Mother Appeaser bids her disciples adieu…for now!

This blog may receive the record for being the shortest in existence ever but for various reasons, I’ve decided that things have run their very short course and I will be closing it down in the next few days.  May I thank the merry  band of readers who I have gained along the way.  When I blog again (it’s a filthy habit, I know I’ll be back lol!) I’ll find you and you’ll find me, I’m sure.  Life has shown me that the important people in your life are ever present in the most unexpected and wonderful ways.

The past week has been chaotic, catalytic and cathartic.  In that order.  I have had three huge realisations – nay epiphanies – bang bang bang, one after the other.  The net result is that despite my father’s continuing health problems and uncertainty over where I will be living once my flat tenancy expires, I feel a new life is beginning for me right now.  I’ve hit the emotional ‘reset’ button and am finally ready to begin moving forward and living my life again.  I shall now commence with a wonderfully indulgent ramble as to why this is.  If you’re interested feel free to read on.  But if not, mwah mwah, and see you soon…maybe ;o) Times are a-changin.

So back to it.  The cause of these epiphanies?  First up I’ve felt increasingly unfulfilled in my career of late.  I’ve felt trapped because I have a killer flexible working arrangement in a job that pays well but is ultimately not as challenging as it could be.  I’ve got bored and probably a bit disillusioned.  I started writing this blog as a way to try and spice things up and re-engage with the topic of knowledge management but I’ve realised that’s not enough and hasn’t had the desired effect as I largely rarely write about KM!

Whether it is coincidence or whether it is me making my own luck I do not know, but after sharing my discontent with my boss and discussing future hopes,  I have within the space of three little but HUGE days been given some tremendous opportunities to develop myself and work on projects that I never dreamed possible. 

I also have found myself an incredible and wonderful mentor.  In our initial conversations she has energised me, inspired me, shown an amazing confidence in me that has startled me and so is rebuilding and increasing my confidence hugely.   

I of course am now having a huge ‘oh shit’ moment but that’s good.  It shows you are stretching yourself and challenging yourself.  So I want the time back I was spending on this blog to spend part of which on my personal development.  And on really relaxing more away from the laptop screen in the evenings.

Second up the civility and politeness with ex husband is now paying dividends.  We’ve hit a sweet spot I didn’t think was possible.  Negotiations over holidays and changes to contact dates have gone swimmingly by email.  Collection and drop offs have become a breeze.  I would like to take a moment to thank myself for giving myself permission to be friendly with him.  It doesn’t mean I’m compromising my values or inner feelings towards him.  It just means that we’re building a positive ‘working relationship’ for our daughter.

I smiled earlier.  A friend was asking whether the finalising of the divorce, which is imminent in 2 months, will lift a weight from my mind.  He is convinced it will have a big impact.  I disagree.  I can’t deny there will certainly be a sense of relief but it won’t be a ground shaking me running around the flat in victory laps with my t-shirt over my head kind of relief! 

I’ve hit a positive equilibrium with my ex husband.  I suddenly realised when chatting to superwoman (aka my mum) this morning that my ex husband, the divorce, his partner – that they’ve not entered my head once over the past few weeks.  Why?  They have no reason to!  Yes it was stressful earlier in the year with the threats and counter threats of court action.  But that’s passed and the divorce is now just bits of paper flitting backwards and forwards between solicitors who are making pernickety edits to wording in a vain effort to screw us both for a last few quid before it all ends. 

Now it’s just paperwork and process.  There’s nothing more to agree or disagree over.  Pieces of paper will be filed and then another piece of paper will arrive which says Decree Absolute.  What changes though?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  For me the divorce was finalised and ‘over’ when I decided to stop behaving like a prat, rise above the childish behaviour of my ex husband and adopt a calm approach to dealing with him. 

At the end of the day the only thing that piece of paper will do is (a) empty my bank account when I pay my solicitors bill and (b) refill my bank account with equity so I can buy a house for me and my beautiful little munchkin.  So writing about ex husband, the divorce, his new partner and all things related on this blog is no longer needed.  That stuff?  It’s very last year, dahling. 

Third up I’ve accepted that I am single again.  I’ve spent a few weeks in denial, wondering how I would cope.  I was left reeling when my relationship with ex boyfriend fell apart.  I never thought I’d meet someone I connected with so hugely.  Once I realised this I let the brakes off in a way I didn’t think possible following the pain of my marriage break up.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think the man I fell so deep and hard in love with, would leave my life.  I really thought that was it. A new and unexpected beginning.  We were making dreams and schemes and I felt sure that we could become a happily family, me, he and munchkin. 

