going out and seeing their friends. I am sure K and I will have plenty of Home Alone time and that is quite nice too, especially as it is guilt free alone time, i.e. we haven’t ditched the kids at my mum’s or taken time off during term time to have a day off on our own – the kids are off out doing their own thing, having a great time, and so we can too. There are definite bonuses to having children old enough to fend for themselves, who like to be left to their own devices sometimes (most of the time) and who, when they do spend time with us, are good to chat to and nice to be around (most of the time) and who are less likely to puke down themselves, fall in mud (or excrement) or into the sea.

So, although I may be feeling wistful at the ever-changing, teenager-centric, world I live in and remembering the rabbits, I do actually quite like it how it is now. For now.

 

(* a lesson I never really learned from and still see as one of my biggest mum-failures. T had to once borrow a pair of pants from the well-stocked boot of my friends car when he had a slight accident on a day out at the farm – the same farm as the pig poo episode but on a different occasion.)

Status update

Since Making myself unpopular (again)  was a while ago now I thought I would check in on how it is all going.

So, initially the teenager was VERY resistant. For the first few days we had a bit of moaning but he reluctantly gave in; then on the 4th day we had an all out slanging match. He didn’t understand why. WHY? I refused to be drawn on it and stood my ground. I think he believed that I would soon forget all about it like I do so many other things: diets, exercise regimes, chore lists. We repeated this pattern over the course of the next few weeks and eventually I finally ended it with an all out “I AM NOT BACKING DOWN. GET OVER IT”.

The pre-teen was less bothered. She is not quite so invested in the social media scene yet and so is less concerned about having access 24/7. I am sure her time will come soon enough. This plan of attack is for both of their benefits and it makes me feel better. I’ve spoken with a few other parents about it and annoyingly most responses I had were along the vein of that I was an idiot to let them have them in their rooms in the first place (thanks) and that it was a given in their houses that all devices live downstairs. Smug much? Only one friend had had to take the same route as me and it was nice to know I’m not the only idiot out there.

Joking aside, I found this quite annoying. I’m not actually an idiot. I’m pretty sensible and on the ball. I know I don’t really get recent technology – well not the technology as such, but the platforms that kids use and the way they use it. I mentioned in Birthday, poo, shopping and the hostess with the leastest that I found it a bit off that one of A’s friends was ‘live-streaming’ during the back at the house bit. I do find the idea that our kids are living their lives so publicly quite hard to fathom. I don’t get Snapchat and ‘streaks’ – what’s the point in messaging someone just an X or an emoji just so you can say that your ‘streak’ with that person lasts 120 days? Am I really that old that I am missing something amazing here. Is it a test of friendship? Surely not, as T will ask another friend to do his ‘streaks’ for him if (heaven forbid) he is going to be off the grid for more than 24 hours. This is not a friendship thing, it’s just a Thing. I don’t object to sharing photos, or updating statuses or, here’s an idea, chatting with a friend (albeit online), but do we have to have it in our faces ALL THE TIME?

I worry that  anything that happens in this online world (because there’s no escaping that this is their world) is seen as less real somehow, less accountable for – that you can slag someone off online and it’s not as bad as saying it to their face; that you can post an awful picture of a ‘friend’ and because you have added a crying with laughter emoji or some hearts after it then that’s OK? You didn’t do it to be unkind, it was just a joke so that’s OK? No parent could fail to be moved and horrified by the poor, poor mum who went on This Morning a matter of days after her daughter’s funeral to make other parents aware of how insidious and secretive this bullying is. Her daughter was to the world around her a popular, bright, sporty, confident young woman with no worries other than the next test or the next match. In truth she was being relentlessly hounded on social media culminating in a message asking her why she didn’t just hang herself. She did. It was only after her death that this all came to light. Her parents were completely in the dark about it because she kept it from them. She could see no way out of it. She could see no end to the constant stream of abuse and so she killed herself.The person who sent her that last message – did they mean it as a joke? Did they think that because it was sent online that it wasn’t real and wouldn’t hurt her or affect her? They have to live with this for the rest of their life – they tipped her over the edge. They were the catalyst that made her end her short, beautiful life.

These cases are few and far between, thankfully, and are so shocking. More close to home recently a large number of girls at a local secondary school have been groomed by a man online purporting to be a teenager and many of them have taken the next step and met him. Luckily none have been harmed but this is by luck more than anything else.

