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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!

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!

 

I'd do anything

I’d do anything

I’d do anything

Well! I expect you are surprised to hear from me again! Trust me, if I could type one handed then I would have written hundreds of entries by now but, breast feeding somewhat limits your computer abilities. In the last six weeks, I don’t think I have eaten more than one meal with two hands; fine if it’s anything but peas. Peas are tricky. I think I still have one in my bra.

I'd do anything

She’s here! I am not in the pub yet!

I can almost hear you all groaning from behind your computer screens but, I can assure you now that, although I have now had my beautiful little girl Nancy, I will not be writing about her today. Or my perineum. You can jolly well wait for that! Although it is about Mums. My Mum actually.

It isn’t until you become a Mum that you realise what your own Mum went through. When I was 14 and an absolute bitch, My Mum would tell me all the time that when I had my own teenage girl, I would realise how horrible I could be. Now, I will have three! I understand now just how fantastic my Mum was, particularly as at this time she was having pretty horrific Chemotherapy. But, I will not be able to laugh with her about it or relive stories from when I was young and as I get older, I struggle to remember the things we did together. In truth, the main thing that I attribute to my Mum; is that she died. If that was the legacy I left for my three girls, I would be devastated. So, I am going to try my hardest to remember this as an adult, not with the brain of a 16 year old girl. That’s who I revert to when I think about my Mum as that is when she left us.

The majority of times that Mum and I talked the most were when we were in the car together. That sounds bonkers but, as my Mum and Dad were working in our café a lot, My Mum and I had time on our own when she ferried me around to various activities (as most Mums do ) I moan about it frequently!! Otherwise, we were all together as a family. Horse riding was on a Sunday morning and I always used to love it when she picked me up as we would visit a random garden centre or fruit picking farm before we went home. I didn’t really take to horse riding even though I did it for such a long time but, because of Mum’s background in the stables, I did it because I knew she wanted me to. But, I never loved it.This time in the car was when, as I mentioned before, that I can remember all the music Mum would play. When I have a bad day or need a pick up, these songs can take me back there. For example: Curiosity Killed The Cat – Down To Earth was a firm favourite and I have it on my special playlist. I felt safe at these times. This was when my childhood was as it should be. Before, it became about loss.

Our car had a certain smell; almost hot, whatever the weather. We had a dark Maroon Volvo and the seats were almost carpeted, as they so frequently were in the 80’s. My Dad never allowed us to have any other car because he always said that we would never be safer. That was true actually: Mum and I had a crash once on the way to school.Well, I say crash but, our car never actually moved from its stop position. Someone drove into us from behind and their car crumbled in half almost. We weren’t hurt and we didn’t need to be checked out but, I had the day off school anyway. I had toast and tea when I got home, in Mum’s beloved Willow pattern china and watched musicals all day. I collected them! Should have been on the stage really. If I hadn’t just become a ‘normal’ person.

I'd do anything.

My gorgeous girl is now the same age as I was when my Mum would take me Horse riding.

I was fascinated with my Mum’s life as a teenager. It always seemed so glamorous. Sneaking out of the house with my Godmother Ro to the latest party. Stories of her boyfriends and working as a waitress in a beautiful country pub. Of course, the side she never talked about when telling me these stories is that she never actually wanted to be in that house. She wanted to avoid a beating and not have to hide under her bed when her Father came home. This was her childhood but, she never told me stories about that: just of the fun she had. That was the type of person she was and that despite her childhood and the horrendous things she saw, she always remained loving, elegant, strong and fun.I knew from her stories that she was definitely a little wild and who would blame her.. Naturally, I did not follow in these footsteps as an adolescent.

She had a few notable boyfriends, always older than her, much older in fact but, who treated her like a Princess. Based on the father she had, this was unsurprising. Her relationships with men were always for replacement father figures who cared for her which, was really what she craved. Thankfully none of these relationships resulted in a broken jaw, only very beautiful jewellery. This was until she met my Dad: Tony. He was her savour. I know what that’s like!

