Tag Archives: #respect

Normal service is resumed

K is home and life is back to normal (whatever “normal” is). He can look back on the trip now and say it wasn’t too bad. A bit like a woman 12 years after giving birth, but not really because that’s painful as hell.

He arrived home late Friday night and as much as A had tried hard to stay awake she had given in and fallen asleep about 20 minutes before he came in. I had promised to get him to go and see her anyway which he did and it gave me leaky eyes to see how happy she was to see him. She’s a bit prickly at times and not always one for hugs and cuddles (a lot like her mother) but she missed him a lot and was so pleased to see him. Lovely. T was pleased to see him too but in a more “ooh you bought us chocolates” kind of way. It’s all about the food.

It doesn’t take long to get back into the old routine and K was soon annoying everyone with his awful singing and silly jokes. But, we have spent a lot of the weekend saying “it’s so nice to have you home” (or “it’s so nice to be home” in his case) and we rolled our eyes more affectionately than usual.

Luckily, in case we started to get too sentimental and gushy, things like washing, food shopping, shoe cleaning and kids bickering came along and smacked us around the face and before we knew it, it’s Tuesday and we are both back at our respective jobs and dealing with the same old crap.

Hurrah for normal life.

 

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.)

Maturity, Determination and Expansion

Three completely unconnected words, but ones which have meant a lot in our house since the last blog post.

Maturity

Last week, T was on a break from school doing work experience at a local tech company. He hadn’t originally been selected to do work experience, as this is now only offered to year 10 students who are not deemed to be working at the level that they would need to be in order to do A’levels. (Quite how the school determines this after only 6 months of the 2 year GCSE course I can’t tell you but I guess they know what they are doing..) Anyway, T was not selected  – which I suppose we should be pleased about on the basis that he must be doing OK in his chosen subjects – but in actual fact we as parents and he as a student were all a bit disappointed. He is pretty sure that he won’t want to stay on at school to do A’levels. He has a keen interest in tech, as I have mentioned on my blog before, and he thinks (this is all subject to the teenager’s right to change his mind numerous times in the next 18 months and so is not set in stone) that he is more likely to go onto college and do a more specialised computing course. Regardless of his future intentions, we all thought that work experience would be of benefit to him. After some discussion we agreed that there was no harm in him approaching the Careers Officer at school to see if there was any possibility of him getting on the list. The answer was”yes” and he was given the details of how to apply. He found an IT Support company on the database and applied via the school to go there. He had the placement confirmed by school and was told to contact the Director of the company to make the necessary arrangements. I thought he might baulk at this and would, at most, fire off an email (perfectly acceptable, but the easier alternative to calling). Wrong again, mum. He called straight away and although he got the guy’s voicemail he left a message and followed it up with an email. We worked out the logistics of getting him to and fro and he started last Monday. He was a little nervous going in, but had a great first day and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the week. Among other things, he went out on site one day with one of the technicians to install laptops for a client, spending the whole day in the company of a complete stranger twice his age but he didn’t bat an eyelid, just took it all in his stride. The report back from the Director at the end of the week was brilliant. To quote a few lines “nothing was too much trouble”, “didn’t have to be shown anything more than once”, “showed maturity beyond his years”. Fab. These flashes of real maturity totally outweigh (for the time being) the bouts of nonsensical behaviour (texting me 27 times to ask for a later curfew, despite each reply being “no” being the most recent example and most frustrating, resulting in the biggest row we have ever had).

