Thursday, April 26, 2012

100 Word Challenge wk 39

The 100wordchallengeforgrouwnups week 39 is up.  It made me think about my after school times...

The prompt was ….I’m exhausted. Shut the door behind you….

Here's mine, check out some other peoples as well!

It’s 3:15 my poppets.  Home time! Got everything? Good.

Jason, you’re back.  What do you need?  Your reading book is in the yellow box.  Yes, good night.

Ryan? No, your lunchbox was left in the playground.  Try looking in lost property. Yes, off you go.

Mrs Newson.  She’s come out with nits?  She came in with nits Mrs Newson, and now we all have them.  Off you go.

Antonia. Now what? You can’t find your Moshi Monster.  Why was it even in school?  No, toys are not show and tell.  Look in the morning.  Off you go!

I am exhausted.  Shut the door behind you…

Yes, headteacher?

Marmite and tea and chocolate

Given the title, Dear Reader, I could forgive you for thinking this post was a self indulgent one about the things I really like.

To some extent it is.  But one of those things is Evil Personified. (We think)

I am a simple person.  I have simple tastes and simple needs.  However, even I was astonished by the simplicity of what made me happy over the last few days.  Marmite on toast, and hot sweet tea.  I've had the mother, father, and grandparents of all headaches over the last couple of days.  Can't eat, can't sleep, can't stand, but obviously have to teach and go to work lol!

But the joy of toast and marmite has transcended all things, in terms of being able to eat and drink.

I am, however, shattered from the waves of pain.  I have not really had one as bad as this before, and it has come in waves and gone in waves, and returned with it's mates, and so on.  It exists on one side of my head, right hand side, in and behind the eyeball and ear and neck.

We think it might be chocolate related - I had some *good* chocolate the other day, and it came on about 20 mins afterwards.  It had finally gone last night, and my boy shared his Easter egg with us, and BAM it was back.  We'll see.

Anyone else have anything along these lines?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beautiful Sunday

It is a gorgeous day here in L.  We're away at J's parents so that he can see T-Boy for the weekend.  Next week we'll be here for a wedding, but without the boys.  The week after we'll be back to get the boys, then go to Norfolk for a couple of show days, then bring T-Boy back here.  That's going to be a lot of miles in the next few weeks.

However, and in other news, this weekend with T-Boy seems to be going quite well.  He has been affectionate without being in trouble first, and has not been as winge-ful as he can be. I know we haven't had lunch yet, but I'm feeling optomistic towards that at the moment as well!  It's beef, which he has learnt to eat at our house, and veggies, and yorkshires. Should be all good.

Times like this, I almost think that we can get through this stage of his development, and that everything will turn out ok.  I almost don't want to type that though, as usually when I do something happens that means he has a major strop, and it's all not-good again.

Ah well.

Work calls. (and then swimming! YAY!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Curiously calm

I am, curiously calm this morning.  I've been awake since around 3, reading since around 3.30, and got up around 5.  I might do Tesco this morning, I might not.

Yesterday was a good day.  The children worked hard, I worked hard, the world worked hard and it spun and nothing changed, but today I feel like everything did.

I have been reaching for an understanding of something in the last few days, and it has been something that I have not been able to even say what I am reaching for, or trying to understand, but it is coming to clarity.

I didn't talk to C4News man in the end.  I worked out what he wanted, and it wasn't who I am.  I made my views clearer, and he said we weren't what he was looking for.  I wasn't surprised.  He says he intends to be in touch to talk about my particular situation.  That's up to him.

He wanted me to be negative about Rich's death, to see his time in Afghanistan as a waste of the time we could have had together.  He wanted me to be angry, and hurting and bitter towards the RAF and the MoD and to talk about how terribly the child and I had been treated.

Rich's death was, if it had to happen, a death that occurred in the best way possible.  It was quick, he did not suffer, and the details of his death that only I, and J, and the police know, are for us to know. But they bring me joy from the sadness.

