Am having to take a day off blogging today. OH has man flu. He is on death’s door and cannot survive without my undivided attention for another minute… He has ‘never been this sick before’ (since the last time). He is too weak to even make a phone call to cancel his hair cut. Poor boy! He will, of course, be dripping all over everything all weekend, then get up a six on Monday morning and go to work regardless. MEN!
Category Archives: Family
There’s nothing quite like being home again after a long trip.
- Feeling safely close to my loved ones
- Being able to call out ‘good night’ to my son and have him respond in kind
- Waking in the night and hearing my husband snore
- My cat – who is yet to remember how cross he is that I left him for so long
- Mmmmmm….. my own bed!
- *sigh* a long hot bath
- My husband’s cooking. Oh boy!
- Drinking water straight from the tap. Glorious!
- A delightful stroll around my garden to survey the growing seedlings I planted before I left
- The cleanliness of it all – thanks to my wonderful cleaner who came the day before I returned
So, here’s what my teenage son imagines my upcoming expedition will be like:
That’s it! No more work until I get back from my elephant expedition to Nepal!
Although I have so many other things to do before I’m free to go with a guilt-free conscience that my head feels like it might explode.
Flight issues resolved
On the plus side, I have at last managed to make the necessary changes to my flight from Delhi to Kathmandu so I will be able to make my transfer – the departure of the original flight was brought forward by half and hour leaving me with only an hour to get from one flight to another. Not a likely prospect! However, having has absolutely no luck trying to change the flights yesterday, despite hours on the phone to many different people from here to India, today the impossible was achieved in one swift, phone call for a total charge of only £6,
This experience was a real lesson learned for me. What might seem impossible one day, can be easy the next. Never give up!
Financial crises averted
Additionally, a simple one sentence email popped into my inbox today that casually averted what had previously looked like potential disaster regarding the state of our family finances in the coming month. My husband has just started a new job which made it appear that I would have to spend the last two working days before I leave scrabbling around trying to rearrange all our direct debits to match a new pay date. However, following a sleepless night of worry last night that simply turns out not to be the case. Yippee! I can rely on the bills being paid in my absence without any further input from me.
And then there’s all the ‘other family stuff’ which has popped up in need of my attention before departure. All in addition to the routine laundry, cooking, house stuff. The variety and intensity of some of these matters was – at times – enough to make me want to weep. But, it is all slowly turning out well in the end (famous last words – why did I just say that!)
I guess what all this ‘pre-expedition hassle’ means is that I’ll have nothing to do when I get home…
LOL If only that were likely to be the case!
Don’t you just LOVE being a housewife and mum? It makes you SO IMPORTANT.
Do you remember your first love?
It’s an interesting question and one to which my immediate response is; “Stupid question! Of course I do. It was, after all, my first love. How could I possibly forget it?” Then I start really thinking about it and begin to wonder. Who was my first love?
The first love triangle
Was it the beautiful firey-haired Roderick McCrae? The first three years of primary school were spent fighting for his attention with my then nemesis, Tracy.
Roderick’s dad worked on the cruise ships and was rarely home. When he did come home, he would splash out on his only son. Roderick’s birthday parties were legend! Only once was Roddy’s mum ever daft enough to include both Tracy and I on the invite list. I shall never forget the joy of attending the party without her a year later. Nor will I forget the pain of being stuck at home the following year knowing that she was sitting next to him in the pass the parcel ring! *sob*
Was Roddy my first love? I used to yell that I loved him, and that he was ‘mine!’ *stamp foot* into Tracy’s face almost daily.
When my mother told me he’d been killed in a tragic motorcycle accident at the young age of 21 I wept, but I was 38 when I first heard and had had no idea until that point.
The first… er…
Or Jimmy Green? The mysterious raven-haired ‘new boy’ who turned up half way through primary year 4 and stole my claim to being the best artist in the year. I was sickly jealous of the little running men he was famous for doodling. Everyone else loved them. I tried my damnedest to copy his comic style only to discover that my art was limited to being ‘technically good’ rather than compelling. I hated him to the point of obsessive fascination.
