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Sisterly love

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Firstly I have neglected my blog all summer as I have spent many evenings sitting outside drinking wine so apologies for that!

Now on to the business of sisterly love…

As I watch the friendship and love between Princess and Scud grow it fills me with such wonder that I am almost at a loss to describe it.  Despite being like chalk and cheese, they already share secret looks and giggle hysterically about things that He and I are not a part of – this is to me what the sisterly bond should be all about but a small part of me fills with regret that this is something I did not share as a child. 

I had a pretty wonderful childhood and didn’t really want for anything.  My parents filled my life to the limit with ponies, friends, parties, adventures and most importantly love but I always yearned for a sibling – I didn’t often tell them this as they were unable to have children of their own and considered themselves extremely lucky that they were able to adopt me – but there was a void there that they simply could not fill.  I was always envious of my close friends who had brothers or sisters of their own – sure there were often fights but it still seemed that there was always a friendship there underneath it all that I would never know.

While I was sometimes lonely growing up, I felt it even more keenly when my father started to get ill with dementia.  My mother has lots of wonderful friends but has never been very good at asking for help, so a lot of the responsibility fell to me and when he finally died, I organised the entire private cremation and memorial service on my own.  How I wished I had a sister I could share it all with. 

When I first met Him I was an only child and he was one of five – imagine how daunting (and noisy) the first family get together with them was!  I used to question him constantly about what it was like growing up – did they share rooms, who did he get on with best, how on earth did his poor mother feed them all, were they his best friends now etc.

About  a year after meeting Him I actually tracked down my birth mother and discovered, much to my delight, that I had two half sisters and half brothers!  Overnight (well not quite overnight but that’s another story and not mine to tell!) I became the eldest of five siblings.  Sadly geography means that we rarely get to see one another but I did recently make a special effort to have lunch with my sisters in London.  We will never get back the first thirty years that we missed but I sincerely hope going forward that they know they can always turn to me if they need to and vice versa.

So no matter what I am busy doing, I always try and stop, treasure and cherish each moment of sisterly love that I am lucky enough to witness every day between Princess and Scud.  Every cuddle, every kiss, every giggle, every happy moment – I am grateful for them all – and intend to store them up in my memory in preparation for the teenage years when the arguments over clothes begin!  I just hope that once those years are over, they will always be there for one another, long after He and I have passed on.

x

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My mum – 70 years young

My mum turned 70 in February, not that you would know it from looking at her.  She looks fantastic and acts like a teenager most of the time. There is so much I could write about her, about how she is one of the most generous, interesting and funny people you could ever hope to meet but how you need to run for the hills if you are ever unfortunate to be on the receiving end of her famous temper! Right now however I just want to share a poem with you that I wrote for her party last weekend to celebrate said milestone birthday and her upcoming nuptials. She loves limericks so that is what I went for, but I didn’t have much time thanks to my new job and 2 children, so I hope Edward Lear isn’t turning too much in his grave at the way it scans (or doesn’t…). Here goes:

There was a fine lady from Hay
Who was 70 years to the day
It has often been said
That from dawn until bed
Diana always has something to say

She was born way before my time
With barely a dollar or dime
After schooling abroad
She came to England to board
Before heading for sunnier climes

Greek Islands were next for young Di
Where she married a much older guy
So much booze could be found
Leonard Cohen came round
To help join in the revelling high

Next came a Greek love affair
But Di’s heart could no longer care
For she’d been on a date
And discovered her fate
Was in Wales with Julian there

After marrying, they tried for a child
Through harsh winters & summers more mild
They waited and waited
But it just wasn’t fated
So adoption papers were filed

They just could not wait to see
Would they given a he or a she
Jules hoped they were tall
With no temper at all
But they were soon delivered me!