His time in Afghanistan was what it was.  It changed him as a person, it made him more than he was before, it calmed him and inspired him, showed him what he had thought his purpose was, and whether that was a good thing is for he and I to know.  But to have the chance to find himself in the way that he did, was an amazing thing.  He obtained the clarity that he wanted in his thinking.  He was away from the pain of the She-Ex and her random behaviours, shielded from them by me and by distance, and doing a job he believed in.  He knew why he was there, and he did it, and he did it well.  Whether I believe in the political reasons for the Forces being there, is something I will honestly admit that I don't always understand.  I believe in those individuals though, and I believe in our Armed Forces, and I will not put them down for the sake of some journalists predetermined point of view.

The RAF, and the MoD did not treat us badly.  They treated us within the constraints of the law.  They surrounded us with love and affection and support.  They accepted our place in Rich's life in all the ways that they were allowed to, and in many ways that they weren't allowed to.  They bent rules and looked for loopholes and did everything they could.  More than the outcome, it was the fact that they tried that mattered.  This massive institution of warfare knew that he had fallen, knew that there was a grieving child and girlfriend, and it cared.  It paid lip service to the "family", and some of the private conversations that are for me to cherish and know are proof positive of that, but it cared for us.

And from all of this maelstrom comes J and I.  Over the last few days there has been an article in the British press about Army wives finding love again after bereavement  The headline was "Can we forgive Army Wives for finding true love again?"  I'm going to write a longer post on this another day, soon, but the sheer nerve of the writer to not even try and understand the effort that goes into loving again, stunned me, and made me appreciate J even more.

Today however, there is a distinct calm about the way I feel.  I feel as though my path has been winding for a long time, and now is set and whilst there is nothing I can do about it, there is nothing I *want* to do about it.  God holds me in his hand, and I trust Him in a way that I haven't for a while.  There's a post in there as well, I know.

So this got long.  Sorry.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Scotty's and proud


My Scotty's post from a bit back is on the charity round up page.  HURRAH!

I was also on the phone to a chap from Channel4 news last night, wanting to talk about the "children of the fallen".  I don't want to go into too much detail about what he is doing, but we're meeting today I think, or having a longer phone call, depending on where he is, to talk more.

I have to make him see.  I have to make him understand that I wouldn't have stopped Rich going to Afghanistan again, I didn't stop him going twice, and I would have waved him off again, and again, and again.  I would have sent more parcels, more e-blueys, more photo's, more phonecalls.  I would have written about life in here, and not told Rich the downsides to anything going on because they don't need to hear it.  I have to make this journalist see that we were and still are and always will be so very proud of him for the choices that he made, and that we would always have supported him.

I have to make him see that it isn't just the loss of the person, but the loss of the way of life, of the place, of the people and the whole institution.  I have to make him see that we would do it all again tomorrow, back from 2005, we'd do every day the same way, including him going, and coming back, and going, and coming back, and waiting for the dates when he was going again, and then finding out he would never go anywhere again, or come home.  We'd do it again because we are a service family, and we were all in, even though only one of us got an MoD payslip.

It's all good. Itwillallbefine because I won't have it any other way.

We are a Scotty family, and proud of it, proud of everything it stands for, that Rich represented, that the Armed Forces in this country represents.

And in other news, the AC (and the rest of us!) all have new Scotty mugs, and they are fabulous!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

End of the Holidays.

This week has been long and difficult in many places.  T-Boy has not been easy, 1000 days since Rich died was definitely not easy, moving bedroom was a long way from easy.  BG's birthday was yesterday, and just about put the tin lid on things.

I sent her an e-card - I don't have an address to send her a proper card or a present or something like that.  Part of me doesn't expect it will be opened.  Part of me doesn't expect she will even know it was there.  A bigger part of me hopes it will be, and hopes her mother is generous enough to her father's memory to acknowledge that we exist.  Part of me is just sad that in losing Rich we lost BG as well.