But the overriding message of this is that these kids’ parents DIDN’T KNOW this stuff was happening. When I was a teenager, I had to call my friends on the phone from the hallway. The only other way we had of being in touch was to write each other letters, which we did – we would pour our hearts out on paper and give it to our friend the next day at school. If someone didn’t like me I usually found out by them not hanging around with me any more, or a friend of the friend would tell me. If someone was calling me names I usually heard them, out loud in the playground. Of course, I didn’t tell my parents everything that I was worried about or everything that went on in my life, because that’s not what teenagers do and that’s just they way it is. Teenagers are making their own way in the world and learning to deal with stuff by themselves so that they are ready to leave home and go off and be adults. They have secrets and they have a right to privacy. But the difference between bullying when I was a teenager and now is the other worldliness of it. It happens in a world which we parents can’t see and have little control over.

I know the pass-codes to my kids phones. I treat them with respect and only look at their messages/social media accounts/photos etc if I am concerned about something. Luckily, I think we are still at the stage where A tells me if anything is going on with her. She had a small bust-up with a friend in the half term holidays and she wanted to know how to sort it out. She took my advice and she didn’t try and contact the friend by phone or WhatsApp. She wrote her a letter and put it through her door. The result was positive and the issue was quickly resolved. But, soon she will ask my advice less and less. She will tell me less and less. But for now all I can do is keep the channels open. I tell them my fears, I tell them about things I read and the horrific things that other parents have been through and I tell them to please keep talking to me. Please tell me when someone is hurting you. And, almost as importantly, if they know someone is being hurt please tell someone. But it all comes down to hope and the small amount of control that I still have.

So, yes the new rule is going OK. It’s still being adhered to and I’m not backing down. Not on this one.

 

Just go with it

I’m a planner. I like lists. I like to know what I’m doing and when. I cross the T’s and dot the I’s.

One thing that The Big Break taught me back in the summer is that some things can’t be planned and sometimes things happen that just stop all immediate plans and you just have to go with it. Just Go With It = My Worst Nightmare. Well, maybe not my worst nightmare – not as bad as my child being in agonising pain with a completely broken leg, but you get my drift. I had to take every day as it came, in fact on some days it was more a case of taking each few hours as they came. It sounds like I’m dramatising. I’m really not. For a control freak who has life nailed down and running like a well-oiled machine, to not be calling the shots was horrendous. Not being able to make things better for my child, not being able to take away his pain, not being able to tell him everything was going to be fine, was beyond unbearable.

I have to admit that the whole experience knocked me for six. More than six. It knocked me right out of the park. I still find it very hard to think back to That Day without getting a bit emotional. I was talking to a friend about it over dinner the other night – I haven’t seen her since T has been out of plaster and back to normal life – and found myself welling up. I apologised and said how ridiculous I was being. She told me to shut up, nicely. She has been through a good few traumas with her kids over the years and she said each and every one still made her feel emotional to talk about. Phew. I thought I was being a complete cuckoo.

Looking back through my blog, some of the posts seem like they happened to someone else. Me and A going up to London to see Wicked (I remember the day but a bit like watching it from a bit of a distance); going to clinic appointments;  A starting secondary school; A going on her school trip, etc. – I feel like I was on autopilot for it all. I think being on autopilot for a while makes it hard to come back to holding the controls and taking over again, being in charge. I’ve definitely struggled being in charge again, making plans and getting things organised.

But maybe this has had some positives:

K and I have become closer and now make more decisions together, talk about things more, plan things together more. I think he knew that I would not cope with all of the fallout from the break on my own and that I am not superhuman, despite the image I try to portray. I didn’t crumble, but I needed him. I’ve always joked that I don’t need him for much apart from putting the bins out and cleaning the school shoes, but it’s not true really. And this completely drove that home. We do need each other, we do make a good team and we can cope with stuff – together. I don’t need to be superhuman, I can ask for help.

I can cope with living day to day more. Although I will always live for weekends, just because they are the best days, I am happy to plod through the week and just wait for Friday to come along with all it’s happiness. I can cope with Monday (most weeks) and I actually quite like Thursdays now, rather than wanting to rush through them. Of course, there are some things that have to be planned and given a bit of thought, and those are fine. I still have my lists – I can’t give them up, in fact I find I need them a lot more now just to remind me of things I need to do (perhaps being on Autopilot has closed off the section of my brain that I used to keep my to-do-list in?) – and I still like to have a semblance of an idea of what we might do at the weekend, but not weeks in advance and not set in stone. Nothing in my head is set in stone any more.

Having to change or cancel ideas at the last minute no longer seems so awful. It can’t be helped sometimes and sometimes we just have to do what we have to do. I still hate being late for meetings or even just being late for coffee with a friend, but that’s because I hate rushing and don’t like being stressed! But actually people are very understanding and are far less bothered than I am by a bit of tardiness.

Yep, there are some definite positives from the whole experience. Obviously, T having no lasting effects and making a complete and full recovery are the main positives! But maybe me being a bit less of a control freak and a bit less of a planner is up there with it. I’m sure my family are happier now that I am a bit more chilled!