Di got some very strange looks
When she decided to trade in books
For she chose to go new
In a town all a slew
With second hand shops run by crooks

Thirty long happy years passed by
Great friendships were formed for Di
Many bottles were empty
After parties aplenty
In the homestead of Pant-y-Cae

Then sadly Jules passed away
And was missed by Di every day
But jumping the gorse
On Dukey the horse
Helped keep the sadness at bay

Imagine her shock when I sought her
To tell her I was expecting a daughter
“A grandmother I am not
Too young and too hot”
She replied with quite some hauteur

But the love of Sophia soon caught her
And so many presents she bought her
We all call her Yaya
But think she is la la
When she calls her ‘my daughter’s daughter’

Not long before Laila was born
Di welcomed in a new dawn
She calls him LC
Stands for ‘Last Chance’ to be
Happy and no longer forlorn

Robin has settled in well
I don’t often mummy yell
He is tall and kind
And I hope he won’t mind
The times mummy is cranky as hell

I am glad that I have got off my chest
And shared with all of our guests
That though she is chatty
And a little bit scatty
I love my mum, she is the best

And now that my poem is done
Which was all just a small bit of fun
Raise your glass to the two
Three cheers where it’s due
To the brilliant Robin and mum

I really hope she and Robin continue to be happy and enjoy retirement, not that they are showing any signs of slowing down of course! They are growing strawberries, still selling books, talking about a huge renovation project, travelling to France and China and riding Duke when time allows. My mum had a sad and lonely childhood and has continued to have a hard life at times. My dad’s dementia was so hard for her and she has had breast cancer twice but I have never heard her complain once so she truly deserves the happiness she now has and long may it continue x

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Reasons to be thankful for our children

So I had one of those ‘please ground open up and swallow me’ moments this week. I arrived late, covered in baby snot, to a training day with my new job. After knocking one lady on the head as I hauled my bag over my shoulder, I let out a huge yawn while saying hello to the lady to my right. She asked why I was tired and I proceeded to ramble (surprise surprise!) about sleepless nights with children that have a propensity to alternatively scream, vomit or suffer night terrors. I then made my biggest error (although admittedly unwittingly) when I said how naïve I was that when I first heard the word ‘mummy’ I thought I would never ever tire of it but that this week I finally had, most notably at 3am. Once I had stopped rambling I did the polite thing and said ‘What about you? Any kids?’ and I knew, instantly, that I had made a grave error. Her response? ‘We really wanted children but sadly it never happened for us’. And just like that I received a stark reminder that too often we take things/people/life for granted. So to assuage my guilt I am going to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard to be precise) and tell you why I should never take my children for granted…

Reasons when I am genuinely grateful for my children

  1. Watching them sleep in their little dream worlds (let’s face it, this is often when we love our children the most!)
  2. When they say they love me, unprompted (Scud can’t say it yet but Princess does)
  3. Their genuine delight when I arrive to collect them after a day at work and the way they run over to throw themselves in my arms – this will never fail to be a highlight of my day
  4. When a little hand creeps into mine for reassurance
  5. The joy they get out of simple things
  6. The fact that, to them, He and I are the funniest people on the planet
  7. That they think I have all the answers (and that all the answers I give are correct!)
  8. Their smiles, giggles and laughs
  9. Their ability to make me see the world through fresh, younger eyes and see the beauty and fun in things that I long ago ceased to notice
  10. Their innocence

And now 10 reasons why I am not usually grateful but shall try and remember to see the positive in from now on…

  1. When Scud wakes up every 2 hours at night and cries out – this serves as a reminder that she is still alive
  2. When they climb the stairs against my wishes – I must remember the extra calories I am burning when I chase them up, then drag them back down
  3. The endless bugs they seem to have – these will build their immunity and make them stronger for when they are older and I am not always around the mop their brows
  4. Pointing out my spots – at least I know it is time to put make up on!
  5. Waiting until they are curled up in my lap before being sick, profusely – this normally reminds me that it is probably about time I took a shower anyway
  6. Wanting a hug when we are running late – I have spent years telling Him that he doesn’t hug me enough so I should probably appreciate those given freely!
  7. The snot that is invariably left on my work clothes when I say goodbye in the morning – it never ceases to make me smile when I notice the mark during the day
  8. When we are in our coats, hats, gloves and ready to go and Princess needs a wee – I normally discover that I need one too
  9. The endless chatter, chatter, chatter when I just want peace – I actually hate being on my own and yearn for company the rare occasions it happens (although a few extra minutes to get chores done wouldn’t go amiss…)
  10. When they quote my rules back at me (for example when I took a bite out of a carrot earlier and asked Princess whether she had had a good day and she said ‘no talking with your mouth full Mummy’) – at least it shows that the ENDLESS nagging has not been completely in vain!