Maybe one day we'll see her or hear from her again.  I'll give her the box of stuff we have for her, and talk to her about it all, go through it all.

I just hope she knows we are always going to be here for her, whenever she needs us or wants to know what happened to her father.

In other news, I'm working on a Sunday morning again.  Yay.  Then we'll be taking T-Boy back to his mothers, and collecting the AC, and that will be the holidays over.  We achieved a lot though this holidays, hard though they were.

That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

1000 days

A thousand days have passed since I had the news that Rich had died.

A thousand days ago, I woke up and I remembered the news the Police had brought the day before.

A thousand days where I have thought about him every day, missed him, loved him.

A thousand days where my child has, at some point every day, had that lost look in his eyes.  It comes less often now, and for a shorter time, and that is what having intervention at the right time can do for a child.

In a way, I can't get my head around it all still.  There are moments where I expect him to walk in the door, to drop his bag in the middle of the floor for me to fall over.  There are moments when I expect to hear his voice telling me that the coffee fairies have been, or that there is a hole in his cup, or that he is the worlds best taste tester.

Weirdly these days, I expect him to be a part of the life I have with J though.  Not to replace J, nothing could do that, but to be here.  We all still talk about him a lot, he's been on all our minds whilst I've been moving the bedrooms because he built that bed for the AC, and part of my mind can still see him doing that, still hear him chuntering on to the AC about it.  He is a part of our every day lives and I have to say how much I love J for accepting that, and helping AC talk about it and cry if he wants to and all that kind of thing.  He supports us both in so many ways.

Has time been a great healer?  In lots of physical ways, yes. 1000 days ago, and for some time afterwards, I wasn't eating, I wasn't sleeping, I cried a lot, I was exhausted, I couldn't cope with simple tasks. These days I am doing all those things. (I'm still exhausted and should probably speak to the doc about that, but hey, that's working/teaching motherhood for you!)

In lots of mental ways, I'd have to say yes.  I can think beyond the next two minutes.  I am not in fear of what the next police car in my layby will be.  I don't have to have my son within sight perpetually incase something happens to him.  I am able to section that part of my life off, gift wrap it with happy memories, and then open a new section where I can love again, (and I do!) and live again and trust again and risk again.

Yesterday was tricky in some ways, because I had to face the fact that it was 1000 days since he kissed me goodbye.  I had my FB friends, and my twitter peeps, (@Madyline) and real life people, and I got through.  I didn't tell the AC because he doesn't need to remember the focus being on the numbers, on the death, he needs to focus on the memories, when he remembers it needs to be in a good way, and he does.

1000 days.

It's a long time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another early morning

I've been awake since 4 this morning.  It has to do with bad dreams (not mine) the way they were dealt with, and a general frustration of just not being able to do a damn thing right.


On the other hand.

I am up early, watching some daft programme about swordfishing, and waiting for BBC Breakfast to start.  I'll catch the news and weather, and then move on with the rest of my day.

The rest of my day will involve preparing for tomorrow, (printing some stuff off basically) and continuing with the AC's room.  Yesterday I managed to take the bed apart, move the bed to the other room and reassemble the bed.  T-Boy was amazed when I said I was going to do this.  "But Daddy isn't home!"  Yes, well, some of us don't need a man to do our work for us thanks T-Boy.  Yesterday he learnt how to use an allan key, some of the many uses of WD-40, and how a lubricant works on screws that have been wedged in for a long time.

It was not without incident.  I gave him breakfast, (dry cornflakes, at his request) and he kept dropping them on the floor and sofa.  I moved him to the table, he refused to eat them.  I turned the timer over, and he got on with it.  The timer ran out, he refused to eat, and sulked some more.  I turned the timer over, he got on with it.

