Gone Tomorrow

Gone Tomorrow

When my Mum got her first wig, it was a pretty shameful experience for me. In the 90’s,wigs were hugely expensive (if you wanted anything half realistic) and so you had to go to a specialist. Then, the only place that was suitable was a section upstairs in Debenhams and if you wanted one, the hospital would give you a voucher to cover the majority of the cost. My Mum and I had had a cursory look at them before, whilst out shopping but, I never really took it seriously. I completely denied that she would ever need one because… well, she would never become that poorly. She would have her hair.

When the time had finally come around that she would get one, she had quite obviously planned the style she wanted; kind of dirty Princess Diana meets Joan Collins. I really could not have been less supportive about the whole thing! Fifteen years old and facing up to seeing my one and only beautiful Mum look like an alien. There was a series on at the time where the main characters were bald aliens (I can’t remember the name) and we would joke, as we always did in tough situations,that this was our future. Anyway, the lady that styled the wigs had told Mum that she should start to wear it before her hair fell out, so she could get a feel of it and feel altogether less self conscious. This particular day she had planned to collect it and wear it to showcase how it would look to me and my brother. When I saw her outside M&S, waiting to meet us, wearing her wig, I was horrified. Totally horrified. Not because she didn’t look great, not because she looked like a dirty Princess Diana, Joan Collins lookalike but, because I had to face up to it. Right there and then, it hit me like a brick; right outside the food store of M&S!! I am not proud of how I reacted. I was horrible. I probably made her feel absolutely crap but, at fifteen, I only cared how I felt. I tutted, rolled my eyes and said ‘What are you wearing that for?’ What a cow!! Ironically, that wig, in the last months, weeks and hours of my Mums life, gave her back to us. For just a little bit.

I don’t remember a time when my Auntie Kay didn’t wear a wig. It was just a given to me that she did but, when Mum’s turn came around for hers, my Auntie Kay wasn’t here any more to help her through it. She wasn’t actually my Auntie, she was my Godmother and a massively important part of my life growing up, in many different ways. Auntie Kay was the first real loss I suffered. It was the first time that Cancer came into our lives and started to take people away. A peaceful and happy time before she left us, the time before the Big C really started to drop into our lives.

Now! even though Auntie Kay died when I was just 11, I was not so young that I never appreciated just what she was. She was a warrior! One of the most elegant women that I have ever known and ever will do. Who,like my Mum, even whilst spending her last few years of her life, being slowly eaten away, she continued to stick two fingers up to the disease and took my Mum along with her for the ride. Her support, her rock and her saviour. The Thelma and Louise of the Radiation department! Two best friends growing together and sharing so intimately, the part of their lives which would ultimately tear them apart. However, wonderfully bringing them together also. Everything in life can have a positive side, or a side that will teach us that we will not be beaten. Even Cancer.

I know! What an attractive child I was! With Kay at my Christening.

 

Friday was our day! Every Friday my Mum would collect me from school and we would take the drive to Kay’s. It was only really a ten minute drive but, like the trips to horse riding, it was our time together. We would talk about my day at school or what cake we could expect to find on our visit to Kay’s. If it was nice weather, I would hang my arm out the window and let my hands drag along the hedges by the car. Her house was in a lane and hidden behind hedges was the large driveway and secret gardens that were hidden by trees. They were secret to me because if I were in them, leaving Mum and Kay chatting, I would sit on the swing and imagine I was the fairy Princess in her woods. Usually the cat would be with me. I loved that cat. He was the reason I always dreamed of having a cat; a crazy cross eyed ginger moggy that would follow me everywhere I went in her garden. Naturally, he knew a fairy princess when he saw one!

There was never an assumption or talk that Auntie Kay would have a partner to share her life with whilst I knew her. It was always just her and that was accepted. She had loved and lost and that love was so strong that she always remained true to the memory of it. Plus, she had her daughter (who remains today, an important person to me to help remember) I am sure she may have had ‘dalliances’ but, as a small child, it was not information I was privy to. I know she had admirers but, there was certainly no one serious. Just amazing teapots. She always had such lovely teapots! When she had her final house built, it really was ahead of its time. She designed it and had it built because, well, that was just the type of thing she did. It was her. Elegant, fun and really really modern. I loved going there; especially before the kitchen was completely finished because we could walk in on planks of wood and it was so fun. We still had the same lovely tea pots though.

A special gift that can be left behind to remember someone is a certain smell. Instantly, something simple as a particular smell can take you right back to a place or person that you treasured. If I wanted to be with my Auntie Kay, I would spray the perfume Anais Anais. With my Mum, it was Opium, which is really a shame because Opium smells like a camels back passage. Which is really why I have never quite brought myself to actually wear it but, I’d love to own a bottle and sniff it when I needed to. I wonder what smell would remind my loved ones of me?

My Brother and I when things were ‘normal’.

 

When the time had come that Kay was beaten, I remember feeling suddenly detached from her. I had wanted to see her in hospital but, Mum told me that I was categorically too young to see her when she was so poorly. She said she was very sleepy and on a lot of medication but, I suspect that, as happened with Mum when it spread to her brain, she was in a condition that left little of her remaining. I made her a card with a sun on it and I couldn’t wait to see her when she came out. That never happened. I never got to say goodbye to her, to see if I were special to her like she was to me. A lesson I wish I had learned when it came to watching my Mum die but, at eleven, I had not appreciated this gift I had been given and I wasted that time. A mistake I never made again.

 

I never talked to my Mum about it in great detail but, I so wish I had been of the age to confidently ask my Mum how it affected her and her own fight. I was too worried about broaching the subject and actually hearing the truth so I just kept quiet. Mum and I still took those drives together to see Kay but, it was to her grave. We still chatted and we knew that she was there with us in spirit but, there wasn’t much place for cake. Gradually, Mum became too ill to go anywhere. She had been there at Kay’s end, she had watched her best friend leave her behind to deal with the same, just without her strength and humour. It must have been terribly lonely for Mum. Having an 11 year old now, I don’t really have any friends that I hold such a strong relationship with and I realise how lucky they were to have each other. I wish that Mum had Kay for the next and last four years of her life so that they really could have gone over that cliff together, holding hands until the end. You can bet your life that they are enjoying that road trip together now though!