Jimmy was the son of a rigger. His dad would be on land for one precious weekend every month and had somehow still managed to build the house they lived in, brick-by-brick, all by himself. Jimmy had a pet jackdaw, wore socks on his hands in winter instead of gloves, and bit his blisters.
Jimmy Green showed me his thing!
The first elopement
Or was my first love Timmy O’Dea? My first official ‘boyfriend’. We met during Year One at secondary school. Together we ran away and spent the afternoon snuggled together in a sleeping bag eating refreshers and stealing mutually first kisses as the rain fell around us.
In our romantic bid to escape the oppression of our terribly non-tragic lives, we had made it all the way to the local park. The sleeping bag got soaking wet and very muddy and, later that evening, when I slunk back into my house, I had to hide it under my bed so my mother wouldn’t see it. I made it just in time for dinner of course. The sleeping bag was discovered a few days later… Timmy and I lasted about a week and a half.
The first ‘I love you’
Most in my family would of course pinpoint Simon Thwaite as my first boyfriend. At 15 it was the right time to be having a boyfriend and we were together for a whole year and one month so he sticks in the family memory. He is particularly well-remembered for wrapping himself in a massive box tied in a cliché red satin ribbon and giving himself to me on my 16th birthday. I was mortified when he then presented me with my first sexy underwear to unwrap in front of my entire family.
Simon popped my cherry soon after that sweet 16th. But that’s OK ‘cos I got his in return…
Together we explored our budding sexuality in a safe, mutual way over a long, drawn out period – an approach I would recommend to any young girl. One lesson I would pass on in hind sight however would be to make sure you shut the bedroom door – even if you think his parents are out.
We both said our first ‘I love you’s’ to one another and truly believed we meant it at the time.
The first passion
However, despite the fact that I wouldn’t change my introduction to sex for anything, if push came to shove, I would have to say that my first true love was probably Nick Thornley.
I was 17. He was 18.
I was in our local pub when some numpty poured cold beer down the back of my neck. I turned around to give the idiot a verbal thrashing and found myself staring into the most penetrating ice-blue eyes I had ever seen. I believe that every molecule in my entire being momentarily broke apart under his gaze. From then on I had to concentrate my entire attention on the tiny bubble that surrounded him, squeezing myself into it so that I might take residence in his soul, just to stay in one piece. The rest of the world simply vanished and for the next year and a half he was my entire existence.
Nick held me in his spell for a long time. Years after he had smooshed my heart into a trazillian pieces by sleeping with another girl during his first year at university, I still compared each and every man I ever met to him. However, even this great passion was something my heart was able to move on from eventually.
I guess, the reason why I’m sharing this is in the hope that, if some young person with a broken heart is reading this now they might realise that, however much it hurts now there is always another chance at love. It may be different, but that does not make it any the less important in the long-term. Love has many perspectives. New experiences can be just as satisfying. There’s generally more to come.
My cats are part of my family. They also perform a really important function…
…there presence allows me to talk to myself when I’m alone without feeling like I’m halfway to the nuthouse.
My cats pay their rent
When I’m alone I really do tend to chat almost constantly with the furry cushion sleeping on my legs. Despite the fact that mog is fast asleep and has his back turned to me, I’ll happily chatter away as I stroke his fur. Which is more than slightly odd as I wouldn’t ever consider chatting to my sleeping husband – I’m far more likely to find myself quietly plotting ways to dull his snores.
My cats pay their rent. They are my sounding board. They de-stress me just by being around. They never talk back or argue. They are easy to please and able to look me in the eye and purvey positive vibes. They are a cure. They really are.
I will wait!
They really do earn their keep. Not that they take a great deal of ‘keeping’ from my part mind you. I simply ensure their bowls are full of the dry pellets they eat (and love) and train the men around me to provide a constant supply of fresh water.