Then he calmed down.  He was lovely.  He helped upstairs, chatting away like anyone else would. He fetched and carried when he was asked to, for about 30 mins, then went off on a massive tantrum about me asking where he had put something.  Then he was sorry, and helped, then went off on a massive tantrum because I'd asked him not to roll his eyes when I was speaking to him.  Then I said we were going to take Daddy his lunch, and he cried for 30 minutes because I was going to tell Daddy what he had been up to.  We started to walk down to Daddy, and he was lovely.  Chatty, interested, telling my about some film he'd seen, we got down to Daddy, we got back, (still lovely!) I made him lunch, he refused to eat it until I threatened to make spaghetti bolognaise with tomatoes in it for his tea, and then he ate 2 massive wraps with no more fuss.

Sue came round to help because she was bored, and he was lovely all afternoon, really on best behaviour, which was so much nicer than the morning.  We worked like navvies all afternoon and got most of it done, the bed back together, and it just leaves me a bit of sorting out today to do.

I also want to get these dogs sewn up today.  I'll take T-Boy into town to do a few things and get some kapok to stuff the dogs with and so on.

I also want to make pasta and bread and cake today (carb rich diet lol!)

There's about a million things I need to do, but I'm going to have to take it slowly - I'm knackered!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just a cup of tea

I am back to drinking tea again after a long Lenten period without it.  The last section was the worst.  Joyously though, I seem to have broken my sugar addiction in tea and I am happily drinking it without 2-3sugars.

2 sugars is 23 calories.
2 sugars x 7 cups (minimum) = 23 x 7 = 161 calories, daily.
161 calories x 47 days = 7567 calories.

7567 calories = 2lbs of fat.

Except it wasn't about that.  As a by product I am slimmer in the waist (it would take a miracle to shrink this backside!) and I am more lively, less prone to needing to sleep in the afternoon/early evening and so on.  As a byproduct.

So what was it about?  After all, it's just a cup of tea.

I haven't regularly attended church in about a year.  In fact, a year last month, when I had my arthroscopy last year.  I don't know why I haven't been.  Some of it is to do with being away every other weekend.

A lot of it is to do with struggling with my faith after the aftermath of Rich's accident.

In a way, I could deal with his death, I could manage to assimilate that, and see the rightness of the ending of his physical pain, his mental pain, and love the idea of him being with God. The powerlessness of his brother taking his ashes, or the She-Ex refusing to tell me anything about the BG unless she wanted something, or the complete lack of contact from his family, just made me despair.  How could God want us just whitewashed from his life, like the AC and I never existed?

The continuing fallout and stress caused by things like DVLA, like the banks, like Dairy Crest bills from when he was living with the She-Ex (seriously?  £450 to Dairy Crest?  HOW do you do that?) led me to question my view on the world.  His family were family for the good bits, for the showy bits, but wanted nothing to do with the actual hard work of him being dead.  His brother's big words of "let me know what he owes and I'll sort it out" turned out to be smoke and mirrors, which was the same with most of what he said.  But I dealt with it, occasionally *still* deal with it, and am proud of the fact that I have managed without them, thus proving everything Rich said to be true, and validating why I'd never met them in all the time we were together.

The ongoing pain of realising that he and I would never have children together, that I would never have more children with anyone, that the AC is the sole child of my flesh, is difficult in the extreme.  It isn't just that I wanted a big family, or that it was a dream for both of us, that we valued each others parenting styles and skills, that we loved each other, it is deeper than that.  It is part of who I am, and my ability to get pregnant, but inability to carry past 6-8 weeks makes me feel as though I am less of a person.  After all, as I have said before, 15 year olds on a council estate can do this, why can't I?  Am I that much of a bad mother that God's choice is for me not to?  Or is it that He knows something I don't? (Obvious, but true lol!)  Was it better for Rich and I to lose those we started, than to raise 2 grieving children?