Determination

At our Secondary school the PE department requires the students to run a set course once every half tern. The students lovingly refer to this as “The Death Run”. The idea is that they endeavour to improve their time each half term and outrun their last Personal Best. A, like her mother, is no athlete and was dreading The Death Run way before even starting at the school. The first time she had to run it she “felt ill” and had to walk most of it, coming in very close to the back of the pack. She wasn’t overly bothered but the run had lived up to it’s moniker in her eyes and was firmly established as A Big Deal. She dreaded the next one and performed equally badly. Just before the end of the Christmas term she announced over dinner one Tuesday evening that she had been to Fitness Club at lunchtime. We were all pleasantly surprised and wondered if she would go more than once (she is very much her mothers daughter). She surprised us all and probably herself by sticking to it and last half term she ran The Death Run and made such an improvement in her performance that she received a postcard at home from the PE department congratulating her on her improvement and attaining a new PB. Today, she has run it again and taken another 6 seconds off her last time, earning her a place on the latest photo of PB smashers on Twitter. Her time may well be 3 minutes behind the faster runners, but as I pointed out to her this afternoon, the idea of a PB is that it is yours and yours alone and all you have to do it better your own time. She is proud of herself and rightly so. She may be her mothers daughter but she has way more determination.

Expansion

Every summer, when the weather permits it, K and I like to sit outside in the evening and drink wine on the deck and talk about what a waste of space it is. Don’t get me wrong, we love sitting outside but we only get to do it for about one month every year. And for that month every year we talk about how much better it would be if we could use that space all year round. It’s always been just talk, over a bottle or two of wine, and punctuated by lots of “if only”s and “if we had more money”s and “wouldn’t it be great if”s. Nothing has changed in our financial circumstances – we haven’t won the lottery (we wouldn’t be thinking of extensions if we had; we would be moving to the posh part of town) or had massive pay-rises (remember those?). We have just decided that this summer we won’t sit outside and talk about it; we are going to make it happen. We’ve talked to the bank, rather apprehensively. They asked a LOT of questions, and eventually said yes. We have a budget. We have an architect on board. We have an idea of what we would like to do. The architect has suggested other things that make much more sense – that is why he does this job – and we have got the beginnings of a plan (not actual plans yet as we have to make a few more decisions first). We may actually be able to spend this summer talking about something real rather than a pipe dream. There are planning hoops to jump through first and neighbours to talk to, but for once I am allowing myself to believe that this might actually happen. Watch this space.

Table for one

There are some real bonuses to working from home, and I know I am lucky to be able to. I can get washing done, I am in for deliveries, I am around for the kids if they need me, I can attend daytime meetings at school, go for coffee or the odd cheeky lunch with friends, I can pop to the shop if I need to and pesky things like doctors appointments are easy to slot in. Its all good.

I break my week up by going into the office at least once a week and it’s nice to have company (even in the form of two belchy, sweary, sometimes grumpy, men) and chat about the lovely customers and the lovely emails that I get from them. We shout at the radio together (Jeremy Vine, we’re talking about you here) and try and answer the questions on Pop Master. It’s quite nice, especially as it’s not every day. I wouldn’t want to do it every day. I quite like my own company and don’t have any problem being on my own.

But, there are some real downsides. I haven’t been in to the office at all this week for one reason or another (T was off on study leave on Monday and no-one was going in today – my other scheduled day) and so the week has really dragged. The mains reasons for this are:-

Food – the biggest issue I have is food. I don’t raid the cupboards (well, I do sometimes but only on REALLY bad days) but I do find it hard to eat properly. I have breakfast fairly early with the kids or wait until I get back from dropping them off (another perk (?) to working flexible hours). Breakfast is fine. Lunch on the other hand is weird. I don’t see the point in making myself anything proper – it seems too much effort just for me. Occasionally I will have poached egg on toast or something like that, but rarely and I tend to just graze on random stuff: a piece of toast here, a banana and yogurt there, some oatcakes, some nuts, the list goes on. But I don’t stop and eat a proper lunch and I’m pretty sure I have eaten an entire days’ calories before I pick the kids up. Not good.