I'd do anything

I try to teach my girls to enjoy every minute as a child and fill it with love.

The reason we were always milling around those garden centres and flower farms was because of my Mum’s passion for flowers. She loved them. Her interest didn’t really start until later life and after she was diagnosed as I guess she found it therapeutic. I say ‘later life’ but, she was three years younger than I am now when she was diagnosed. I never found these places boring, unlike my girls do now (until they realise that there may be cake involved) Instead, I loved listening to her talking about all the different flowers and what she was going to do with them. Always such beautiful colours and smells. Naturally, we would have cake too and I always ended up with something to bring home. A glittery butterfly or fury rabbit which were on a stick and ordinarily meant for a flower arrangements. The health and safety on buying a child one of those bad boys now would be unquestionable.

Mum ended up arranging flowers for our local church. There wasn’t the massive conglomerate of florists that there is now who simply arrange the flowers and deliver them ready. Mum would design them, buy them and trudge up to the church with her basket and her oasis and spend hours making the most beautiful accompaniments for a wedding or funeral. Most of these times she would take me with her and there was always some kind of adventure with it. Also, I would sit and watch and she would talk to me, sometimes about the flowers but, mostly about other things. The smell of oasis brings those times back to me. And that church, although, having both her funeral there and my Dad’s a few years later, the memories it held became slightly different for me. I still felt her there that day though. The day she wasn’t really there anymore.

I'd do anything

Rocking them socks..

Once, the vicar said I could take the tiny windy stairs to the steeple if I wanted and look out over the town. It was amazing. I wouldn’t do it now though! As a child you have no idea of your own mortality. As I grew up and more people left, I grew fearful of everything. Plus, I’m really claustrophobic so would probably poop myself! Ultimately, Mum would come up and find me so, she wasn’t fearful of that either. Thinking back, this was a gift of time together that most Mum’s don’t always get. For that I am grateful and when the memories of my Mum are taken over by simply remembering that she left me, I shall try and replace it with the times when she was there. When she was my beautiful, beautiful Mum.

I'd do anything.

Miss you Mum.

Dignity

Dignity

Dignity

Lavender candles, lovely warm bubble bath and a magical feeling of love and new life. This is not what childbirth is like in any stretch of the imagination. Even those annoying cow bags that pop out a baby in one hour and slip into their size six jeans for the post birth journey home would agree! However, if you are having your first baby, the minute you discover that the miracle of life is forming in your uterus, you cannot help but think that for you, it will probably be just like this. Let’s face it; Technically you are the first person to ever go through it and God Damn you are going to have the easiest birth since Copulation began!

Luckily, and unsurprisingly for me, the tranquillity and beautiful magnitude of my first ever pregnancy lasted for a whopping two days. Two days because no sooner had  I discovered I was pregnant than I was spending my days crawling round on all fours and sitting on the toilet for forty five minutes at a time. Just a little ‘nodule’ on the Ovary apparently. If that was a little one, I would have had to bite down on a whiskey soaked rag in the weeks that followed to cope with any bigger. Bugger, it really hurt! Any woman that has suffered with something on her Ovary or generally in her womanly bits will know that really, you just feel like you constantly want a giant poo but, it has taken the wrong turn! Still, it was better than the alternative we faced, as for a few days the doctor had told us to expect the worst and that this pregnancy may well be ectopic. Thankfully it was not but, in true spirit of Gynaecology departments all over, unless you were dead, you could wait a few days to find out for sure. (Although, my Gynaecologist rocks!! and looks like Louis Spence 🙂 )

Dignity

I have used this picture before, but it is disgusting and I like it!

So, apart from the constant need for a poo, the daily navigation of a spiral staircase on all fours and the hourly requirement for grated cheese in a white roll, the rest of my pregnancy seemed to pootle along quite nicely. The determination of this as an in-utero pregnancy was discovered during an internal scan but, I feel the intricacies of this particular procedure may be too much for some. Ironically, they cover it in what looks like a giant condom first but, as I said…I must stop there!