The continuing, but changing, pain of living with his loss, and living with the child who knew him and loved him and was bereft by his death, of answering the questions, of holding the sobbing body, of coping with the outlet of emotion and reassuring him in all the ways I can, is exhausting.  Trying to find ways to talk him through what happened, at his own pace, without badmouthing Rich's brother or the She-Ex can be a task of diplomacy in itself. (My opinions are mine, and expressed on here for my own sanity.  He doesn't need to hear them, he can make his own mind up later on.)

There are other reasons, better reasons.  Sometimes I miss communal worship, the feeling of being all in one thought.  Other times, I am glad to be in a field, watching the lads fly planes, and glorying in God's creation without the walls of Church.  I am glad to be in the open.

My non-attendance at Church doesn't mean that I don't believe.  I could no more stop believing in God than I could fly under my own power.  I am open in my prayers to Him, guilty of not spending enough time with Him, know I don't read His Word as much as I should, and need to get better at all of those things.  I have spent a long time being unhappy with Him, not trusting as I should.  I struggled to see the bigger picture - of how the pain my son and I were going through, caused by his death and the aftermath, made sense in the plan.

I am slowly coming towards an acceptance, but not an understanding.  OR rather, an understanding that it is ok not to understand, it is better just to accept, and appreciate what is here, rather than picking old wounds. After all, picking causes scars, not smooth healing. (All our mothers said things along those lines)  Whether this will lead me back to church, or to a more insular faith for a while, I don't know.

So, for me, every time I wanted a brew and didn't, it made me think of God, and what He was prepared to do for me.  It made me aware that I had made a promise to God, and that I should keep that promise.  And that He has made me promises, and kept some and others are not "not-kept" but more "yet to come to fruition".  It has been a physical reminder of my faith.

It's just a cup of tea, but it is so much more.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fussy wating and easy roast.

Well, I've been awake since 3am.  It's now 6am.  I gave up attempting to sleep at around 4.30, and came downstairs, redrew the template for the dogs I need to make so they are bigger, and then cut out and stitched one.  (pics later)

I cleaned the kitchen right hand side, and when the dishwasher completes I'll clean the dishwasher left hand side.

I watched Maury and decided that my life was Not That Bad. (although I make be awake really early, I'm not 250lbs and don't know who the father of my baby is, although this girl was 1,000,000% sure that it was this man.  And it wasn't.  OR his mate.  And why is she saying 1,000,000%?  There are only 100%.  What are American schools teaching these children?)

Now I'm blogging a little, reading a little, sewing a little, and watching Rick Stein's Spain.

Yesterday went fine.  J was firm with T-Boy about eating.  I backed him up.  T-Boy ate.  Simple.  He did mess about for a while with his ham sandwich.  He ate one half, then said he didn't like the other half, and coughed and tried to be sick, so I said "Fine, then that's you done til tea time."  Then he said he would eat it, so I said he had 5 minutes. 

Him : "WHAT?!?!? So I'm getting timed to eat my food now?!?!?!"

Me : Yes.  Over an hour for one half of a sandwich is ridiculous.  You have five minutes.

As he knew that there was chocolate cake at the flying field (where we were having our sandwiches) he got on with it, but he'd messed about so long that all the cake was gone! 

J did well in the competition, he doesn't like doing them, but he joins in with good humour.

Oh, and I did slow roasted beef for tea.  You've never had anything so easy, so nice, and so cheap for a roast.  It was 1.4kg of beef brisket.  I seared it in the frying pan, lobbed it into a deep roasting pan with a lid, made thin gravy with the juices from the frying pan, and threw that in on top.  It went in the oven for 3 hours at 140deg, then I turned it off (leaving it in) and went flying.  We were back 4 hours later, and about an hour after that I sliced some thin slices from it, made gravy and dropped the slices in for a moment, then served it with roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli.  Unless you are T-Boy, in which case he had cold beef, bread and butter, and a MASSIVE mound of carrots and broccoli, which he ate all of.