Purpose

Purpose

This week I am really feeling like I’m just a Mum! I’m bored! So bored with being the everything to four little people to the point where there’s nothing left for me. I currently feel like one of those batteries with a strip down the side that shows the energy remaining . Mine is very much empty. I know every Mum goes through it and I am grateful I am not raising my girls on my own but, I am totally and completely depleted.

There have been times since having my little girl that I find myself in this ‘funk’. Do I think I have Depression or mental health issues since having her? No! I’m just being honest with how I feel. Fourth time around and you can freely say that it is ok that you don’t feel ok all the time. It is tiring. It is lonely. It is completely and utterly boring sometimes. There are times when I find myself singing the theme tune to Paw Patrol, even I have a spare 5 minutes to myself. It really is ok if you don’t feel like Mary Friggin Poppins all of the time. It is completely normal. It is hard to fight against it when there are times when you don’t even leave the house. This is where I am at today!

Its amazing how your heart can give just as much love without diluting.

 

When I was pregnant with my third daughter, I had the most incredible midwife. I felt like she was 100% there for me and only me whenever I was with her. She was quirky and she was a little bit bonkers. She was very much like Marmite, that was obvious but, that is exactly what I loved about her. If she liked you, you knew it and you felt akin with her. She would go on herbal retreats and stay on the side of a mountain for days, just for fun! I just loved her. I could have imagined that, should my labour had been a straight forward one, she would have advised me to have a bit of fruit tea and wave lavender around and all would be fine!Naturally, I would have ignored her and gone straight for the epidural anyway. Just as I had my daughter, she retired, which was fine with me as I wasn’t going to have any more children anyway…how wrong I was !!! Anyway, a couple of months ago when I was feeling particularly low and fed up, I spied her out of the corner of my eye leaving the supermarket as I was queued up (Yep, in Waitrose again!!-Other supermarkets are available). I more or less chased her to her car, as much as my saggy bits would allow that is! There was a brief moment when she caught sight of me and I was unsure if she was actually going to recognise me, thus crushing all my admiration and realising I was just one in a line of many. Thankfully, unlike a large number of exes, the flash of recognition came over her and she gave me the biggest hug ever. It really was a pivotal moment for my mental health. It was kismet that I had seen her, especially as she had moved away over a year ago. I instantly knew I could do this, just as I had the three times before.

I am fully aware that some may think that on my last post, I was talking about needing counselling following a miscarriage and now I am saying how hard it is to be a parent and how it can make you feel down. It just goes to show that one most definitely does not cancel out the other. I have friends who can’t have children but desperately want them and I have friends who have had one child but unable to have another. Some were given the gift of children after years of trying but, it was not all they dreamed of when they finally got it. Some don’t want children at all. It is not our right that because of our particular circumstances, we are unable to be unhappy with our own situation at times. It really is relative and we are all so different that I fully believe we should simply support those we love, respect and are friends with, in whatever ways they suffer.

One of the biggest regrets in regards to my children is that they will grow up never knowing my parents and my parents will never know them. When things are tough, I would give anything to have a parent to turn to, to make it all better. My Dad was the absolute best for this. I could tell him I was due to be sentenced for international espionage and faced either a life stretch or a stoning and he would still make me feel that everything would work out ok in the end. This is exactly what I try to do for my girls, so that they don’t worry about things. I am not sure it works with my 8 year old though as she hangs onto things, keeps them dormant until the truth pours out; like the time she was beside herself with worry that the head teacher would pull her out of assembly for putting Playdoh in her pants. It wasn’t even the action that was ridiculous, it was the fact it happened in Year 1 and she was now in Year 3!!! Yet ironically, her maximum capacity for holding onto negative situations is currently around 7.2 seconds. By the time she had slammed a door after an argument, she had forgotten why she slammed it.

Never take a parent for granted. Love you Dad xxx

 

Recently, it was apparent that neither of my older girls knew exactly why one set of their Grandparents were no longer here, the younger assuming that they had ‘just died’ which seems incredibly unfortunate! I felt like I had done my parents a huge disservice by not sharing this information but, when I thought more of it, I actually felt really positive about that. Their death really had no bearing on their lives and it was clear that the stories I had shared over breakfast, were the things I wanted my girls to know about them and not how they left me. When I struggle or feel down, it’s compacted by the fact that I can’t do what so many people can; go and see their parents or parent for a cup of tea or for dinner. I am always so jealous of anyone that can do that and find it incomprehensible that those people that can then don’t! I can’t visit my Dad to make it all better or borrow £10 because I’m worried about money again or needing something before the next pay day. He never wanted me to worry, even when he was dying and that is why he remained the most amazingly humorous and positive man. He dealt with that and I’m moaning about being bored! I just always want something to look forward to even if it’s a drink in a beer garden or a visit to good friends.

If you can, please go and visit your parents today, even just for a cuppa. Take them for dinner at ‘Spoons’ (I’m easily pleased) Maybe forget about the £10 bit!! Go for £20! 😉 Remember just how amazingly lucky you are and never ever forget it! Never!

Its good to talk

Its good to talk

It is absolutely not a mirage! It is me! As I was writing that, I was completely thinking; ‘It is I! L’eclair!’. Sadly, that would neither be funny nor make any sense to any other than a certain generation. Anyway, I can only apologise for my huge lack in supplying any literary stimulation for quite some time now. I am mostly on maternity leave, in my pants, eating cake but, in the reality, since I last wrote, I have made two babies (well, half made them) One I kept and one I could not. As I have come to expect from life’s little kicks in the fanny, my bodies ineptitude to do as I ask has been yet again a source of immense frustration. Subsequently, even the most hardy person’s physical and mental health could do little but, be affected.

For those that first started reading my ramblings from the beginning, about 2000 years ago, you will remember why I started to write things down. I had been seeing a counsellor who suggested that I write a letter to my Mum. The letter was to act as a cathartic experience to tackle any anger I had towards her for her dying . A letter just seemed like a little too meagre an offering and that is exactly where and why my blog began. I really had wanted to write a book tackling child bereavement and dealing with grief but, I decided to have 24 babies instead. Ok! Four! Four that stayed anyway and so I have to jot down what I can, when I can. I never really have time but, I borrow it, like the fairy Godmother. Noone turns into a pumpkin, I just have a little more poo to clean up!! Anyway, the original admittance that I should see a counsellor was an epiphany for me. Just making the appointment made me feel stronger and more empowered. I never felt like a failure or that I was going mad, I just knew I had dealt with too many things and some of them still hung around me like a cloud. Ironically, it was not until I visited a different counsellor more recently that I really made changes. This time I really found the right one! I will not use her name so I am going to call her my angel.