The fun really began when it was realised that all those grated cheese rolls had ensured a very yummy environment for my daughter and she clearly did not want to budge from where she stayed. Even after two weeks, she was not in the mind set to make an appearance and all the things they tell you that will encourage labour are about as useful as the birth plan they tell you to write beforehand. What you should really write in your birth plan is: give birth. In whatever way works for you. Oh, and remember the time you said that whatever happened, there was no way you were having an Epidural….Ha Ha Ha…..that was a good one Monty Python!

If when overdue, you are fortunate enough to have a ‘Sweep’, you will have had a lovely little insight into what might be waiting round the corner for you. I have had five in total and its a wonder I don’t have lady bits that could safely house the car keys. To be fair, I have never actually tried! I have friends that are nervous to have a smear test. Us Mum’s will have a little giggle at that. Blimey! When you have had a child, you are pretty much willing to save time for future gynaecological appointments by going in your pants!!

 

Dignity

To look at her now you would think she never caused me any trouble at all.

So…What happened for me the first time round?

As I have mentioned, my daughter Lani was two weeks overdue. Technically she was two weeks and ‘God knows how long in labour’ overdue but, lets not get pedantic! I had three sweeps (which incidentally is not a type of spring clean) and was booked in for an induction on the 14th day. Almost every Mum that has been induced kindly informed me of exactly how much more painful my whole experience would be with induction, which was kind! However, if I knew then what I know now, I would have demanded that Epidural from the car on the way in…Best invention ever!!…After wine.

I honestly can’t remember where I was or what I was doing when the contractions started. I do however, remember that I was wearing an orange top! I thought, ‘Well, this isn’t bad. Give it an hour or so and I shall be pushing my lovely (and tiny of course) baby into the world’. Well, on the second night…yes night..of these pains, I was ready to reach in and pull it out myself. The pain starts off like the feel of a fart collecting in your bottom region. Except, it doesn’t escape giving you immediate relief, it goes upwards where it shouldn’t. It swirls around your back passage and creeps up towards your tummy like ‘The Scream’ and the skin on your abdomen has become so tight that it would make Joan Rivers jealous. Encompassed with all this is the feeling that you must dispose of every fluid remaining in your body and you have the urge that you never thought possible to wee, poo and vomit all at the same time. Oh, and all those baby magazines you bought which suggested you have the special raspberry flavoured lip balm for this joyous occasion can stuff that lip balm right in their print press!

It starts off as a little trickle at first. I was watching Vicar of Dibley, the Christmas episode where she has to have several Christmas lunches and stuff sprouts into her mouth. I was thinking that I had to do just the opposite of that and feeling like it too. I also remember being really grateful at this point that I had a leather sofa (and that I was wearing my ex husbands trousers) but, it is not till you stand up that you realise the full fun of the ‘Gush’ that you are about to incur and the way that it actually feels, just that little bit satisfying…..

To be continued…. (because I realise I have not even got to the hospital yet and the fun increases by ten fold then) Oh and obviously Joan Rivers was alive when I had my first baby. RIP Joan (I know she wouldn’t mind)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mo Problems

Mo Problems

Mo Problems

As time moves on, I remember my Mum less and less. I remember how she sounded when she talked, how her skin felt when she washed me in the bath and how it felt to hold her hand. I also remember how she smelt: Opium she used to wear, the perfume not the barbiturate!

If it was not so ruddy expensive, I would buy a bottle, just so I could sniff it if I felt sad or missed her more than normal that day. I would not wear it myself though. Personally, I think it smells like old lady knickers!! But, I mean that in the most respectful way.