This is a marked difference to Saturday night, when he asked for sausages, peas, carrots and rice.  I made it, all mixed it in like a stir-fry (as that's what he wanted) and he refused to eat anything except the sausages.

We'll see how today goes.  But not yet.....  Everyone else is still asleep!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Saturday

It is Easter Saturday. (I know.  Did the title give it away?)

T-Boy is here, collected yesterday.  He and J have spent most of the day on the sofa watching films.  Currently it's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory, with Gene Wilder.  The proper version. 

So far, he's had a bowl of cornflakes, and 2 sets of bacon sandwiches.  The same bacon sandwiches he wouldn't eat last time.  It's almost tea time however.  So far, none of the options I have presented are acceptable.  I have to find a way to feed him.  The main issue is that he doesn't eat anything he doesn't want to eat.  I know that most of us don't do that, but most of us have a wider range of foods that we will eat. 

Also, the biggest of the issues that I have is that he won't eat potatoes, in any form. Won't.  Not can't.  There's no allergy, nothing like that.  I suspect it is a sensory issue, but then there are lots of things he won't eat that aren't sensory, but there are things he will eat that should be a sensory issue if that is the thing that is stopping him eating.

Did that last sentence make sense?  I shouldn't think so. 

So shall I do pork chops and pasta?  Roast chicken and rice?  Why not?  It's only convention, after all!

I've spent the afternoon doing Clicker5 grids for my SEN and EAL children.  Yes, it's the holidays.  Yes, teachers get all these long and fantastic holidays.  Yes, I'm working in my holiday.  AGAIN!  Clicker 5 is brilliant, but it is something I am out of practice with and I am determined to get in practice with it again.

And now I'm stopping because my tapping is stopping them enjoying the film.

Ah well!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Samantha Brick - what now?

The original article about Samantha Brick, by Samantha Brick.
The follow up article about Samantha Brick, by Samantha Brick
The Independant makes a point about female jealousy by LauraJo Davies
The Vice editorial which is as much of a joke as I thought the original article was.
An excellent blog post by SAHDandproud about a real person he knew like Samantha, and how that went.
Where does all this leave us?

I am 37, reasonably sized (UK 12-14) and when asked the question "Am I pretty?" my 8 yr old son replied "Weeeelllllll - you can be!" My other half thinks I'm beautiful (he's supposed to!) and my children in school think I'm lovely and nice, (They are also supposed to!)

Do I get given champagne on airlines? No.
Do I get jealous of other women?  No.
Have I had women be jealous of me? Yes.

*Disclaimer* She was in the middle of a marital break up and was jealous of everything.  She was not in a good mental place and resented the fact that her husband, my best friend, talked to me when he wouldn't talk to her.  She wouldn't understand that it was mostly about how to get them back together, or that I orchestrated the buying of the nice things treats that he got her.  She was jealous of how her daughter behaved herself when she was at my house - once a teacher, always a teacher lol!  But moving on.

I'm not overly intelligent - I have a Bachelors Degree in Education with Honours and QTS.  I have to have that to do my job.  I worked hard for it and it is mine!

I am good a lots of things, but not brilliant at any.  I can bake, sew, cook, clean, homemake in general.  I can teach your child to read, give it the confidence to write, and tell you if it is on the Autistic Spectrum.  Oh, and help it if it is.  Mostly.  I can read stories with funny voices.  I can write stories with funny voices.  I can not draw pictures of anything, except Mondrian.

However, I have also been very, very lucky in life.  Those of you who know the backstory may now be going "No, he DIED! This is not lucky!"  You are right.  This is not lucky.  The fact it was quick and painless for him and over without a coma and life supprt, that was lucky.  The fact he was RAF and they loved the boy and I, and took care of us, that was lucky. 