Motivation – it’s really hard to stay motivated when you are working from home on your own. Don’t get me wrong, I get the job done. I am conscientious and I take it seriously (as seriously as you can when you are dealing with the general public, who are impatiently waiting for printer ink to plop through their letterbox) and I work hard. But my job is very reactive, so I am only as busy as long as my inbox keeps getting messages in it. I have other stuff that I can do when no-one is complaining but it is called “slow burn” work for a reason – it’s boring and slow and just like the dying embers of a fire it is quite yawn-inducing. I find it hard to get myself into gear and get on with it. And when I do I generally end up with a headache or my eyes start feeling scratchy and tired. I start yawning (a lot) and want to go to sleep. Not good.

Company – some days I don’t speak to another person between taking the kids to school and picking them up again. Shouting at the radio doesn’t count (I’m talking about you again Jeremy Vine). Sometimes I can be lucky and the postie will knock the door with a package (normally for T – some freebie or other that he has been given to review) and we chat for a minute. Ok, she says “morning”, I comment on the weather (so British at times I want to scream) and we say “bye”. Not really chatting but it can be the highlight of my day. I sometimes get calls from customers, but they are generally moaning so not exactly a pleasure. I am quite happy with the radio on or music on Spotify but it can be a bit sad not to be able to turn to someone and comment on something that has been discussed or something on the news. Like yesterday, for example, when I heard the news of the attack in Westminster (*), I was horrified but my little yelp of “oh no!” went unheard. A bit like the old conundrum of the tree falling in the forest, if there is no-one to hear me do I make a noise? The biggest issue that this void of company all day causes is the irritation I then feel when someone comes in (K) or the kids come home from school. I have been alone all day, then suddenly (not really suddenly, they come home at the same time every day) I have people making noise, talking, expecting a response. Some days I embrace it, thankful to finally have someone to talk to; other days I can’t bear it, I’ve got so used to being alone. I know my mum will read this and think she needs to call me to cheer me up – she doesn’t, I will be grumpy and snappy and make her wish she hadn’t called. Not good.

So, after 3 days at home alone, and not being needed in the office today, I decided I had to get out. The weather has been very hit and miss so I didn’t want to risk a walk. Luckily, I had an excuse to go ‘out out’ as I had some stuff to return to a shop, birthday cards to buy and T needs cakes for school tomorrow, so I nipped out to a local shopping centre to get it all done in one go. While I was out, I walked past the cafe in M&S. And walked back in and had lunch. On my own. I NEVER eat out in public alone. Ever. I don’t know why, I just don’t. It’s like going to the cinema alone – I just don’t ever think of doing it. Anyway, I ordered a toasted sandwich and a pot of green tea, and I sat on my own people watching. I didn’t get my phone out for company or try and strike up a conversation with the older lady next to me. I just sat and ate my sandwich, drank my tea and did nothing. It was very nice. It has broken the day up and I don’t feel quite so grumpy. I don’t think it will be a regular thing (seems extreme to get in the car and drive 10 miles to get lunch) but I won’t be averse to the idea should the opportunity arise.

Good.

 

* Horrific events and dreadful that I feel like we have almost been waiting for something like this to occur after the incidents in other parts of Europe. I am in awe of the bravery of the people who put their lives at risk to keep us safe and thankful that we have such fantastic emergency services that deal with all this stuff, and of the kindness of strangers who wanted to help those injured. We didn’t really talk about it as a family last night as it was one of those evenings where we were all doing other stuff, but I know the kids are aware of what happened. I suspect that, a bit like when I was a kid and heard of IRA attacks, they don’t really get the enormity of these events. But, this is the world we continue to live in and we just have to hope that the message they get from all of these horrific events is that there are far more good people in the world than bad and that we all have to look out for each other.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Birthday, poo, shopping and the hostess with the leastest

On Friday we celebrated A’s 12th birthday. It is astonishing that she is twelve already (to me at least, in a mad moment one day last week K was convinced she was going to be 13) although on some days she behaves more like a 16 year old than the age she actually is – and this is not always in a stroppy, teenager-like way. She is mature for her age and pretty sensible most of the time. I think it is hard for all of us to cope with her when she is in turn silly and childish, until we remind ourselves that she is, er, well, a child.