I also remember how she used to stare at me in the car. It drove me insane! Invariably, my brother would sit in the front seat, which was great as he was an annoying little toad and it got him out the way, if just for an hour. Mum and I would sit in the back; my Sony Walkman constantly attached to my bonce, where I would stare out the window and dream that I was on stage performing or modelling in my spare time as Cindy Crawford’s understudy (no one ever said imagination was similar to real life!). I would look at Mum and there she would be, staring at me again! ‘Mum! For gods sake!’ She knew what I looked like. She had produced me from her Vagina. She would always just say, ‘I like looking at you’. It is only since I became a Mother myself that I could understand what she meant. I could study every inch of my girls faces, day in day out. I am hoping that in years to come they will laugh about me staring at them in the car, not reminiscing that they wish I was still around to stare at them, like I do now.

What I do not remember as much now is things that we used to do together. I can recollect a couple of instances that she picked me up from school, especially when she bought me a brooch shaped like a camel and I thought it was a piece of honeycomb! I remember that she used to put on a silly voice when she saw my headmaster and I used to tease her about it. He was always far too ‘tracksuity’ in my mind. No good ever came of a man always wearing a tracksuit. She definitely seemed to like him though!

Mo Problems

I love my girls faces. Even when they are full of stroppiness and bogies.

I struggle now to remember the Disney World trips. I remember going on Space Mountain with my Dad and accidentally catching a peek of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ when I should have been asleep but, the rest is fading. It scares me that I may run out of things to tell my children about my Mum, about their Grandma. It scares me to think that by the time Rusty can understand, the stories will be even fewer. But, it has reminded me of one important thing: that we cannot spend our lives looking backwards and if we do, we will hinder the possible achievements we can conquer now.

Even after everything, I have always had this naïve sense that there will always be a miracle when you least expect it. God knows where I got this from! The very fact that I perceive it though and it is yet to happen, only cements my belief even more. I think things like all our money worries will be sorted somehow when we least expect it, that we wouldn’t have to struggle anymore and that maybe one day we will wake up and the Universe has decided that it is our time to be rewarded. It is daft I know but, if I lose this belief, I would worry even more. You never know what is around the corner I think, negative or positive. So for now I keep hoping and thinking that tomorrow may be the day.

We are wealthy in other ways though and I am never ungrateful for that. I am lucky enough to have someone that loves me, that does not make me feel like I am not good enough or want to change me and I feel the same way about him. I have two lovely girls and as much as I would like a holiday, to take them to Disney World ourselves or not worry about paying the next bill, those things are the things that are important really. It is just hard on a daily basis to remember that. More importantly though; we have our health. Although I now struggle to complete more than one physical task a day and if I could, would spend the majority of the day in the bath to ease my aching joints. I do currently have the boobs I always wanted though. 🙂 Ironic Shu as you brag about your boobs whilst talking about losing your Mum to Breast cancer.

I have also come to realise that I need to concentrate on my small family and stop spending time worrying about other factors. I had always hoped that the relationship with my parents family would improve but, really life has taken over and they are busy with their own immediate family also. I say parents family because they really stopped being my family from the point my parents left.We can never go back. I just know that if my Mum and Dad were still here, that would all be very different. They were a cement almost that kept everyone together. It is difficult for me because that aspect of family see me as a grown up but, when I think of them, I feel how I did when my Mum was still here: 16 and part of a large caring family. The spectrum for me now does not span so far and I would have loved that for my children but, it is not to be.

Mo Problems

Ahhh yes the 80’s frog willies (and my toad of a brother) Ha ha!!

So, I shall just carry on. Being happy with my life I have here, trying not to look back. I could look down but, I wouldn’t see very far at the moment! And I shall be grateful for what I have been given and remember every day just how precious it is. For those around me who are there for me and make me complete, mainly my Tristan, Thank you for helping me to remember that what life can take away from you, it also gives you back, usually when you least expect it.

Tony

Tony

Tony

I have never really had much problem with sleeping. I am one of those people that can awaken during a dream and pick up where I left off if I want to: depending on who is in it that is! This week though, I have suffered a little: probably because of Rusty deciding that he/she is not a child but actually a jumping bean! At one point, in Lidl, I thought that Rusty might even be coming early. Other supermarkets are available obviously.