Yet as ever life throws vicious little curve balls that clonk you on the forehead just when you’re not expecting it.  I’ve stumbled around the past few weeks in a daze.  I’ve felt so incredibly alone, with the London life buzzing around me.  I’ve wanted to just wail ‘why me?  Just for once, dammit, could it not have worked out? Don’t I deserve to be happy?’  Perhaps I should have done just that.  I’d have got a seat on the tube for once, at least!  (Sidebar: perhaps we should all embrace our ‘inner nutter’ more?)

With my dad’s illness what I’ve really, really needed is hugs, cuddles, kisses, a warm body to curl up with, fall asleep with, wake up with.  I’ve needed to feel loved, to be loved, to feel affection, to be wrapped up in someones arms and be told ‘it’s all going to be alright’.  I’ve needed that more in the past few weeks since dad has got ill than I have since my marriage broke up.  Instead I’ve come home every night to a cold, empty flat with a diary cleared of arrangements. 

Now the shock that dad’s life may never be the same again if his illness/condition stabilises but cannot be cured (and right now we still don’t know), the practical and rational me is taking over again.  I’ve cancelled my holiday so I can go on their holiday with my parents so they don’t have to cancel theirs as it requires driving and he can no longer drive.  I’m sorting out cabs when they need them and getting a routine in place to ensure they can get to the supermarket and still give the care that is required for my frail grandmother. 

The upshot of being left to sweep up the embers of the divorce proceedings, radically shifting things with my career (which I decided on and discussed with no one – a world first for little miss nervous old me!) and also dealing with dad’s illness, has reminded me I’m a tough little fighter who can cope and does cope on her own.

However it’s also taught me that I need to trust that whoever is in my life won’t run when the going gets tough because I don’t run away from the tough stuff.  I fundamentally believe if two people are meant to be together then they bond together through adversity, facing it together, using it as an opportunity to unite, supporting one another fully.  You don’t run when there’s a problem if you really want to be with someone.  You give.  You receive.  You work at it.  You share the load.  Ex boyfriend and I, for whatever reason, couldn’t.  We unravelled and are now face our challenges apart and alone.  

As I say I accept this now.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt.  Doesn’t mean it isn’t going to hurt for a long, long time.  But I’m slowly now getting my breath back, emotionally, as it were.  Inspite of this my little heart has now run for cover and got back in it’s cosy box where it will hide until it’s safe to come out again.  For now there’s just two beady eyes peering out from the corner where the box of the lid hasn’t been put back on quite properly.  That’s ok.  Little heart can peek away whilst it has some R&R.  When it’s ready I know it will nudge the top of the box off and have a proper look around at what’s doing. 

The warm winds of spring and of change are now blowing.  I know from experience that just when I’m not expecting it, something – or someone – good will come my way.  It always does.  Like a rather famous golfer once said, ‘”the more I practice, the luckier I get”.  We make our own fate, after all! 

Love to you all,
x

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Raisin’ raisins

They are cheeky little juicy bits of heaven in my book but then I’m dried fruit fiend.  The question today is why does my daughter participate in such rigorous quality control over said raisins?  Does anyone else have this problem?

Is it not enough that they are the finest organic specimens, boxed neatly and colourfully for her delectation?  Does she know something we don’t?  Is there a conspiraisincy?  Or perhaps this is a future wine tasting genius in the making and she’s getting her laughing gear around the closest thing that’s legal for her age?  If so I hope she has more success than her mother.  I taste a ladda wine but I’m no closer to being a genius.  I shall keep plugging (or rather uncorking) away.

Anway I digress.  Back to the question.  Why are half the raisings eaten and half spat out from any given box she is presented with?  I have assessed the specimens on the basis of colour, size, freshness and wrinkliness and can find no answer!  Thoughts on a piece of dried fruit please to this address.

What every parent needs in their toolbox

Emergency Chocolate

This is now in a safe place behind glass in my kitchen.

Nuff said.

Why children and pampering don’t mix

We all need our treats don’t we?  You know, the ones we like to savour and enjoy at a slowly and leisurely pace?  My treat is my hair cut.  I don’t get it done very often now because it’s so expensive.  It seems vain when I could be spending the money on my daughter or squirreling it away to put towards buying us a little home at some point.

However after 6 months of neglect, I was resembling Cousin It and my hair was splitting to worrying levels.  I had a vision in my mind which went something like this: invite mum’s visiting hair dresser over, position bubba with toys in front of me, she can watch mummy and play, I can drink tea and gossip with said hair dresser whilst she cuts and colours away (all for the bargain price of £25 bless her) and I can enjoy my treat in the comfort of my own home without worrying about a babysitter.