At the start of last year, our life became unexpectedly more complicated with the knowledge that we were going to become a family of six. Quite out of the blue and unprepared, we found ourselves having to make an enormous decision; far larger than whether I would have to give up Pinot Grigio or not! Finding out that you are having a baby when you were convinced your life is complete is a hard journey to consider. Three children and you can make do with one car, the same house, less stretch marks but, four is a huge and megasauraus change to your already hectic existence. It is natural that when a women loses a baby, she questions every little thing; what she ate, what she drank, if she sat on an overly bumpy bus but, there are rarely any definitive answers. So, not surprisingly, I was fully convinced that the reason I lost that baby was the initial  ‘contemplation’ of even bringing it into our lives. There life goes; ‘well, you had to think about it anyway!!’ There is, in my experience,one thing a woman wants when she loses a baby and that is another baby. Regardless of whether our little one was planned, the minute you know that baby is there, you have changed the course of your entire future. And you want that back. I was not sure that my heart could cope with losing another baby but, could it ever cope with never even trying ?

I am very trying!!

This time was different. It was not just a weight of feelings that were burdening me that perhaps I should offload, it was a weight of darkness on me that was pushing me down to half the size (unfortunately not horizontally). Just because you already have one, two or three children, it has no bearing on the grief and emptiness you feel when losing one. If someone loses their Mum, would you tell them it’s ok because they still have a Dad?  No one ever has the right to try and make you justify a loss and no one can tell you that something was not meant to be either. I liken the feeling of early pregnancy to a crane toy you find in arcades. You pick up the toy and whilst you watch it travel through the air, you squeeze your hands and tighten your tummy, willing it to keep hold until you reach the trap door. Really, really willing it. That was how I felt for weeks, probably because I already had some sense of what was to come. Get to 12 weeks and you will be fine. That is, unless you get to 12 weeks and you aren’t fine! I knew my baby had gone the second I had the first cramp. Why did we take even a minute to consider whether we would go through with it because, in that moment and just like that, it was gone! That is when the complete darkness set in. A darkness that I felt I could never ever come out of.

Don’t get me wrong, my first counseller was lovely. She was kind and she was calm and she wore home made earrings that I always focused on. I felt positive after seeing her. I did not feel that my time with her was useless. It is only in hindsight I realise that she was just not right for me. When I finished my sessions, we just kind of ran out of runway. I had said all I needed to say and rather than feeling better, I just felt like I had exhausted all my depressing life stories. Plus, she made me do role play and no one enjoys role play!! Unless it’s in an ‘Officer and a Gentleman’ type way of course.

I found my ‘angel’ in the same manner as before, by going to my GP and being referred. My doctor is pretty fastidious with me after the whole complaint issue I had after my Molar pregnancy (for those that may remember and on a previous post) and I am pretty sure he was beginning to regard me as less of a bitch by this point. She, being ‘my angel’, actually first called me when I was at the till in Waitrose. I remember it so well as the lady serving had tutted at me so loudly, if she had worn false teeth, they would have shot straight out. It was well founded. Bloody rude when people do that! Naturally, I was worried about my bank balance and how my first session would fit in with my poor three weeks of the month (probably because I was shopping in Waitrose)! I really needed it though. As much as I joke about being out shopping, it had taken all of my energy to even leave the house during that time so I rarely ever did it, or wash my hair. In short, I was a mess.

Wood for the trees.

Confidentially, I can tell you everything we said, who she was and where we were but, she is unable to. I do not disagree with these rules but, it’s because of that and the respect I have for her that I will not divulge it either. I do hope she reads this though and I will do my utmost to ensure she does. In the weeks that I saw her, which stretched into months and subsequently into the beginning of the next pregnancy, I became a different person. That sounds dramatic but, I totally and utterly believe that is true. Anyway, I have digressed slightly: in that time, one woman made me feel like I was actually a little bit alright. She made me feel like I was interesting, like I was fiery and confident and of course, hilariously amusing. She had a way of empathising with all my idiosyncrasies and rather than feeling irrational, I was able to filter out the part that made sense, and forget the ridiculous (of which there were many bits). More important than anything, she gave me the ability to step back and see myself from the outside, how others may and it gave me the gift of rationality. I had to learn that if I wanted to live a life that had not been wasted in sorrow that I must realise what I was and not focus on what I had lost. It’s ok though, I will always be a bit wibbly around the edges and I fully accept that. I will use that as one of my positives. Everyone likes jelly! I will never ever get over some of the things I have been through but, I refuse to let them defeat me.

Social media was important for me during this time. It is impossible to have a completely even balance of how much you share and how real you portray your life. I know that some people would think that I share too much. I would not say that I share a lot of dirty laundry but, I am honest and if I only ever wrote the good things then no doubt, I would be acused of not portraying the real me also. At that time it was actually beneficial to share so much of my pain for all to see as, not only did it help me to release some of the hurt, it resulted in hearing from so many women, some that I knew well and others that I did not know so much.We all had the same thing in common though and one woman in particular went through almost exactly the same journey with me, even to the point that she also now has a baby of almost the same age. I will always be grateful for her reaching out to me too and I feel like we will always have a special bond. So Yes! This has been such a busy time for me: Making two humans, building strong friendships, meeting an incredible lady and gaining a confidence I never believed I could have.

New life does not replace old, it just changes the view.

So.. If you are lucky enough and I have finished my latest packet of bourbons, got bored of sitting in my pants and finished every single Real Housewives episode, you may get a new post much sooner than this one took to arrive. Depends how big the packet is!

 

The Dark

The Dark

The Dark

Until I was around 12, I slept with the light on! Not just a little soothing nightlight: the actual 3000 watt (or whatever it was then) light bulb than hung from my bedroom ceiling. No one cared about energy saving in the 80’s! Quite salubriously, I had the matching brown flower pattern lamp shade and wall paper that adorned half of my bedroom wall and bed cover. I think that brown was much more fashionable then. Not a pretty brown. Dirty protest brown! Usually matched with yellow. Of course, I did have a Glow Worm but, boy those things were tough to keep going…who can squeeze for that long?!

