Sunday, 24 June 2018

I'm ready for the good life now thanks.

I've been thinking about endings lately.

From the minor endings like the TV shows I love coming to a series finale, my favourite fragrance finishing (ooh alliteration !) and having to stop wearing Fit Flops after donkey's years because they're not suitable for work. To the biggies - going back to work and not being around all the time for my boys any more. Taking care of Neo in the full knowledge that he is old for a cat and all the pills we are giving him will only hold off the inevitable for so long.

Maybe it's the end of the long days and the slow progress towards Autumn and Winter. That inevitability of the nights getting darker a bit earlier until it's clearly a different season. I've been teaching yoga in the evenings and it's still light outside when the class finishes. That won't be the case for much longer. However it does mean I get to teach by candlelight again and that is magical.

Then I think about how I've coped with relationship endings. My first marriage ended a long time ago now and I barely recognise the woman I was then. We had been so unhappy and he kept telling me to leave him. One day it was completely clear to me that it was time to leave. It seemed so obvious that was the right thing to do. It was painful and difficult and the fallout went on for years. I had been thrown out of my family to be with him and yet they took me back when I left. I waited every day for 2 years for the pain to stop. I'm not sure when it did, but it must have because I'm here now.

In a very sad episode I lost a friend for a few years because he was in a relationship with someone who was toxic and unkind. I couldn't bear to see him being mistreated and we lost touch. I told him years later that I was always his friend, but I just couldn't be around her and he opened up that he hadn't been happy. Being a friend sometimes means having to be brutally honest and that isn't easy. I wish I had checked if he was happy instead of taking myself away to avoid her.

The finality of losing Soraya has been the most difficult ending - obviously. It has tested my mental strength and pushed me to the limits of my patience. Someone asked me how I manage to do so many things and I smiled and shrugged. The truth is I keep 'doing' because if I stop and think it just hurts too much.  If I start to cry I might never stop. There are things that help. Music, yoga, running, swimming, cuddling Neo, Hubbie, my boys, friends. I am very lucky.

Eventully I hope to think less about what is ending and instead focus on what is beginning.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Fame at last...

Well this happened. 

In January I decided I was going to cut off all my hair to raise money for Macmillan and donate it to charity. 

Macmillan contacted me and asked if I'd like to take part in a photoshoot for them and I said, "hella yeah !" 800 photos later they produced this for the new fundraising pack. It even features the hand of my wonderful hairdresser Alan. 

The hair was donated to Little Princess Trust who produce real hair wigs for children and young people with hair loss from cancer treatment. It's a wonderful charity and I'm so proud to have been able to do this. 

So the next big challenge is the Royal Parks half marathon that I'm going to run in October. It's the furthest distance I've run and it's a real effort for me to train for this. I am hoping my shorter hair will make me more aerodynamic so I don't make a complete idiot of myself ! The training plan starts next Monday and I'm hoping to add to the £1200 I've already raised for the fantastic work that Macmillan do to support people with cancer and those who care for them. 

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported my efforts so far, financially and emotionally. I'm touched by the care and kindness that so many lovely folk have shown me. It hasn't made the challenges (both people and things) easier to deal with, but it's been reassuring to have a hand to hold and a listening ear.  

You can follow my progress on Instagram and if you want to support Macmillan I have a fundraising page. 

Monday, 11 June 2018

I sound like a huskie...

This evening when I came home from work I let myself in and put my handbag by the front door. I could hear the boys outside so I went to see what they were up to. Hubbie had picked them up and brought them home early so they could play outside before going to bed. Since I've been at work they go to creche after school so I don't see them as much. I've been feeling guilty on the rare mornings Blue Bear is awake before I leave.
"Where you going Mummy ?"
"I'm going to work."
"What again ?"
"Yes Baby, every day."
"I miss you Mummy."
"I miss you too, but you'll have a lovely time at school and I'll see you later."

Brown Bear asks me if I've had a good day at work and even made me a celebration certificate. He has previous experience of me going to school, but it's all new for Blue. Since he has been with us I've been at home with him. It's been a big change for him and he's started climbing into bed around 5am to see me before I leave. It's exhausting, but very sweet. When I woke up today he was in his own bed, but I was still shattered. I've had a splitting headache all day and I'm losing my voice. Hubbie kindly picked the boys up so I didn't have to go to school and they were home already when I got back from work. I went upstairs to lie down in the dark and Brown Bear came in to give me a hug and to check if I was ok. Neo wandered in, miaowed then lay down next to me. He has a great instinct for when anyone is not well.

Blue Bear goes to bed first so while Hubbie was getting him ready for bed I talked to Brown Bear.
"Taylor's mummy sent a message to say she's coming back to school tomorrow and she's going to be using crutches as she's hurt her foot. Can you help her please ?"
"Ok Mummy."
"Maybe carry her bags into class."
"I can help her up the stairs. I'll put my arm around her."
"What a nice idea. I'm sure she'd like that."
"I helped Ray and Betty at school today."
"That's a kind thing to do. Well done."
"That's ok Mummy."
He gave me a hug and went back to his room.