The fact that I have always had a man in my life unless I didn't want one, is also down to luck, cake, and listening to them.  Since I was 17, the longest I have been single for was the 9 months after Rich died.  We had no intention of getting together, and in fact if you'd have asked me 5 minutes before J came over "Are you ready for a relationship?" I'd have said no.  But he came over and the rest is history.  Real rising from the ashes history, leading up to a happy ever after.  Well, a girl can dream.

So should I write a post about how fabulous I am and how men always want me?  Should I bang on about all you need to do is X/Y/Z and you too can have wonderful men in your lives?  Should I moan about how terrible it is to always have men falling at my feet and wanting to be in my life?  Or should I just accept that this is *my* life, and it runs the way *my* life is supposed to, and all is well in my world.  I have tried hard to get where we are today, and it is hard earned.  Your life is yours.  You make your decisions and I make mine.  Am I jealous of anyone for that? No.

Because I know something about poor Samantha Brick.  One day she will wake up to being old, greyhaired, and alone.  There's no mention of children for this pretty woman, and perhaps her narcissistic exterior hides a broken heart for an inablity to procreate.  I know that I am not universally loved, but I'm not universally hated like her.  I might not be gorgeous, but I know what I am, which she doesn't seem to.  I accept myself the way I am, which she clearly cannot.  She is miserable in her percieved beauty (she's not my type, so I couldn't comment!)

For me the bottom line (cute or not) is that there are more important things to worry about than who is talking about me, or why, or what their agenda might be.  Samantha Brick may have had a genuine grievance, and whether it was due to the Daily Mail, to an unfortunate writing style, or to just being so far up her own backside she can't type properly, it came across badly.  Very badly.  About as badly as it could have come across.  Her reaction to it today, which smacks of "Ha, I was right, you all hate me because I am gorgeous!" makes it harder to make allowances for her.  Today makes her look really delusional, really on the way to some kind of breakdown.  Alternatively, it makes her look like she would sell her soul and morals for press coverage.  Neither of those is attractive.

My suggestion? Do some voluntary work, be with people for whom the last thing on their minds is what they look like, be with people who are real victims, not the percieved victim she believes she is.  Look into the eyes of a bereaved child.  Help a victim of domestic abuse clean up for the thousanth time whilst her children cry because they are hungry.  Tell an Althzimers sufferer who you are for the 50th time in a hour, without getting frustrated.  Work with a child with special needs.  Talk to his parents and tell them he will never be like the other children and watch their faces fall as the hope goes.  Get over yourself, and if you can't, at least learn modesty.  Then you'll be liked or disliked for who you are and the things you do, not just the way you look.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Today there is an article here from the Guardian.  It is written by a woman who has no children, wanted children, and resents the fact that SAHM's complain about their children and wanting 'me' time.

Today there is a blogpost from Melksham Mum which writes about being exhausted, needing 'me' time, facing going back to work and still being the main carer and how she has every right to moan about the things that are difficult in her life, and if that is parenting, then that is parenting.

Yesterday I spent time with a mother of 3, aged 6,4, and 3, discussing the physical impossiblities of keeping up with their untidying abilities and how the men in our lives Don't Understand.

Yesterday my son asked me what it was like to be a big sister. 

So where do I sit?  I have my beautiful son, who has gone through more in his life than most children.  Unlike the miserable and bitter woman in the first article, I did make the effort to find decent men, and I did find them - they are out there.  Rich and I had a gorgeous future planned, with children and loveliness.  Getting pregnant isn't a problem.  Keeping the baby apparently is.  Whilst Rich and I lived together I had at least 3 miscarriages.  When I was still with the AC's father, I had 2 miscarriages.  Rich was prepared to work through it with me, to do anything for us to have a family together.  But he died.

J doesn't want more children.  He has his son.  I have mine.  Whilst I would like us to have a child together, that's not something he has ever wanted.  I don't know if I can bring myself to go through the hope-and-disaster that pregnancy means for me.  Perhaps him makling the decision for us is the way forward, I don't know.  I know it hurts though.