One night this week when I was struggling to nod off, I began thinking about my Dad, as I normally do. I know I am 35 and I have my own family but I sometimes cry into my pillow and think that I really want my Dad! Not much shame in admitting that, I do. My Dad had the ability of making everything alright, as all Dad’s do of course but, it was almost like he could inhale your worries and bury them deep inside of him: like that massive bloke in The Green Mile (if you haven’t watched it, you should have). There are times when I need him to do that for me: not just because I want him to make me feel better but, because he gave my life light. It was only when the light went out that I realised I would have to live in darkness for a while.

Tony

My boyfriend sent me this once: if you had met him you would know what a grand gesture that is (he’ll moan at me for that)

I have thought to myself on many occasions: what is the point in being such a fantastic human being and then not having anything to show for it when you are no longer around. This is part of the reason that I started this blog and part of the reason that however small my effort, I will always do my best to ensure people know what happened to my Dad so they can make sure it does not happen to their loved ones. I wish I could go back. By that, I mean that if you have read my blog, you should be nagging your Dad to have his Prostate checked. It’s not just an ‘old man’s’ disease, just like Breast Cancer does not only afflict woman over 50. My Mum was younger than me when she first found a lump. Just because you don’t have any symptoms, does not mean diddly squat!! My Dad was born in 1945 and he died in 2005. He never went to the doctors for 25 years but, there was no prize in obtaining this milestone, in fact, it was the opposite. He most definitely got the wooden spoon.

I recently visited a local Prostate Cancer support group to talk about Travel Insurance for people with pre existing medical conditions (because that is what I do as a day job) and of course, my own experiences. My Dad would not have been the youngest one there, I would! I would have given anything to find a group that we could visit together and talk to. Although, it may not seem much, I felt like I really achieved something that day, like I did something about it, instead of just feeling sorry for myself and questioning why the Universe can be such a terrible bastard sometimes. And I know I am not the only one, there are people that have suffered much worse but grief is very inward and its hard to think of others. I do think of others now though: knowing my Dad made me a better person. I hoped that my Dad would have been proud of me too.

Cancer leaves a massive trail of destruction and not just to the one it affects. My Dad said to me once that he had the easy job because, I would be the one that was left behind to deal with it and he was right. My Mum never said a lot towards the end, she couldn’t talk and so had to use a magnetic sketch pad to tell us things. Hard to convey all your final wishes in a matter of sentences eh? So why do we not do it when we can.

Tony

My Daddy! Make sure you hang onto yours tight: with both hands.

I know that I am a bit bonkers and those who know me will know that my brain and mouth have no connecting off switch. But, whatever you think of my Blog, whatever you think of me, just remember that you have a chance to change things: before it’s too late! And so why wouldn’t you?

If you were me and I was you!

If you were me and I was you!

If you were me and I was you!

Happy Birthday! to my Mummy for yesterday. She would have been 68 (I think) That sounds terrible but in all honesty, My Mum has been dead for longer than I actually knew her. In that respect, do I think it is maudlin to mark those occasions like a Birthday for someone who has gone? Of course not! It is only maudlin if I spend the day feeling sorry for myself, which of course I didn’t as I do that daily anyway! Just joking!

I spoke to a Psychic once who told me that my Mum was upset that I never had photos of her around. Well, you can tell her that I am upset with her too…for dying! Of course, I always had to have the last word! Apparently she also wanted to have some reference to her in my girls names. That is how I knew that it was my Mum because she had an amazing sense of humour: Maureen Freda Joan…Mum really? Her Mum was called Joan and my other Nanny was called Phyllis Mildred: if that wouldn’t be the universe having a giggle, I don’t know what would be!

On the weekend, I am sure my other half would not mind me telling you, but we had an enormous row! Sometimes I think it is good to clear the air with these occurrences as we spend a lot of time together but, we don’t always talk (not about important things anyway) Human beings in their very nature always want something that they don’t have: I would like a house in Taormina (look it up) with a cable car, a lunch of  Buffalo Mozzarella every day and a Pinot Grigio tree but, that is not reality.

