Sunday, 27 October 2019

From tealights to titanium...

I bought a squash the other day. Not a pumpkin, a squash. Blue Bear is really keen that we carve a pumpkin for halloween so this is my compromise.  I have bought a pumpkin and craved a face out of it in the past, but we ended up with a lot of vegetable leftovers which no one wanted to eat. There is only so much curried pumpkin one family can eat and we hit our limit pretty quickly. It's also the fact that I don't really see this as a 'holiday' we should even participate in. When I was a kid it was all about Guy Fawkes and bonfire night. There were kids who would push around a bundle of clothes in an old pram and chant 'penny for the guy' rather than knocking on doors demanding 'trick or treat.'

It's not being a misery to say I don't want to do Halloween. I just don't have any associations with it. I would much rather celebrate Diwali which is colourful, delicious and much more meaningful to me. As we will be away for Diwali this year I'm making sure I take some tea lights with me so that I can still celebrate the festival of lights and remind the boys of their Indian heritage. Wherever I have lived I've always done this. When I was in a shared house at Uni I recall my housemates loved the tea lights and Indian sweets and wanted to know how it meant. I went to the Sikh Temple in Coventry in my Indian clothes and phoned my Mum. It connected me to my family in a way that I needed when I felt as if I was all alone in a place full of people.

So today I took the boys to a temple in Derby. The extra hour helped ensure we were able to fit in a visit to the Sikh Heritage Centre that was also there. I was so proud when I watched my boys go up the holy book and bow their heads as I've shown them since they were babies. We say down to eat in the communal kitchen and they devoured the food that I never make at home. As we walked round the museum of artefacts showing the contributions Sikhs have made in wars all over the world and the atrocities visited upon Sikhs in history my boys asked questions and I told them, "when we go to India I will take you to the Golden Temple so you can see it for real." It means a lot to me that my sons are aware of their Indian roots and that they know about Sikh history and oppression.

It wasn't an easy day. All the firsts are painful. The first wedding anniversary since the break up was this week. I had no idea what to expect. I worked from home so I wouldn't have to interact with anyone and pretend to be ok. It was pretty rubbish actually. Not because I wanted to celebrate or because I miss being married, more the overwhelming grief and loss of a relationship that I wasn't expecting to end as abruptly as it did. At least I didn't have to deal with anyone in person who I didn't want to see that day.

I drove the kids on Friday night for many hours to get to our holiday destination for half term. It as a very long journey and it took hours, but they watched movies in the back of the car and we got here late on Friday night. When they woke up on Saturday morning it was tipping down with rain, but they still got to see the sheep in the field and a rabbit that scampered past the window. It was all I wanted for them this weekend. We stayed inside and watched movies while the rain lashed down outside. We made a den, ate snacks in bed and snuggled under blankets to watch Back to the future (part 2 - we''re working our way through the trilogy).

This morning Blue Bear climbed into bed with me in the early hours - bad dreams again. The extra hour in bed meant nothing as they both woke up at an unearthly hour demanding to watch TV. Still, I did manage to get a bit of a lie in and we did so much today I was genuinely surprised. We went to the temple, met up with lovely friends and made it back in time to watch Back to the Future Part 3. I have never actually watched it before so that was a first.

Everyone is telling me I can do this - that I am strong and capable. I'm not convinced actually. I often feel overwhelmed, sad, lonely, angry, bewildered and guilty, Oh so guilty, For not being a good enough mother, for not getting it right and for being a failure. Then today I looked at my boys laughing and playing in the park with the friends they see rarely. Blue Bear pushing the roundabout slowly because the little girl was scared if it went too fast. Brown Bear exclaiming his feet were too big for the playground toys he was on with his oldest friend.

Both boys hugged me tonight and wished me happy Diwali. It was a difficult day in many ways. It was also magical in so many others. I lit a few beautiful tealights this evening in celebration. The boys asked me why and I explained that is what we do to bring light to darkness.

No, I'm not ok. I don't know when I will be. What I do know, however, is that I have these incredible kids who love and accept me for who I am. However much of a failure I might consider myself to be.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

The sound of silence

Apologies for radio silence. It's been a difficult time and I have wanted to write and while the words were there, the inclination to share them wasn't. I have longed for sleep that didn't come and peace of mind has eluded me. Each time I thought, 'this is as bad as it gets,' I'll be damned if it didn't just get a whole lot worse.

Then today something shifted. I woke up and looked at the clock and the house was quiet. No miaowing, no kids arguing, nowhere to get to at silly o'clock. So I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. Until eventually the boys woke up and the day began - about two hours later than normal - bliss.

We went for a swim, we had a pub lunch and this afternoon we watched Back to the Future - I think it's important to give kids a good grounding in culture. As I sat on the sofa with the cat on one side of me and Brown Bear on the other I looked over to Blue Bear on the other sofa. It was a moment in time and one that I honestly haven't felt before. A day when it feels as though I've got it right. Not perfect, but right. My kids were happy, the cat was relaxed and I was sitting down and spending time with them all.

So much has happened that it doesn't quite feel real.

I'm still not quite there but sometimes I sleep on all of the bed - not just one side.

Remembering how much I enjoy my own company has been a revelation.

Letting go of expectations and realising I am capable and can do pretty much everything myself.

Travelling through the drama and pain and sadness and finding my inner warrior.

I have found my true friends and allies. The ones who are there at the worst of times. Who express no fear or judgement, just pure love and support.

Believing I can do anything - I honestly do. I didn't before, but when I think about where I was and where I am now it's like I've climbed a mountain already.

Accepting that not every day is going to be fun is ok. My kids are going to argue with me - that's normal. They are in a lot of pain and I am the one who is here and who is holding them through this.

So whatever happens I've got it.