Oh how wrong can you be!!  Within minutes of my hairdresser arriving, munchkin had tipped over her bag and started stealing combs, clips and brushes.  So we put the bag on the table.  I get out her toys.  She plays and my hairdresser starts snipping.  But oh no, the toys are no longer of interest.  Now she wants to pull the grill tray out, push the ignition on the cooker and turn the gas dial around like she’s watched mummy do.  And now she wants to hang off the bar on mummy’s running machine like a naughty monkey.  If I had a pound for the number of times my hairdressed had to stop whilst I removed little miss from getting up to no good I’d be a rich woman.

The piece de la resistance was when the colour went on my hair.  It was supposed to stay in for 20 minutes.  My hair dresser had to leave to collect her kids from school.  Fine, I thought.  I paid and off she went.  Until a certain little person simultaneously did a poo and fell over and bumped her head.  Cue 10 minutes of crying and cuddles and then nappy changing from a mummy who now has a burning patch on her face where some dye desperately needs washing off and a wonky carrier bag on her head as it was the only thing she could find to protect little one from getting any dye on her. 

This all provided 10 minutes extra time for the dye to work its evil magic on my hair.  Iced chocolate the box said (i.e. mid brown).  It’s now veeeeeeery dark brown with almost a plum tinge.  It’ll wash out in due course.  Just like the spilt dye on the carpet when little miss decided to body slam my hairdressers’s legs at one point.

So next time, oh yes next time, will be at mum’s house.  With fingers malone being babysat in the lounge so I can try and enjoy my treat properly.  Bless her.  It is all said with a wry smile.  I wouldn’t change my inquisitive little poppet for the world. 

As for me, well my dull corporate office mousey brown haired girl image is now slightly, well, rock chick! I haven’t looked liks this in YEARS! Now, where’s my ACDC t-shirt and my skinny jeans (that Norovirus related weight loss couldn’t have been more well timed ha ha).

Coping without dad

As a single mother, when it comes to tasks like collecting furniture or fixing stuff, dad’s the man.  However his strange symptoms of late now preclude him from helping me in this way.  This vibrant, once physically capable man is now  unable to get out of a chair without almost falling over.  He’s unable to walk in a straight line.  He’s unable to drive because it summons all the strength he has to tell his brain to go straight when it wants him to veer off to one side.

The strain of not knowing what’s wrong is showing.  He’s so quiet when once he was the joker.  I can see the worry etched on his face.  I can hear it in his voice.  And there’s now the tears from mum when he’s out of the room.  Tears I save for when neither are around.  Like now.  His appointment with the consultant is on Thursday.  It can’t come soon enough.

For me it’s a double whammy.  I’ve realised I’ve taken so much for granted with him, thinking that he’ll always be there to help.  It’s a timely reminder that I need to think about friends locally who might be able to help more with this sort of thing.  As dad is retired and on hand always to help, up until now I’ve been able to make arrangements last minute (like collecting the wardrobe I won on ebay tomorrow night as a whim, or collecting my daughter from nursery when I’m stuck on a delayed train).  I need to get into the mind set of planning a bit more ahead and accepting a new reliance on others. 

It’s also the realisation that if this isn’t just a simple ear infection but something more serious, this is potentially the start of a rough ride for us all.  It’s hard not to think worst case scenario given his youngest brother died suddenly of a brain tumour and his other brother is now so ill with Parkinson’s disease he has to crawl on the floor to get to the front door to answer it if his wife is out. 

It reminds me just how awful and debilitating those stresses in our life are that we have no control over.  I understand all the psychology (it’s not events that stress us but our reaction to them, we can control how we react to situations etc).  But I defy anyone not to have a similar reaction when a close relative, particularly a parent, sibling or partner, falls suddenly and quite badly ill. 

I’m a daddy’s girl.  Always have been, always will.  That man is my rock.  My objective voice of reason.  My wise counsel.  He’s rarely wrong about ‘life stuff’.  We only ever argue when he’s stating a truth that I don’t want or am not ready to hear.  His experience, his pragmatism, his damn knowing, is my oxygen when I’m under strain. 

I love him so much and have much to thank him for in my life.  He’s the one whose eyes I want to connect with when certain pieces of music are playing.  There’s a knowing that only he would understand because it was he who gave the gift of the love of Oscar Peterson and other jazz artists to me.  There’s films I don’t find funny but will watch with dad because watching him laugh so much is such fun. 

I’m still amazed that he can laugh at The Blues Brothers like it’s the first time he’s watched it given I’ve lost count the numbers of times it’s been viewed by us.  And I forgive him now for every time he’s mortified me on the dance floor at the annual black tie do we go to by suddenly stopping his dancing arm in arm with me and breaking into a demented tap dance just to get laugh.