We live each day doing the same things, going to work, looking after the children and if you are anything like us, sitting on the sofa at night, eating chocolate and watching television. It is natural to think that life should be more interesting and when you are busy looking at Twitter and some 18 year old blonde with a wash board stomach is jumping off the Empire State Building in her bikini, why should you feel special that you are merely enjoying ‘Benefits Britain’ with a glass of Shiraz! Truth is though, what if you didn’t do that anymore? What if your life changed and it was all taken away? Then you would realise that you were happy and life was important to you. I am under no illusion that I may create the vaccine for Ebola or end world hunger, but that does not mean that my life has been wasted: nor that I should have done something else with it. Really and truly, if I did now jump off the Empire State Building in my bikini (although it would be more of a belly flop for me), I would really want to be sat at home with my boyfriend watching ‘Benefits Britain’. That is the irony! Why can’t we just realise that now before we have to lose something to make it important. This is what I tell my boyfriend when he is feeling rubbish about himself and that he has achieved nothing. We have all achieved something, whether we have been kind to someone when they needed it or told our child something that they will always remember and subsequently tell their children, we can’t see what we have or what we gave because we are too busy thinking that we should be something else.

In 1990, my Cousin Emily was 11. She was the daughter of my Mum’s brother Terry and she was my penpal. I used to love getting her letters and she was always particulary good at drawing mice. Her and I were exactly the same age and many said we looked the same too. I can still remember her vividly, she had a huge smile and she was so kind and caring. I am sure that she would have been a primary school teacher and probably sit on her sofa at night and eat chocolate but, she never got that far. One day she went to school and she simply never came back!

If you were me and I was you!

Left to right: Emily, her brother Simon and me.

I can remember those storms. I was at school and my classmates and I were watching the slates fly around outside. Clearly the buildings we were in were 2 million years old and so we were marched to our school hall, which I always thought was a bit mental as we then had to dodge said slates on the way there. Personally, if I had known I would have to sing Kum Ba Yah for three hours accompanied by Mr Pearson on his accordion, a light concussion may have been a relief!

I should not say that. For my special Emily simply sat at her desk and the roof fell on her. My Mum was really affected by her death. She never spoke to me about it, as I was 11 too but, I always knew. I wish I had spoken to her as maybe it would have helped her but, probably I was too busy wishing that Patrick Swayze would suddenly like goofy 11 year olds. My Mum would have traded her life for Emily’s, I know this to be true! In actually fact, she was not that long behind her but, my point is, when my Mum was dying, she did not spend her time thinking about what she wished she had done with her life or what she regretted but, merely how she had lived it and that she would now be leaving it behind. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Multicoloured

Multicoloured

Multicoloured

Pink or blue? This week we find out! Actually though, this one is Rainbow! A Rainbow baby is a baby that has followed a loss and my little Rusty really didn’t fancy hanging around in the ether for long before he was given to me.

We are not going to tell anyone what we are having, but I will find it incredibly hard. For purposes of clarity I always refer to Rusty as a boy and so will continue to do so: I would like a boy, purely because I don’t have one. Naturally, I just want everything to be OK and this is the first concern.As a mother you worry from the moment they start to grow but, I will not be disappointed with a girl. After all I know how to deal with girls: I am an old pro at it really (OK! maybe not so old….shhhhhhh!!) I just have a horrible horrible feeling that as both of my daughters were just so amazingly good (in hindsight), that this one will be a terror. Completely in a good way of course! When they are 17 and staying in bed all day, I am sure I could then look back and laugh. Whatever happens, I have been blessed with Rusty and he is my (I should really say our) Rainbow that’s for sure!