If my Dad would come in and turn my light out, I would instantly wake up. The dark did terribly frightening things to me. If I laid in the dark for too long, my eyes would make everything bright green and swirly, like some kind of kaleidoscope and the feeling of total unreality would be too much to bear. If I got past the swirls, I would feel like I was falling. Falling into a big black abyss. In hindsight, this was probably the warning of my anxiety issues that were to follow. Nothing to do with grief at this point; both my parents slept in the room next door. When she was not working, my Mum was busy having treatment or breaking her tooth on a Kitkat (never going to forget that one), so I was just like any other pre hormonal pre teen!!

The dark

There is always light!

It was for this reason that I did not particularly like staying away. Thankfully, I very rarely stayed at either of my Nannies; one lived next door and the other lived in Wiltshire, so with the amount my Mum and Dad worked, it was unlikely they would take the time out to travel (and we only had one car). Little Nanny lived next door. I separated them both by calling one little and one big. My Mum’s Mum was not big in the slightest but, in comparison to the other, she seemed it! Little Nanny’s house was always a bit spooky . She had a ‘healing room’ next to the toilet which was always closed (not that you would want to go in there anyway). There was a spooky picture of a grey bearded man on the wall that watched you if you peeked in. Not to mention Jesus! There was a giant tapestry of The Last Supper at the top of the stars and between Jesus and Beardy weirdy, you only went to the toilet if you absolutely had to. If by chance you did make the bearded gauntlet safely, your bits nearly froze in there anyway. Plus, the huge pile of Mills and Boon books gave you a very unrealistic impression of manhood. Not to mention the idea of your Nan reading them whilst sat on the throne!!!!

Big Nanny had a carpet in her bathroom. She also had a teas made and one of those silky fluffy blankets over the bed instead of a duvet (what kind of madness is this!). She also had one of those clocks that came out of a little case and then went back in it. To travel apparently. If I ever did stay there though, my Mum stayed with me and we slept in the same bed: probably for warmth due to the lack of duvet! Funny how you associate things with people. With Big Nanny it was peas with a roast; Birds Trifle and that cream in a tin that you have to shake for 53 years until it resembled anything dollopy. Little Nanny was Mills and Boon and Jesus.

The Dark

I am going to hell!

From when I was just old enough to understand; even though I am not sure I understand it now, my Mum had made me aware of her childhood and how my Nanny had lived her married life, or rather, not really lived, depending on how you look at it! When I see a patronising meme stating ‘We used to work at relationships when we were young and didn’t give up……’, this always makes me think of my Nan and I feel angry for her. Just remember,patronising meme creator: some women stayed in abysmal and aggressive relationships because they had no choice. There was no help and no refuge then. She had nowhere to go and four children to raise. But hey! , at least she did not get divorced !!!!!

I know what you are thinking. Do I still sleep with the light on? 🙂 Of course not! I have children so I sleep in whatever circumstance I can: at the bus stop..in the park! In the same way I had to rationalise with all my fears to alleviate my panic attacks, I have grown to realise that the world is still the same whether you can see it or not. Things are tough or they are not. Demons still exist but, not in the way we thought of them as children. I wish I could go back and tell my 7 year old self that these were the times I should treasure because these are the times before my life was turned upside down. I have been in the dark for quite some time recently. My other half tells me that I tend to dwell on the past when I have a hard time but, this is how your brain deals with now. I know that I will not stay in the past or in the dark in fact but, for now, I am grateful for my life. It has made me who I am. I just wish I still had my 3000 watt bulb!

 

Freshers' Week

Freshers’ Week

Freshers’ Week

Cooey! Sorry, I have been quiet (in a literary sense) for so long. I have, in fact just been a Mother in the thrives of the Summer Holidays. And what a joyous time that is!! I am just joking actually; I Love having them at home. The best thing about such a large gap between children is that you have built in baby sitters. Also, I enjoy their company of course. I could home school if my knowledge wasn’t so lacking and if The Real Housewives Of……(anywhere) was listed on the curriculum.

Apart from the massive lack of holiday, which I will moan about later, I have taken quite a ginormous step theses past few weeks. Maybe it was the three days of Summer we had or the blissful utopia of not having to stand at the school gates that gave me the metaphorical kick up the arse that I needed but, I actually did it! I actually enrolled on an Open University Degree course. God knows why!! Well, actually I do know why really. I want to be someone. I want to be someone of note and do something that I enjoy and is worthwhile, that will make people proud of me and leave a tiny amoeba size fleck of something when I am long gone. I want to use what I have dealt with to help others do the same. I know I sound like a Disney film.

Oh the irony! BSc (Honours) in Psychology and Counselling! I do think though, that a degree of mentalness is the perfect foundation for any Counsellor. After all, would you really respect a nun teaching you Sex Education? (don’t laugh; this actually did happen to me too!) So. I have gone for it! My Counsellor really did open my eyes completely to being a real person. A normal person (with just a few dints). If I can have that affect on just one human then it will be worth the…ahem…6 bloomin years it is going to take me. I must be truly mental but, it was this or have another child. We all make comments about only being a Mum and it is true. Life moves so fast and before I know it, the children will be grown up and I will still be sat in front of a computer thinking, where did it all go? If I do not do it now it will be too late.

Freshers' Week

To be fair, we have spent a lot of our Summer running!

I Love being a Mum and I had always wanted to get married and have children. It is one of the hardest jobs ever and you do lose yourself sometimes. As much as I sometimes want to tear my hair out, and as many times within the Summer break I have almost invested in a wig, I can still go up to their room at night and watch them sleep (when I should be watching Real Housewives)! I have been so jealous of everyone going on holiday or even having a weekend break. We would have loved to take the girls away but, we just couldn’t manage it. We did have a night away with friends in Cornwall but, I got so over excited that I drank too much Cornish Mead and had to hang my head out the window on the journey home. We had hoped to do something before I spent all my free time being a student but, I guess it just was not meant to be. I shall continue to look longingly at Groupon and everyone else’s Facebook pictures whilst mumbling about them under my breath.

I also had a health scare recently myself too and although we always say we will live life to the fullest (especially after we have seen a meme on Facebook), ultimately, we don’t really. We just go to work or to the pub and we follow the same old pattern most days. Nothing wrong with that but it’s how life just happens. It is only when we are sad or hurt or something bad happens to us that we really live as we should. Currently, I am awaiting the results of a biopsy. My specialist has reassured me that he thinks it will all be fine. As reassuring as you can be to someone that has spent the last 20 years waiting for Cancer to come and knock on their door! I know that does sound dramatic but, its true.