 

On another note, my lovely dad is having a small op this week. He hasn’t been in hospital as a patient since his early twenties (50 something years ago) so is understandably a bit nervous. We’re all a bit nervous. He has got to be there at 7am on Friday morning, he will have the op at some point during the morning and is expected to be in overnight. He should get a bed on a ward at some point, but we won’t know until we ring during the day. I’m nervous because he is having a general and I obviously want it all to go completely to plan and all be easy and straightforward because I love him to bits and want him to be all fine, but I am not going to stress about the why’s and wherefores of what time and when – because it won’t change anything. I am going to be as supportive as possible to my mum (for whom it will be far worse to be waiting to hear) and pick her up, take her where she needs to go and get it sorted. I will be thinking about him every minute of the entire day. But all we can really do it just “go with it”.

 

 

 

 

 

Good changes

Thinking back to half term holidays in recent years gone by, T would be out with friends most days – on his bike or at someone’s house – or one of his friends would be at our house. A would have been busying herself baking, reading, popping out to the shops or for a walk with me – generally occupying herself.

This half term has been almost a reversal of this situation.

T has had revision to do, admittedly, so has been occupied that way but has also been at a bit of a loose end during his scheduled breaks due to most of his friends being away. In contrast, A has been to a birthday party at a local “bouncing arena” type place, had a friend over to just chat and do whatever it is girls do when they get together, just and this afternoon has gone to another friend’s house for a sleepover. All three of these friends are new ones that she has made since starting at secondary. I am almost giving myself a little hug and am overjoyed that my mantra for the last 2 years of primary school “it will all be different at secondary school, it will all be different at secondary school…” has actually (so far) been spot on. It HAS been different. She has grown in self confidence without losing her innate kindness and thoughtfulness. She has maintained the few friendships that were good ones from her old school, but she is equally unafraid to do what SHE wants to do and chooses who SHE wants to spend time with. I am so very happy for her. I am also very proud. SHE has made this happen. The fact that she changed schools has enabled this change but SHE has made it work. My favourite motto that she has on a picture in her room is “She believed she could, so she did”. It sums her up totally.

Another difference for me this half term was going into work today. We normally all work from home during school hols as we all have kids and we all prefer to be around when they are off. But today I needed to train a new member of staff and so we all met up at the office. Until now I would have asked K to be at home, or would have asked G&G if they would do grandparent duty for the day and have them at their house. But, now they are both old enough to be left alone. And we regularly do, when they don’t want to come to Sainsburys or Homebase  (who can blame them – even I don’t really want to go) and they are perfectly fine. But I have never left them ALL DAY. It was therefore with some reluctance and trepidation that I left the house this morning at 8.45am. By 10am I had created a Whatsapp group ‘Kids’ and messaged them “both ok?”. “Yep” was the response. And maybe a smiley emoji from A. I then heard nothing, and honestly was too busy to message them, until midday when T rang to ask could he have crackers for lunch instead of a sandwich, and could his friend come round about 1pm until I got back and then they would go out. Yes and yes – but don’t annoy your sister.

I’ve come home to a bit of washing up and a daughter desperate to get out to her friends for the aforementioned sleepover. The boys had gone out just before I got back as he had rung to see if it would be OK to leave A for a half hour until I got home, which it was.

I am now finishing off work (and writing my blog!) waiting for K to come home and an evening with just him and my boy. One day very soon it will be just me and him. All the time. Oh.

 

 

 

Be nice

It’s not hard at all to be nice to people I like. It’s not hard at all to be nice to someone who is nice to me.

It’s quite hard to be nice to myself.

In the run up to the New Year, and since it has started, I have read the odd article and a couple of blogs about Me Time, Mindfulness and generally Being Nice to Yourself. I’ve “signed up” in a virtual way to a sort of campaign on Instagram called #SavouringJanuary2017 which asks us to post a picture each day that represents, for us, a word from a list. e.g. Day 1 was Quiet: I posted a pic of my newly gifted colouring book and pens; yesterday was Soothe and I had run myself a bath after a long day involving a five mile walk and the rest of the time sat in front of the computer working. All of the words are pretty innocuous but all are aimed at making us stop and think. The same nice lady that created this list and #SavouringJanuary2017 campaign is also sending me (not just me!) a daily email for a week with mindfulness ideas and ways to be nicer to myself.

I’ve always struggled with taking time for myself. I always think of something else I should be doing instead and from time to time find myself feeling resentful. It’s not anyone else’s fault. I don’t ask K if he wants some time to himself so why should I be any different? He just goes off out to tidy the garage (apparently it is a thing men do) or off to the gym or sits and watches telly – he doesn’t ask permission and nor should he! But I just don’t seem to give myself permission to stop doing stuff for everyone else. I do watch TV  or read a book or knit occasionally but quite often I am interrupted with thoughts of “oh crap I haven’t done such and such for so and so”. Or I wonder about things I could have done better or how I could have handled a situation differently. OK I know I think things over way too much. It’s a flaw.