It happened when I was at work. If I am honest, I had a niggling feeling from the moment I woke up but, I tried to put it down to wind! Sorry that was bad taste! I started bleeding and I remember thinking, ‘Please just let it be a blip, they say it happens, I have read it in magazines’: but, really I knew that this was no blip. I left and I drove home, worrying because I had left work early.I tried to focus on what I would cook for tea and what the evenings viewings would entail.Anything other than focus on what I knew was really going on in my body. I didn’t make tea and I didn’t watch the television, I just went to bed. I did this to try and forget for a bit, not breathing too heavily so as to keep it all inside. Keep it safe. And I willed everything that was there to keep growing, to hang on like a limpit with rigamortis. But, of course it didn’t and by the next day, it was pretty much completely gone. My baby had gone almost as quickly as it came.

Multicoloured

I didn’t feel like a real person again until I was given Rusty.

It was a small comfort that I could indulge in one of my favourite hobbies again: Pinot Grigio! However, it was nice to go back to the gym and work off some frustrations and of course concentrate on my flabby bottom. Which, coincidentally is now flabbier that Pavarotti’s bicycle seat! There was however, one major hindrance concerning the gym and basically moving/walking/cuddling and this was that my boobs felt like they were in a juicer! Three weeks this continued to the point where I was genuinely worried. Given my Mum’s history and the fact that the surface area of my boobs was ordinarily so small that I barely knew they were there half the time anyway.

I have given my doctor some real ‘stick’ in the past but, to be fair! After the whole Molar Pregnancy debarcle, he deserved to be prodded with it, very hard and in his nether region. He was very kind to me now though and he humoured me as no doubt he remembered me as the nasty complainant who had wanted to poke a stick in his nethers.( He did not know this of course, mainly because I have just said it now) He is my hero now though. I weed in a pot and went on my way to indulge in my favourite hobby again I expect. Incidentally, straight after,we met my Boyfriends old friend (again, he’s not old) and wife for coffee on their way down to Cornwall.They told us of their unexpected pregnancy and how they were also given one that was slightly more challenging than their others. This is course does not still play on my mind…no no no!!

Multicoloured

I am pretty sure my brother was the troublesome baby and I was the good one!

I suppose he called me around three hours later. ‘We had discussed your fertility earlier following your miscarriage Shushanah’, ‘I don’t really think that is an issue any more’. Blimey! That was quick!! I have absolutely no comprehension how it did not even cross my mind that I may be pregnant. I had tried to stay away from the internet regarding pregnancy after miscarriage but, what I did read was all pretty woolly. This bit is scientific: I must have ovulated exactly 11 days after and Rusty was given to us pretty much on the next love in. I know exactly what day it was too! I know! I don’t get out much!

And so to the pressing question: how are the hormones? Well, they are still having a party like its 1999! I continue to try and explain to my beloved what it feels like to be pregnant.Mentally I mean, not physically. Obviously, I am over the moon and incredibly happy with our Rusty. I do not, like some, feel like I am carrying an alien and despite the wobbly bottom, love showing off a growing bump. I do however continue to be frustrated with the feeling of sheer irrationality and irritability and what’s even more frustrating is that I do not care when I act this way because it comes from so far within the depths that if it did not come out, I would surely spontaneously combust. I am sure that most of the time, my boyfriend would prefer this option greatly.

Like a lot of people, I moan on Facebook sometimes and it helps for a while but, really I want to have a regular rant to the person closest to me. His obvious avoidance of any such instances merely compounds the feeling and not only do I get in a teenage strop but, I also feel like he does not actually want to know and does not care. I understand though that I probably would not want to talk to me either. I have to though as am kind of attached! Being pregnant can make you feel vulnerable, like you want to be looked after and anything other than 100% attention 24 hours a day just feels like the total opposite. And so I remain, horrible, selfish, unreasonable and absolutely no fun to be around but, I am doing quite an important job at the moment and it is easy to forget that. I am still me and I still have a big heart, which I want to use to its full capacity on a daily basis. It is also easy to forget that I will do anything for those I love and give everything I have for them…right the way to the end of that rainbow. I just might kick a few leprechauns on the way…..