Freshers' Week

Children do not drive you to drink!

So for now I can concentrate on being a boffin and wondering if I can actually get a student discount, as well as being just a little bit proud that I may be able to do something else with my life apart from make people. Although actually, I hope that is exactly what I can do!

 

 

 

 

Home

Home

Home

It was like an Aladdin’s cave! The wonders that it held were simply untold. Particularly if you were 11 years old. Naturally, I was never allowed up there but, sometimes (and only sometimes), he would go out and the minute he was out the door, I had free reign, providing Mum and Dad weren’t looking that is. My brother had his own floor of the house and being a tall 1900’s Victorian town house, it was full of lots of nooks and crannies that were so appealing if you were a child. Sometimes with curtains covering; sometimes with stairs that stopped.

Mum had loved this house for such a long time. She loved the garden and all the high ceilinged rooms and quite amazingly, we had been able to move into it and see her dream come true. Plus, it was only next door. As we lived above the café (in the scary house that I had mentioned before), we never really seemed to have a proper family space like other people had. Mum was always popping in to see the various neighbours to help out with things or just to have a chat and our immediate neighbours house had always been her dream. It was my dream too, but only because I look back on it now and remember how I loved it so. How exciting it was as a child and as a grown up, with a Dad in a wheelchair, I pretty much had the top two floors. Apart from the time that Dad crawled up the stairs like a snake so he could nose at the neighbours building project. This was the time I called him an ‘utter idiot’ and slammed every possible door; whilst he slivered back down the stairs again, giggling and then calling me to help him back in his chair….’Shuiieeeeeeeeeeeeee’….still giggling. What a sod he was!

So, when our neighbours wife sadly passed away, he told my Dad he was going into a home and my Dad was to have first refusal. Effectively, he bought it for my Mum. He never held it in the same regard because he spent all his time working. The day before he went into hospital and never walked again was the day he finished paying off the mortgage on my Mum’s dream house. She had been gone for five years by then. It wasn’t exactly an ideal house for someone that was disabled, especially when your ramp(s) are delivered from the NHS and they only have one available! Rather annoyingly, Dad still had the very old fashioned four wheeled wheelchair! But, we made it work. Whilst Dad was in hospital, I made it as suitable for him as I could. I decorated the bathroom downstairs and with the help of some friends, cleared out the downstairs ‘room of crap’ to be his bedroom. We added tiny ramps to each room so he could get around and were massively grateful for the Victorian town house which used to be self contained flats as he had every room he needed downstairs.

Home

Mum and a monkey….sorry, I mean my brother.

I worked hard on that house. I worked hard getting it ready for Dad and I worked hard clearing it out when I had to leave. Thankfully I had my previous in laws, who, now treat me like the anti-Christ but, actually, without them, I probably would never have managed. Or at least I would have completely lost my marbles. Sadly, it was the case that nearly everything got chucked. A five bedroom family home to clear is not the easiest task and although, I regret it so much, I had little choice but, to simply skip the majority of my memories. I can never get those things back but, I always have them where it counts. For as long as I keep those marbles anyway.

After I had finally moved and negotiated the sale of the house to the same person that had bought our café next door, I came to the house again. The new owner had some post for me and asked that I would come and collect it. I was hesitant because I really didn’t want to go back in. It was no longer my house and I wanted to only remember my house as it used to be. I wanted to think of my Mum catching me smoking in the upstairs loo (God knows how because I left the window open!), finding my brothers giant porn stash behind the curtain in his bedroom and, most importantly, those last months with my Dad. Buying him treats from Waitrose. Going to the dairy to buy chocolates, and then dropping them and running over them. Shouting at him for slithering up the stairs and trying to get him back into bed when the dog had pushed him off. Against my better judgement, I knocked on the door and was faced with a sea of builders inside, whacking the crap out of the banisters with a massively huge sledge hammer. I cried all the way up the road until I got home. It was only junk mail!

Due to our house previously being flats, we had our own fire escape into the garden from the second level. Under the stairs outside was an old dresser that used to temporarily house my guinea pig(s). My Mum bought me one from Devon County Show when I was 11. It was a boy. Magically, the little boy guinea pig grew a vagina over night and gave birth to eight babies. My Dad was thrilled. Anyway; the dresser now held my special offerings to Fairy Folk. General crap that no fairy would actually want. You know? Butchered ‘4’ Leaf clovers and a saucer of stagnant water. The Fairies left me notes all the time. They would apologise for their shaky writing but, it was tricky to hold a pen. I knew it was Grampy writing them actually and the writing was a combination of age and difficulty in holding a fag whilst corresponding.

Home

I wish my kids had the garden I did to play in.

He had the whole top of the house. My brother did. One room housed the ginormous video collection. One, the general living area with games console but, the room I loved the most was the one with the entire wall of CD’s. There was everything you could ever imagine, from Hole to Barbra Striesand to Gorky’s Zygotic Monkey and I couldn’t wait to get in there. After I had selected the video of my choosing, pilfered a book (usually Fantastic Mr F0x), I would peruse the collection of music available to me. This ensured that I could sing and watch myself in the mirror pretending that actually, I was most talented and attractive. After I had watched my video that is; usually skipping bits in case he came home and caught me. He always knew I had had one though because I never rewound them. Mr Anal 1992 would never have let that happen! It was only when I was older and he would let me play Trivial Pursuit with him (whilst wearing gloves), that I thought to peek behind the curtain in his room. That was when I discovered the giant stash of porn magazines. I will leave that there.

Home

My Love of music extended to my girls. This was my 3 year olds birthday cake.

I miss my home town a lot lately. I want to go and visit, walk around with my girls and visit the dairy. I would like to walk to the fields where my brother and I would take our dogs; Candy and Floss. Where we would spend all day. Have a Chinese curry that my Dad and I would enjoy every Thursday, after I had been to the pub. My Mum and Dad are still there and I am all the way over here; in a town that never really felt like my home. I am very happy and have a lovely life but, I miss it. I miss them. They will always be there but, it feels completely alien to be somewhere where they are not, even though they are in the ground. It may as well be a million miles away, particularly when you reach the part of the month when it is bread and water all round.

Whatever happens, I will always remember that I was lucky. So very very lucky and I am grateful every day. I have so many stories that I can tell my children to take me right back there whenever I want. Perhaps I will refrain from mentioning the special stash behind the curtain though. Perhaps!