After all, millions of mothers have families.  Millions of second and third and fourth and more babies are born every day.  It's not that I'm infertile - I can get pregnant fairly easily.  It's not that my body can't grow a baby - see the 8 year old coughing and snugging on the sofa for evidence.  It's just........ I don't know.

So where does that leave me in terms of these two articles? 

I have the utmost sympathy for Melksham Mum.  She reminds me of Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy. (Not that she is an elephant.) I want to take her children to the park whilst she has a bath and a cup of tea or what ever else it is she needs to do.  I want to drop by and leave her a shepherds pie in the oven so she doesn't have to cook for one night.  At the very least I want to go round with my son and a tin of biscuits (sometimes a packet is not enough) because he is good at entertaining small people and I can make tea.  Yes, she chose to have those children, in the same way as I did.  Yes, she's finding it hard work to have small children and it'll be harder when she goes back to work in some ways, but she is living her choices every day and making them work - even on days when it doesn't feel like she is making them work, she is.  I know the joy and the tiredness that pregnancy and birth and toddlers and growing up brings.  I know her world.

I have some sympathy for Miserable and Bitter Woman in the article.  She made her career choices.  She made her relationship choices.  She did those things without thinking about the consequences later on. She is now living with those consequences, and not enjoying them.  She's finding it hard to be childless and manless in a world of families.  I know the pain of not being able to have children, of being told you're too old, of wanting and not being able to have.  Whilst she has never been told, as I have, "Your baby died about 2 weeks ago." it doesn't mean that either of us has the monopoly on pain and loss.  It is glorious to have the AC, but it means I know what I am missing with not having more children, both the good and the bad.

The difference between the two, is that Melksham Mum is tired.  Miserable and Bitter Woman is miserable and bitter.  MBWoman is blaming the rest of the world for her misery, for rubbing that misery in her face and garnishing it with our perfection.  She is so caught up on the idea of children that the reality of it is out of her understanding.  Melksham Mum lives with the reality every day, and some days might be too tired to see the idea of the children, because parenting, when done properly, is hard work, is perpetual, is utterly never ending.  MBW could adopt, could have private IVF, could find ways out of her misery if she put her mind to it.  MM just has to wait, and time will take care of it for her, but I suspect there are days when she wonders if she will survive that long.  (You will honey, you will!) 

The thing is that with all situations it depends how one thinks of it.  Cousin Helen (Another literacy reference - What Katy Did!) said that everything has two handles, a rough one and a smooth one.  If you pick something up with the rough handle then it hurts your hand and is hard to carry.  If you pick it up with the smooth handle, then it comes up easily and is light. 

Melksham Mum needs someone to help carry the box.  Motherhood can get you to the stage where you are too tired to reach out for any damn handle and you'd only have to be the one who put it away anyway.  That's why children should have two actively involved parents.  Single parenting can be ridiculously hard - having done it once through divorce and again through bereavement, I know what it wa like for me.  I know Rich was as involved as he could be - after all, his daughter was taken thousands of miles away.  The AC's dad alternates between good dad and not-interested-dad.  J is an excellent dad for the AC, and the best dad as he can be for a child who is 2.5 hours away.

MBW needs to reach for the smooth handle.  It's difficult, it's not always enjoyable, it's not easy to do, and sometimes you think you have the smooth handle and it turns into the rough one mid carry.  Yesterday I thought I had the smooth handle on not-having-more-children until the AC swiftly turned it into the rough one with "What's it like to be a big sister?"  She needs to think about more than just herself, to think about reality as opposed to the fantasy that she is creating.  Yes, she needs to mourn for the children and relationships she will never have, yes, it hurts her, but it isn't our fault.  She chose.

MBW needs to get over her choices and take responsibility for her choices.  Melksham Mum needs a quiet five minutes.  MBW could do her thing with therapy and with applying herself.  Melksham Mum needs to wait around 16 years.

Me? I need to clean the kitchen and not think about having the best and worst of their two worlds.