A Diary For Rusty

A Diary For Rusty

A Diary For Rusty

All the relevant pregnancy applications and baby magazines suggest that at this time, I should start writing a diary about my pregnancy. In true defiance style, when anyone suggests I do something, I usually do something different. I also thought, if I wrote how I was really feeling at the moment and you by any chance saw it in later life, you would think I was a horrendously mean Mummy!

So, I will just get that part out of the way: how one tiny tiny thing can make you feel so utterly wretched is mind blowing to me. I have spent the last few weeks with my head pretty much wedged down the toilet, apart from the time I was sick on myself in the shower that is! I have gone off all food, nothing holds any interest to me and the idea of cooking tea for my family is comparative to Chinese water torture. Especially as there is no way I will be eating it. Most days, I have barely been able to lift my bottom from the sofa. Ironic really as mostly I have been watching ‘Come Dine With Me’.

Regardless of this, and however many times I have chastised you for sapping all my utter being, I wanted to make sure that you knew that we loved you. That we loved you already. You were a big surprise, and not because you were not wanted: quite the opposite. You see, your brother or sister had left us just a month before you started to grow and we could not quite believe how quickly you were sent to heal our hearts after they had been unable to stay.

I have never really considered my skills as a mother, I just am one. I don’t know if I am a good Mum or not. I can only love you and your sisters with all my heart and fight with everything I have for you, every day. That is all I can offer you: me. Know that I will always be here for you, even the times when you and your sisters are making me shout at you for painting the walls or shaving the dog but, through all these times I will always be a constant. Heaven forbid that I could not be around for you for as long as I want. As your Mum, in whatever form, I shall always love you and watch over and protect you forever.

You are going to be lucky enough to have one of the most amazing Daddy’s that you could ever imagine existed. Your Daddy is without doubt, one of the most spectacular people to ever walk the planet. Even if he chastises you, even if he disciplines, you cannot help but realise that he will always remain, loyal, strong and protective and although he would never admit it to anyone, he is one of the most sensitive souls and with one of the hugest hearts that you could ever find. As soon as you meet him, you will be lucky enough to see everything in him that I do and feel utterly blessed that you are able to end every day with him as part of your life. He will be strict and funny in equal amounts. Embarrassing you sometimes with his silliness but making you proud to call him your Daddy. I am utterly sure of this. I apologise in advance for the fact that he may well pick you up from school dressed as a banana! I have no control over him!

A Diary For Rusty

Our Rusty

As for your sisters, they are both completely bonkers! One more so than the other but, you will work out which is which when you meet them. Lani is the most thoughtful child, caring and sensitive and sometimes overly nervous but, with a heart as deep as the ocean. Flo is on her very own planet but, cannot stay mad or upset for long and will fill your life with cuddles and laughter. I wonder if you will have a little bit of both of them in you. They will be so proud of you and if they had half a chance, they would no doubt dress you up in their Build a Bear outfits. I will probably discourage that.

Unfortunately, you will never meet one set of your grandparents, as your sisters never have but, I will make sure that you know everything about them. They look out for you from somewhere else I can guarantee that. You will however have the pleasure of a Grandma who, like Mummy, will always be honest with you. She is strong but, kind and caring and you know that she must be pretty fabulous because she has made your Daddy who he is. You will share your secrets with her over cake (which she will make) and giggle with her as I have done many times over the years. She will be one of the strongest people in your life and be a huge influence in your growing years. Grampa will tut a lot, wear bright socks and moan about politics but, however much we all joke that he is old and miserable, his eyes will light up when you enter the room and contrary to what he says, he will always be sad to see you leave. As he shows with your cousins now. He will always be there for you: and smile when everyone else leaves the room!

So, until we can all meet you in person, we will continue to play you songs that we hope you will like and even though I love you madly, I will continue to grumble at you for making me sick. Particularly as I should now be enjoying spoonful’s of mustard and grated (only grated) cheese sandwiches.

Love from Mummy xxx