So for all of you who get woken up by the screams/cries/terrors/vomits/chatter of your children tonight, try and take a deep breath, inhale their smells, give them a cuddle and remember that there are lots of lovely people out there that desperately want a child of their own to hug and for them it may never be a reality.  This is what we signed up for, for better or worse…

And with that, Scud has just woken up…

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And yes, that is vomit 😉

Night all x

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An Introduction

I used to really love writing. My mother still has old notebooks full of long stories about Miss Apple and I could fill pages with my random thoughts. It all changed when I was 15 and I had a teacher called Miss Spicer. Small, elderly, meek and very little else that I can remember other than her comment on one of my pieces of homework:

“Emma knows what she wants to say. She is often funny and sometimes insightful. Unfortunately she can find five different ways to say the same thing. By this I mean Emma rambles…”

Just like that she had discovered one of my insecurities, ruthlessly exposed it and killed my writing dream.

Now, well over 15 long years later, a mother of 2 and still rambling, I suddenly find I don’t care (much) anymore what people think if I ramble – I used to go to bed every night and swear that the next day I would be quieter and think about what I was going to say before I said it (and somehow automatically I would therefore become more mysterious and intelligent) – I now realise that it is in my genes to ramble and if I was really serious about cutting it out then I would have to abstain from wine too which, let’s face it, is never going to happen.

You see? A whole introduction and yet nothing at all to really say – Miss Spicer would be turning in her grave (not that I know whether she is dead but she seemed fairly old when I was at school!)

So what about me?

By day I can be found either with my family; Him (husband), Princess (Eldest Daughter), Scud (Youngest Daughter), George (cat) and Lennie (cat); or at work in my new role at the Alzheimer’s Society. More on this when I am able to put into words some of the extraordinary things I have witnessed/learnt (what’s this? Me lost for words? Must be a first…). By night I am almost always to be found lying on our sofa (he likes the floor), browsing on my phone, reading books, drinking wine, eating chocolate and watching tv but only half-heartedly and therefore driving him mad with questions when I miss something important.

My husband has a name but he will be known on here as he, him or it depending on my mood. He doesn’t really want me to write about him and as he has called me ‘dear’ (against my wishes) for the last 10 years I don’t really think he warrants more than that right now ;-). Princess was actually christened with a rather nice name, Sophia, but insists on being known as Cinderella, Snow White or Belle so hereafter I will be following her wishes. Scud is small but leaves a massive trail of destruction in her wake, like a scud missile, hence her rather unfortunate nickname. George and Lennie are our cats and for those Steinbeck fans out there, they are named after the characters from ‘Of Mice and Men’.

Every Sunday night I go to bed and I swear that the following week I will do the following:

1. Eat less
2. Exercise more
3. Not shout at Him so much
4. Be more patient with Princess and Scud
5. Not drink any alcohol until Friday

By Monday night I have normally eaten quite well, exercised and been quite nice to the kids. He has football so I do the bedtime routine by myself. The lack of wine means that by the time the children are finally in bed and he gets home, I normally shout at him. By Tuesday I have shouted at the kids too. By Wednesday I am normally missing my first work out. By Thursday I am drinking gin. By Friday all pretence of a diet has gone out of the window and we get pizza.

I will mostly be rambling about my family, my friends, my life and sometimes the serious (and hopefully not so serious) side of my work. If you care to read or comment then you are obviously bored, lying on the sofa and can’t be bothered to move, fed up of reading status updates about the lack of summer on Facebook, out of lives on Candy Crush etc but it will still be nice to have you on board and hear your thoughts.

That is enough rambling for now.

Night all x