Rescue me

Rescue me

Rescue me

Eughhhhhhhh! I hate driving! I hate it!

I have made no secret about my anxiety and panic attacks and how they affect my life. Actually, they had not really affected my life at all of late. Certainly not in the way they used to. But, I still have one thing that fills me with dread that brings back that clammy and ‘whizzy’ feeling which I thought I had said goodbye to long ago: driving to work.

I just cannot shift it at the moment. Not like I can with an ordinary panic attack. I have triggers that I use to eliminate them but, the art of distraction is not so easy to perfect when you are motoring along on the M5 motorway. As much as I have tried to listen to music, I find anything with too much base will set me off. If I have a bottle of water, I will worry that it will run out before my journey has ended and I will be too dependent on that as a solution. Even my long anticipated Rescue Remedy pastilles stayed in my glove box for the first few journeys as I was concerned that the ingredients may cause some adverse reaction, leaving me feeling even worse. Typical! Totally bonkers and irrational arguments for each possible solution but, isn’t this just the nature of Panic Attacks? I still find it so difficult to comprehend that this is my bodies actual way of protecting me as it certainly does not feel like it. The main and very pertinent difference with these panic attacks is that there really is no escape from my car. I am encapsulated inside my own little whizzing ball of anxious anxiety cloud.

Rescue me

My little nurse.

Ironically, on my drive this morning, I thought about exactly what I would write if I wrote a post about my anxieties. This seemed to help me. Suddenly though, something else would creep into my mind; remember the time I fainted after I had a tattoo….. cue; complete and utter panic that I am going to faint because I have thought about fainting. That’s it! I am going to faint! My car will veer into the path of an oncoming lorry and that will be the end of me. All because I did not pull over but, if I pull over, I have given in and will make things so much worse for myself. I absolutely and categorically can never pull over.

Then I start to worry about other things, ie; everything. I wish I had money, I wonder if I could crowdfund my life?  Can I afford to send my daughter to nursery? What can I buy for dinner tonight that is less than the £3.75 in my bank account? Oh my God! I am a failure. I have failed my life…. cue; foggy head, feeling sweaty and just a deep sinking feeling of impending doom in my stomach that lasts for one nano second. Then it is gone! It does not even affect the way that I drive (crap as my other half would say!) I mean, it is not the actual driving capability that worries me. It is the worry that I will get that awful low down dread and I cant do anything. Because I have to keep driving.

Rescue me

My life has been so much more colourful since I faced all my demons.

I have always had a nervous nature. When I was a child I can remember being worried about everything. It wasn’t just the death of my closest relatives that made me the basket case I am today. I was already one! So, I seek some solace in that. The path of serendipity and all that! When I was around 9 or 10, the age my eldest daughter is now, I saw a keyring in Clinton Cards that caused me to worry for months. On the front was a picture of a cartoon frog and each frog on each key ring represented a trait or premonition for each sign of the zodiac. The frog that represented mine had crosses for eyes and a knife in its chest with the title; MOST SCORPIOS ARE MURDERED! Who on earth designed these key rings? (This is my thought now) My thoughts then were, yes! You’ve guessed it! I would be next. A true Scorpio.

I spent weeks even months after, ensuring that whatever happened, I categorically could not listen to the news. It was easy at home as Mum and Dad were working but, In the car, Dad would always have the news on the radio, or so it felt like. So, I had to turn my Sony Walkman up to its maximum and ensure that my Shamen cassette tape (that’s right! I was cool!),  drowned out any news of any possible murders. If I heard about one, that would mean it would happen to me. Ironically, as my life got harder, I became much more rational in my thinking. Probably then, I realised that Life can be an utter bastard to you no matter what you do or what you happen to listen to.

Rescue me

Now I’m much more ‘well rounded’. Well I am in this picture anyway.

So! I shall continue to search for a solution to my ‘motorised mad moments’ in the hope that I can clear this chapter of negativity soon. As I continue to work and know that Nancy is in safe hands, I feel so much better about going , I even enjoy it. I will not be defeated again and nor will I feel so negative. There are plenty of people willing to do that for you and without explanation that its a wonder not all of us are a little bit mental (which of course we totally are).

 

Work Work Work

Work Work Work

Work Work Work

I am so slack! It has been an obscene amount of time since I actually sat my rather large bottom down and wrote a post. I have been agonising over it slightly because I keep thinking that I do not really have anything to write about. Not that anyone would be interested in anyway. Then I realised; that doesn’t matter! This blog is meant to be cathartic for me and simply sharing last years Facebook CooeyMrShifter memories rather than writing again does not really cut it for me.

As I have always said, I never plan anything that I will write. I make a conscious decision to either go back in time or write about now and that is about the limit of my planning. I find it incredibly stressful if I start to write a post and I do not get a chance to finish it in one day. I am slightly OCD about this kind of thing. I could not go to bed knowing that there was a CD in the middle of the living room floor (for example) and this is the same. As I write, it clears tension out of my brain. A little like unwinding a knot. That is why I do it. Plus, I am not particularly good at anything else. Apart from possibility having children but, I did fail at that a few times too. Not from my own choosing.

I hate not feeling just quite good enough. I always feel like I miss the mark on everything really but, when I write, even though it is about my own life, I could be anything or anyone I want. Someone far more interesting than I actually am. Unlike the people that I Love the most.

My eldest daughter has the kindest heart ever and combined with her natural aptitude to literature, I am 100% that she will go amazingly far in life. Middle child (as I have three now. Don’t know if I mentioned it!) is so completely and utterly free from any anxieties and negativity that quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that I created her. I know that she will live the fullest life imaginable because with her attitude, she will take from it exactly what she should. Something that very few of us can say we really do. The 10 month old does very little yet but, she appears to have an equal measure of eccentricity and an obvious love of music so perhaps she will be the Artistic Savant.

Work Work Work

A bit of light reading for the girls.

My Fiancé is a man of much fulfilment and offering. which, considering that he would rather stay in the house all day every day is ironic. He decides to do something and then he just does it. No speculation, nothing. He just does it. An admirable and frustrating quality all in one. He thinks that he hasn’t achieved much but, he has achieved everything. Me! I write this Blog. Also, currently, I am watching aforementioned ten month old cover the floor in sweetcorn. I bet I shall still see a lot more of it later though.