I’m not religious.  I don’t believe in God and I’m deeply sceptical of organised religions.  I suppose I’m an atheist buddhist (of the Stephen Batchlor variety – his book Buddhism Without Beliefs I cannot recommend highly enough).  But you know, right now I’m praying to whoever will listen that they’ll fix my wonderful dad.  Please let him have many more healthy years to enjoy with us. 

This is completely contrary to the buddhist views that I try and live my life by.  Such as understanding that nothing is permanent.  Such as accepting suffering and letting go of craving.  However I know enlightenment is a journey not a destination.  I also know it’s bloody hard path to take.  Yet certainly an easier path than the alternative spiral of never ending suffering that may reign.

Parenting: I literally love my books

Munchkin and I have a bedtime routine where she picks the books, brings them over and snuggles on my lap with her milk and Pooh Bear, and we read.  Or rather I read, point things out, ask what this or that is and if she’s feeling brave she’ll volunteer the odd word.

For some considerable time now Munchkin has had no greater love than for Pooh Bear.  Pooh is her no. 1 love.  She adores him,  I don’t know when or how this started but one day she just decided that bear was going to get more love and kisses than any other cuddly and boy she doesn’t hold back.  So naturally one of her Pooh books usually features in our nighttime routine. 

Tonight she trumped all pre-existing levels of cuteness and affection towards her object of desire.  We got to the last page of the story, showing a picture of Pooh sat in bed (honey in a pot by his bed, naturally),  Munchkin leant forward, kissed the page and rested her head on it and said “aaaaaah”.  It’s enough that she’s now making connections with what she’s seeing in real life and what she’s seeing on the page.  To see her displaying such love is just beautiful.

Next, she slid off my lap, got another book and hoiked herself onto the arm chair in front of me.  She sat Pooh next to her, opened the book, showed it to him and babbled something incomprehensible.  To me, at least.  It was probably actually quantum physics.  Then she stopped, patted Pooh’s arm, and carried on turning the pages,  showing each to him.

Now I know kids go through the stage of copying what they see adults doing but this just melted my heart completely.  It spoke volumes to me (pardon the unintended book pun).  It suggested more than just copying, but that she understood and enjoyed our routine enough to want to repeat it in her own way with her beloved Pooh.  And in the process she made me a very proud mum indeed.

10 free things I like

I love Super Single Mum’s post 10 free things I like.  It’s amazing how money, greed, materialism can tie us up in knots and make us lose sight of what’s really important.  I’ve got to disagree with her on the dawn chorus though.  I’m a light sleeper and the tweeting sods, coupled with the brightness so early, is making me wake up at 6am every morning.  To say I’m counting down until the clocks go back on Sunday is an under statement!

So what are the top 10 free things that you like or love?  This is a great meme so here’s mine:

  • The expression of delight on my daughter’s face when she sees me at collection time at nursery.  Followed by the way she runs across the room shouting ‘mummy, mummy’ and flings her arms around my neck.  She isn’t talking properly yet but she doesn’t need to because I’m bathed in her love every time she does that.
  • Reading a book with my daughter before she goes to bed.  I sit in the arm chair and she goes to her bookcase and chooses a book, brings it over, I take it and lift her up on my lap and we have a nice snuggle with Pooh Bear, her milk and read together.  It always makes me giggle the way she’s so insistent on climbing down to go and get more.
  • OK, another the same as Super Single Mum here but you can’t be spending time with friends and family. 
  • Watching and listening to the sea.  No matter what country I’m in.  It’s so relaxing.  One of my favourite memories of this is being in Zanzibar on the final happy holiday that my ex husband and I had.  Despite the contempt I have for him now, nothing will take away my memories of that holiday.  There was a reef about a half a mile out and there was a constant roaring sound of the water breaking against it.  I stayed in a straw beach hut and at night, all you could hear was the wind blowing through the palm trees and this almighty roar of the water, intensified by the quiet of everything else and the darkness.  It was an odd and eerie feeling to hear the power of the water but know you were competely safe from it’s harm.
  • Meditation.  I’m rather rubbish at it and I don’t have the discipline to remember to do it despite setting myself a target to do 20 minutes every night before bed.  But when I remember and do it, it’s bliss.  I can’t recommend Mindfulness in Plain English highly enough.
  • Feeling the sun on my skin.  I love the summer.  I love feeling warm and not having to wear shoes.  I count down to the day it’s warm enough to wear flip flops.  
  • Eating outdoors, especially breakfast, which feels decadent for some reason!
  • Music.  It’s mood altering powers scare me every time.
  • Being in bed when it’s raining or stormy.  It reinforces the cosiness of being indoors.  It takes me back to being a little girl and being on holiday with my parents in our caravan.
  • Cuddles.  Needs no explanation!

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