One of the emails from the nice lady suggests monitoring your inner voice. The one that shouts in your head that you did something really badly or that your arse is massive. My inner voice is REALLY loud and quite hard to ignore, and the nice lady says I need to train it to be nicer. I’ve got to make it into a friend and make it speak to me the way a friend would. I have two particularly lovely friends (I have a number of lovely friends but these two are particularly lovely) who are very complimentary (not in an ingratiatingly irritating unnecessary way) and make me feel good about myself. I’m going to try and make my inner voice be more like them.

Does this all sound a bit mental? I’m just trying to start the New Year off in a different way to how I have approached them in years gone by. I normally start off with a mad strict diet or some crazy exercise idea that never happens. I inevitably fail and then my inner voice shouts at me (her again) and it all goes Pete Tong from there. But I think I can definitely try to be nicer to myself. How hard can it be? Another idea which I haven’t quite got on board with is to make an actual appointment in the diary for some Me Time. That sounds like a bridge too far. Is it meant to go in my diary or does the inner voice need a diary of her own? Do I really need to write in the diary an appointment on Wednesday evenings – Have A Soak In The Bath, or, Go For A Walk? Surely I should just be able to fit these things in. Or am I missing the point again?

I know this is a problem for many women (and probably some men; they don’t like to be left out) or it wouldn’t be something that people blog or email about and Mindfulness wouldn’t be a thing. I know lots of women who are constantly chasing their tails and I’m no different from them. Let’s all just be a bit nicer. To us.

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The art of letting them down gently

A is not interested in boys, yet. Of course, I say “yet” because it goes against the laws of nature to suggest that she will remain disinterested until she is 22, although I think K would like it very much if this were the case. (I am also making a great assumption here that boys will be her choice of romantic interest in the future – who knows? – but let’s go with it for now). Apart from a moment when she was about 4 when she picked up a copy of a magazine that I had lying around and told me to “look at the picture of this man, Mummy, he’s soooo handsome” (it was Ryan Reynolds. The girl has taste) she has not been remotely interested in boys in her class – smelly, stupid, or basically they are like siblings as she has grown up with them. She has boys as friends; she had one very special one who she used to talk about like he was her soul mate but he sadly moved away at the end of year 5. She gets on OK with boys – she has a brother and this helps her not to feel awkward around them, I think. Although, I have a brother and I still feel awkward around most men so not sure that actually has any bearing n this whatsoever….Anyway, you get my point – boys can be OK but mostly they are annoying and idiotic and irritating (is she wrong?)

I wondered when she started at secondary school whether this would change and she would start to make romantic attachments.

I can remember vividly the moment I noticed boys as Boys and not just boys. It was a friend of my brothers at secondary school and he had his ear pierced and was basically, in my eyes, drop dead gorgeous. Of course, I was just P’s little sister with the short hair cut and the awful A-line skirt and there was no way on earth he would ever see me as anything else. But this was actually the point. I really only ever had crushes on completely unobtainable boys – I think it was a way of keeping myself safe from rejection. If you are never, ever likely to get noticed then there is nothing to lose. You can suffer in your unrequited love from afar with no fear of discovery and the inevitable humiliation. It was only when I left school, got a job, started going to the pub and found the bolstering power of a couple of vodka’s that I started to be more realistic and put myself out there (that sounds wrong, I don’t mean it like that!) a bit more. I was always the one to end the few, very short relationships that I had. I think I enjoyed the flirting more than the actual “going out” bit!

Anyway, enough of me. Back to A. So, I have been waiting for her to mention names in more than just a “god he’s so annoying” way, but nothing. Which is great. Please don’t think I WANT her to be into boys yet; I don’t actually want her obsessing or being distracted by it all, but it is going to happen and I’m just bracing myself here. But today, she came in from school and after the usual “how was your day” (me) and requests for food (them), enquiries into homework (me) and assurances that it is all in control (them) A confided that she had felt a bit awkward in French. Apparently, a boy that sits behind her in class has been shamelessly flirting with her since they were put in a set together but has always kept it at that. Until today…..when he upped his game and asked her to go out with him. And her response made me feel chuffed. She told him that she was sorry but she liked being friends with him and didn’t want to ruin things by agreeing to be his girlfriend. He made a typical boy response of “oh, well, I was only joking anyway, so that’s fine” and they both laughed it off. Top marks to her for being so quick thinking and kind and not laughing in his face or pretending to be sick while shouting “NO!! What the hell are you thinking of?!!!” I am sure she will have other offers over the coming years (I am biased but she is lovely – inside and out) and I hope she will let them all down just as gently.

Until she is at least 22.