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We have a great relationship. We are each as hard work as the other.

So, I digress! At lot has happened since I last forced my Life Story onto you. The very thing I was dreading since I left the Maternity Unit has happened. I had to go back to work! Yuuuuk!! I am not sure what aspect of it petrified me the most. but, I hated it all. The drive. Leaving my daughter(s). Having to get up early and be so much more organised. But, probably it was the reality that I had to return to ‘normal’ now. I had given birth months and months ago and the flowers were long dead, cards in the memory box and I had to accept that I had to be me again. I didn’t want to do that. For such a long time, you live in your own little bubble of being a new Mum, however many times you may have done it before. Plus, I got to watch as much as crap on Television that was physically possible. Good old Breast Feeding!!!

Getting in on the selfie action.

Getting in on the selfie action.

I have worked for the same company for 15 years. I am certain that my Boss (who also happens to be my future Brother In Law) has found me hard work from the start. I do like my job though. I wouldn’t have stayed there as long if I didn’t. Even if it would be a pain to find a new one. To be fair though, I have had three days off sick since I went back so I may well get fired anyway!

This is why I also felt so negative about returning to work; It was a job I enjoyed. I still had friends there. Although, as new staff were employed, I seemed to be becoming the older generation of staff. Who wants to be the elder of anything? For the first time ever, it did not bother me that I could have a hot cup of tea or that I could have ‘me’ time again. I did not want ‘me’ time. I wanted to be at home with my little girl. It was unfair that I had to miss things from her growth and two days each week is a long time when you look at how fast she will grow . I felt resentful that I had to do this. Resentful towards who, I don’t know! The Universe. Life. All those crazy invisible entities that have a lot to answer for when I am hacked off! I also felt sad because this is the last time I will do this. This is the last baby I will have and all those first moments gone are gone forever now. Which is an irrational way to think. Totally unsurprising coming from me.

But, actually, now I am back at work (when I am there!) I feel totally different. It took a little while and I will still always be just a little neurotic but, I completely become involved in it now and find that I can concentrate on what I am doing with little distraction.  I am hardly sales person extroardinare but, I think I am OK at my job and it is good to add something else into my Life which I may be OK at. Strangely, I do not really find it stressful like I used to. I enjoy that my brain still works the way it used to before I expanded my Uterus for a third time. I am hoping the stressful part of me has changed. In the same way that I won’t mind if I don’t finish this post today. But, hopefully I will.   More importantly, now that I know that I can leave my Nancy with anyone else and she has survived, I am OK with that too. Now I am a high flying executive and all!! In actual fact I really should be a little less selfish and let Daddy and The Grandparents get some of the cuddles also.

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No More Babies!

Next step, an actual date with my Other Half before he remembers that I am just a bit saggy and not nearly as attractive as over 75% of Instagram. But, I do have my own eyebrows!

 

Resolution

Resolution

Resolution

It’s been such a long time since I just sat down and wrote a Blog Post; actually, it’s been such a long time since I just sat down! Life goes by in a flash and mine is currently in a whirlwind of babies, children, back to work anxiety and breast pads! Christmas seems like months ago now. As does the freedom of eating and drinking whatever I wanted just because it was ‘Christmas’.The reality of January is always far worse than the reality of any other month ahead. It was a lovely time with my family though.

When I was little, our Family Christmas’ were brilliant. We would spend the day with our Uncle Barry and Auntie Marg, our Grandparents and Cousins at their house in Ilsington (not to be confused with Islington which is altogether, very different). We would have an unseemly large pile of presents, which lets face it, is important when you are 10 and we always ate our Christmas dinner off clear glass plates. I remember pushing the last of the peas and gravy around and thinking that our plates at home were always so….well….opaque. I only ever had Christmas pudding as a child because it had pound coins in it. This would be a major Health and Safety issue for 2016.

I hate Christmas pudding now! My Mother in law moans at me for having to make an ‘alternative’ pudding at Christmas but, no one moaned this year with the insanely chocolatey Malteser pudding with the sparkler on did they??? Nope!

Resolution

My first Christmas. I expect my Brother was secretly planning my demise…

Uncle Barry and Mum had their own tradition to buy each other a silly (ie rude) present but, each year, as the children got older and shopping evolved from the late 70’s, these individual presents became ruder and more phallic! They were left until the end of present opening on the assumption that the younger children would take their Keypers and Pound Puppies into another room as they were bored by then anyway. The last year I remember being all together as a large family was when my brother was given the ‘How to be a complete Bastard’ game. Nanny and her tipsy 700* year old Sister would say it was very rude and then giggle inconsolably whilst topping up their sherry behind the sofa cushion. My cousin was given a car one year too. I knew nothing about cars then (because I am Devon’s own Ayrton Senna now!) but, it was red! And she was given the keys in an Oil of Ulay box (In the days where you could be European and manage to pronounce the letter U all by yourself!)

My Auntie Marg died not long after Mum and Grampy. I am not sure how long after exactly, I was a bit busy at the time, finding those years just a little bit shit! When she died though, our Family changed and we did not get together as much. In fact, we did not get together at all. We never really got that back. Along with my Mum, she was a major part that glued us all together and all of a sudden, we just were left there hanging, all a bit wobbly (like my bottom). She was also used as the family incentive not to smoke as we travelled deeper into our teenage years but, of course, when you are a teenager, Death is no match for you, even when you know what it looks like all too well.

Resolution

Uncle Barry and Ant (and Kendall opening some 80’s cheese) Auntie Marg’s arms!

I still think of my Auntie Marg; she was incredibly strong, fiercely loyal and she adored her Grandchildren (my cousins) in a way that was so completely obvious that it was really the first time I remember feeling that your family is so incredibly important. When she left, we simply drifted into our own separate families in separate towns. We just stopped becoming a family. I miss her too.

I have started to struggle with how I feel again lately and I realise that when this happens, I simply need to write. Like a colonic for negative brain poo if you like! I am not quite ready for the ‘men in white coats’ yet but, the festive season is always difficult for people who have lost love ones, whether recent or historical and I am no different. In my own personal sense, I start to feel ‘hard done by’ and ‘sorry for myself’ and as mentioned in previous posts (so my counsellor told me), I start to revert back to the 16 Year Old me again. No one cares! My Boyfriend has no time for me! I wish I felt Loved! Naturally, these are all irrational and totally my own jumbled brains fault for those inadequacies but, when I feel sad or miss my Parent’s, that is exactly how I feel. Noone will ever make you feel as Loved as your Mum and Dad can and I have been without that for more than 10 years now.