She was fine with being at school on her birthday. She has a good bunch of friends now and they were messaging her in the morning before school with birthday wishes. It was non-uniform day which was a complete bonus for her. We then planned for G&G to come over for cake and present opening before a meal out at a local  Italian chain restaurant that we frequent from time to time.

School was great – one of her friends in her form had decorated her locker with a collage of photos of her and balloons and presented her with a lovely gift. She had cards from other friends and generally had a Good Day. Her request this year was for a shopping trip instead of presents so most of the family, including K & I, gave her money which meant there was only a few smallish gifts to open, but it was All Good. My attempt at a rainbow cake was also not too awful so the cake part was also Very Good.

In fact, the whole evening was perfectly lovely except for one small moment – unfortunately, one which will be remembered by me for a while. We were getting ready to leave the house, T going out the door in front of me. I noticed as he walked out of the door that there was a small clump of mud on the mat. “Oh you’ve walked mud into the house” I groaned at him. I picked it up and chucked it onto the grass verge. It was then that I realised IT WAS NOT MUD. I repeat: IT WAS NOT MUD. I had picked up, in my bare hands and with no question, a piece of dog poo. DOG POO! IN MY BARE HANDS! Anyone who knows me even a little bit will know that this is Not Good. After 4 hand-washes, 3 squirts of antibacterial hand gel and a lot of disgusted whimpering we were able to leave the house to go for dinner. I would like to say that it put me off my food but, again, anyone who knows me even a little bit will know that NOTHING puts me off my food. We had a lovely meal and the birthday was a great success.

The next day, we had arranged to take A and four of her friends to the cinema to see La-La-Land (initial choice was Beauty and the Beast but selfishly the film company did not release this in time for A’s birthday) followed by pizza at our house (being on a bit of a budget and not able to fork out a further 50-odd quid for dinner for them all at a restaurant). Believe me when I say that any type of hosting of anyone other than family fills me with a sort of dread. I like having friends round, but find it stressful. I am not a natural hostess and constantly question myself – will they eat what I have cooked? Will they think the menu is boring? Will they think the music is rubbish? What will we talk about? blah blah blah. It’s no different when the kids have friends round. Some of them I have known since they were tiny, others are new friends: unknown quantities. It’s all quite stressful.

So the idea of four girls in the house (two I know pretty well, two I don’t) was nerve-wracking. I worry that kids, like dogs, can smell the fear, or, in my case, the desperation for it all to be over. I worry that they can tell that my smile is a bit forced and that I am a tad nervous. Kids don’t expect their friends’parents to be shy and nervous. They expect them to be fun and in control (but not a control freak) and nice. I am nice. I am not fun. I hate mess. I hate excessive noise. Five girls in a small space are loud. They squeal a lot. We got through it though. K was dreading it as much as I was but was kind and didn’t desert me. It was fine. I don’t know if they had a good time – I think they did. One was constantly “live-streaming” the occasion on some form of social media which struck me as slightly odd but then I am OLD so what do I know? Perhaps I should be flattered that she felt it worthy of trying to induce some FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in her other friends who had not been invited. In reality it made me shudder at the thought that the other girls may then question their new, tentative friendships with A and wonder why they hadn’t been invited too. I was that girl. I would have not survived my teens if social media had been around – I would have cried a lot (more than I did).

The final day of the Birthday Weekend was the big shopping trip with Grandma. Three generations of women out shopping together could be a bit of a gamble. My dad always used to say (and still does, in fact) to mum and me when we were heading out to the shops “Be nice to each other – no fighting”. I am not sure what this was based on – I don’t remember any one particular occasion where we had a disastrous outing but I suspect there probably were some. However, we had a great day – A spent her budget wisely and bought some lovely clothes and accessories, announcing in one changing room that she has definitely “found her style” and loves shopping. We had toasties in M&S and hot choc in John Lewis and she ended up with tons of bags so all in all it was a Very Good Day.

Happy Birthday my beautiful girl.

 

 

 

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”.