Blue Bear was lying in bed and I went to say goodnight.
"Stroke me Mummy."
"Ok baby."
"Why you close your eyes ?"
"I'm very tired sweetheart."
I smoothed him on the back and head to help soothe him to sleep. As he seemed to be dropping off I went to leave the room.
"Where you going Mummy ?"
"I need to lie down, I don't feel well."
He reached for a Paw Patrol pillow on his bed and held it out to me.
"Put this on the floor and lie down Mummy."
"Thank you Sweetie, but I need to lie down in the dark. You don't like the dark."
"It ok Mummy you switch light off, I like the dark now."
It is no exaggeration to say he's really terrified of the dark and I was so touched.
"It's ok baby I'll stay with you."
I did. I stroked his back and smoothed his head until I heard the soft snores that indicated he'd gone to sleep.

I think we've got this.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Got my work shoes and a packed lunch all ready to go

I was queuing at the till this afternoon to pay for my shopping. I decided that as it's my first full week in my new job I was going to be well prepared so I bought all the food I needed for lunches, breakfasts and any snacks. The boys were at home lounging in the sunny garden having returned from cricket and we had all been for a fun swim earlier in the morning. In the queue I noticed a man behind me who had only two items to pay for. I asked it he wanted to go ahead of me and he looked a bit surprised, but thanked me and moved forward. The woman in front of me was frantically packing her shopping, she had already rolled her eyes and castigated her husband (who had disappeared now) and was clearly not in a good mood. The man in front of me stood next to her waiting his turn to pay and she looked at him and sharply asked him to move away so she could put in her pin number.  He was quite elderly and didn't really understand so I gently took his elbow and explained that she wanted some privacy to put in her number and he mumbled something. She swore at him and he looked baffled. It brought me up short, because I can remember days when I have been like that. I've not been patient or especially nice and it's embarassing to see in another person the rotten behaviour I've probably displayed myself. 

This was on my mind because we just had a half term holiday in Cornwall where we spent time relaxing, eating outside, being active and generally doing things as a family. I have tried to manage the worst of my moods and temper, which is much easier when it is sunny and now the boys are older they even sleep in sometimes !! I noticed Blue Bear has more energy, he asserts himself more (well he shouts a lot), he is funny and engaging and lots of fun. Brown Bear blew my mind when we all went on a long cycle ride by being brave and sensible and working as a team with me and hubbie. I have wanted to ride the Camel Trail since I first visited Cornwall about 18 years ago. Now that Brown Bear can ride a bike confidently we hired bikes - and a buggy for Blue Bear to sit in behind Daddy's bike. We took to the trail and it was just fantastic to be able to cycle as a family and to see my son pedalling away and taking the lead. Even when he came off his bike and scraped his arm - quite painfully - he got back on and kept going. I recalled how when I fell off my bike my dad would tell me off rather than comfort me. It showed me that some of my worst traits are learned behaviours and it is entirely my choice to take them on. I didn't tell him off, I reassured him that falling off is part of cycling and he had done nothing wrong to make it happen. Then we sang as we cycled along to take his mind off his injury. 

I noticed that I'm letting go more and giving the boys more space. It's been on my mind that the shift from full time parent to full time work is something I just wasn't prepared for. The boys are great, they love creche and hopefully Blue Bear will eat supper at school this week instead of expecting me to feed him when I'm home from work. Brown Bear often asks me, "How was your day Mummy ?" and made me a certificate to signify how well I'd done for going back to work. They are fine with it. Hubbie provides the encouragement and practical support to enable me to do this at all. On my first day as I was leaving for work he gave me a massive hug and whispered in my ear, "I'm so proud of you." That carried me practically all the way there. 

It's taken what seems like forever, but now I am here and I have put things in place to help me feel calmer. I disclosed to work that I experience anxiety and stress. This is the first time I've ever done that. I decided it was best to just be open and I'm glad I did. They need to know that if I am being asked to stay late and it means I can't pick up my kids that is going to cause me anxiety. Being late for my children makes me stressed. Over the years I realise that people have thought I'm being unreasonable or picky when actually I'm anxious. It's not logical or directed at anyone in particular and to a certain extent it is out of my control. If I am on a train that is delayed I will be getting anxious - even though there's nothing I can do about it. If I have an hour for lunch and the food is late I will be anxious. I'd rather just leave it, but I don't want to be rude. 

So when I saw the woman today I kind of sympathised with her. I have no idea why her day was going that way or why she was upset with her husband or why him changing the orangeade for lemonade caused her to react as she did. I have no clue why the man standing close to her caused her to get so upset. In fact, I blamed myself for letting him in front of me and putting him in that situation. Still, I hope she felt better later. 

I came home and put out four outfits for this week. I organised the things I need to take to work and put the food in the fridge that I am going to eat tomorrow. I am managing my potential anxiety in the only way I know how - by organising the hell out of it. Now I'm going to bed so that I at least have a fighting chance of getting enough sleep.