I often think back to the person (who was quite obviously connected to my ex and has the empathetic abilities of a turnip),that very kindly pointed out that this Blog was simply a self obsessed request for pity. I think about this often. Not just because it was an extremely evil, personal and bitchy thing to say but, also because in a sense it was true! Every single person that has lost a loved one is often self obsessed. They feel Self Pity too. I fail to see how it is even possible that you can share your life and your heart with someone and then you are thrown into a void of knowing you will never ever see them again , just like that! (In this life anyway) However, people suffering this pain are also happy, sad, remonstrative, inquisitive, angry…shall I go on???  Every single person that grieves for someone lost can be every emotion at every God given time. This is quite simply that there is no rule book on how you deal with missing someone. Sure!, there are suggestions, self help and counselling but, the only way that any one person can truly deal with Grief is to give in to it and let it do what it wants. I liken it to being enveloped by one of those colourful parachutes; it wraps you up but, it can also be too tight and even though it is bright in colour, all the colours can also mingle into one colour too.

Resolution

Daddy xxx

So actually, No! I have not written this Blog, this post or any other so that you feel pity for me. I do not want pity. I would like it if you enjoyed reading it, if it made you a little emotional or made you want to hold your loved ones tight and never ever let them go. THAT is what I would really like. Otherwise, I do not really mind if you like it or not. I wrote it for me, for my children and for my weary mind when it starts to feel negative (or wobbly like my bottom again). I do not deserve pity for I have been very fortunate. I have been very lucky in my life and for the parents I have been given, I am extremely grateful and I always will be. I just wish they could have stayed for a bit longer.

 

 

*The 700 is for entertainment purposes only. She was probably 699.

Bananarama

Bananarama

Bananarama

Mum was 46 when she died. Death carries so much guilt, not for the departed naturally: they don’t give a monkies! But, for all us poor bastards left behind! Life is full of so many ‘Shoulda Woulda Couldas’ no matter what the circumstances were that took them away from you. When my best friend was taken, it was instant. Boom! She was gone. I felt guilty that I was not with her as she had asked me to be (except then I would not actually be writing this) and I feel guilty for that as well. Why was I not in the car? Why was I at home in bed? Although, actually I woke up at the exact time that she left and could not get back to sleep. I have always been a bit strange like that. I get it from my Granddad don’t forget. Anyway, I digress!

Yes! Mum was 46 and I was 16. The first thing I remember feeling guilty about, apart from the whole;New Shirt, Pat Butcher incident of course was the day that I was taking the entrance exam to get into secondary school. Mum and I used to  visit a particular pet place and garden centre in these years and I would look at the guniea pigs and she would look at the Dahlias, or some such boring stuff. We would often visit ‘floral related’ places just the two of us. I expect my brother was at home counting and cleaning his Smurf collection. (If you know him, you will know this is not me attempting to be funny). Anyway, I was really nervous about the exam and Mum had promised one of these outings on the way home: with cake and a toy from the gift shop, which was usually a collectable fluffy pencil. I was so excited that I thought about it all the way in the car to my exam. We chatted about what animals we might see today and what cakes would be available. So much so that I forgot all about my Exam and just listened to my Bananarama tape on the car stereo. Mum had removed The Manhatten Transfer just this once as a treat for me!

Bananarama

The obligatory 80’s Frog wellies there!

When we arrived at what would be my new school, I happened to see a girl that was in my current class and I was so relived to see a friendly face. My Mum and hers chatted and they offered me a lift home with them via their house for a milkshake. I felt so grown up coming home with a friend and looked to my Mum for approval. She simply looked back and rather than say, ‘Don’t forget we were going somewhere’, she just said, ‘If you are sure that’s what you want to do’. It was only in the car on the way home that I remembered our planned outing and my stomach dropped. I remember it like it was yesterday. I still can’t believe it went clean out of my mind and yet I think about it now and see it played out so vividly. That was one of those times I would go back to in my time machine (as soon as I finish those plans).

Now! I am no psychologist! Again, if you know me, you may chuckle at that but, now I am a grown Woman I think that is why I was so angry with my Mum for dying and leaving me. If I was angry with her it would be all her fault. It would only be me that people felt sorry for and there was no space for me to feel guilty. I could not possibly feel guilty then for being such an utter bitch! I am not saying this was a character trait. It was all about timing. I was a hormonal teenager and I could be such a cow bag in the last months of my Mum’s life. My parents embarrassed me and they were always unfair to me by not letting me do what I wanted and buy me fags and stuff…(sense the tone) So I would repay them by behaving like the utter toilet water secreted in Satan’s bum hole. At least, I think I was. I feel like I was. When I look back I think I was.

On car journeys I would plug myself into my cassette player and stare out the window. In actual fact I was imaging that I was actually in Bananarama and wearing black tight satin pants, leather bra and a big cross necklace. My performance was always second to none. It wasn’t actually me of course, it was the mythical me: I was 25 and I was gorgeous. Good thing about fantasy, it can take you where you want to go. The years previous had not always been that easy. My Mum didn’t just get Cancer one day and die the next. She fought for 8 years and we watched. The world I escaped to was uncomplicated and made me forget, it was fun and vivacious but, more importantly, absolutely no one was dying or losing their hair.

Bananarama

Mum and Dad (and Teddy)

When it spread to my Mum’s brain, she didn’t go ‘Doolally flip’ as you may expect. In a way, it would have been much easier if she had. She simply started losing the ability to do the most basic things: swallow, smile, talk and lastly of course, breath. She was still in there and that was the hardest part. I know she was there because she wanted an Etch a Sketch type thing to write messages on. Although, now I think to myself, how did she initially ask for the Etch a Sketch type thing because she couldn’t actually talk……Hmmm! But, I digress again!

Actually, I know that my Mum didn’t really think that I was a bitch. One of the last things she wrote was that she knew I would always be ok, that I would have a good life or do my best to make one. Maybe she knew I would always be strong and that I would have to be. I am only that way because of her. I have had and do have a good life. Life is precious and you must enjoy every last bit. I wish mine so far had been a little less painful and I wish that parts of me had not gone missing but, I will always try and show my Mum that she was right in what she said. That I will make it be alright.

Bananarama

Happy and a little bit weird!