My cat (rather than my husband’s cat who tends to pop round when he needs five minutes of love then disappear again rather swiftly) will only drink from a glass. Preferably one that has been freshly topped up. Most particularily a glass that was filled for the pleasure of a human being… stolen water is much prized. However, he also has the ability to get my husband to refresh his water at will. He simply sits next to it and looks at me with an ‘I will wait’ expression. I will then pick up the glass, pass it to my OH, and point out that the cat is thirsty. The good man never hesitates. And, if he’s not around, my sons are also trained to respond in a similar fashion.
We all know which side our bread is buttered when it comes to the price of feline companionship.
I rather like Saturdays. Oddly, this is no longer because I can lie in and sleep away the late night hangover from the Friday before. Instead, I now rather enjoy getting up at a reasonable time and playing the game of getting my chores done before noon so I can have the rest of the weekend free to do hobbies such as blogging, walking and photography. How sad is that? If you’d asked me to imagine this possibility 15 years ago I would have considered it for about a second before rolling around on the floor laughing.
I don’t enjoy folding laundry. Who would? But I have taught myself not to stress over having to do it and instead I stick something enjoyable on the TV that doesn’t require my full visual attention (repeats of Friends is perfect), drag the coffee table in front of me, stick the clean laundry basket to my left, make a cup of tea, then slowly work my way through the pile until it’s done. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday morning.
It always amazes me how many pants and socks my men get through in a week. They must have at least three bums and twelve feet each! I love them. I really do. And because I love them I am willing to touch their used underpants and socks in order to shove them unceremoniously into the washing machine each week. There are however limits! And over the years I’ve made a rule that if a sock comes out of the wash still screwed up in a little ball it is not my job to unball it… Ick! I used to. So I know what it’s like to pull a tight ball of man sock apart and have sandy, fetid foot dust dumped onto my lap. So, sometime in the middle of last year I declared; ‘never again’! And balled up socks now get placed on the relevant pile of otherwise freshly folded laundry, to be deballed by their offending owners.
Then comes the joyous moment when I call upon them to pick up their clean laundry and point out that their piles are, as usual, twice as high as mine. ‘Why do you all wear so many clothes?’ and ‘If you had to wash them, you would find a way not to have to wear three pairs of socks every day!’. It’s a very enjoyable moment from a woman’s perspective and I revel in it. Only once have they ever dared to point out that my clothes tend to need dry cleaning. It is a simple right, I’m sure you’ll agree, that she who does the laundry gets to rag those that create the laundry a minimal amount in return! I have taught them well. They grovel and sing my praises almost as a Pavlovian response to seeing a pile of folded clothes.
…and more reward!
In addition to my right to rag, another way I get through the laundry job is by arranging some ‘me time’ upon completion. Currently this is an undisturbed half an hour in front of the sitcom ‘New Girl‘ (It’s ‘Jess!!’; love it ) recorded on Sky Plus, and my version of a ‘heathy’ cream tea: a fresh cup of tea (of course) and crumpets slathered in low-fat Philadelphia and good quality jam. Usually this is raspberry but we’d run out this morning so I had to put up with blueberry which turned out to be rather nice. Now, this may not seem like a massive reward but after a morning sorting and folding a million pairs of socks and pants its sheer heaven!
Of course the only reason I have chosen to use Saturday mornings as a time to fold laundry is to give myself a good excuse not to have to do anything crazy like go to the gym – which is how my wonderful OH spends his time – the smug git!
Here’s to Saturdays!
No one has compensated me in any way for writing this post or to saying particular things in it. On the other hand, I remain open to offers!
Today is my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday! So I should like to sing out loud:
Happy birthday to you mum-in-law!
How amazing is that. 70! What a great age and what a great woman.
I know I’m supposed to dislike my mother-in-law, or at least disagree with her a lot. But she’s just not like that and never has been. My mum-in-law is genuinely one of the loveliest people I know and, as far as I’m concerned, today she deserves the world to stop briefly and take a good look at what a good woman she really is.
She spent her life teaching primary school kids. See – already she’s one of those angels who helped nurture generations of young people. She raised two healthy boys (one of whom I married – smart of me) and helped raise two healthy step-daughters. She is a wife, a mother, a grandmother… I believe the grandchild count is about to reach nine… and, of course, a mum-in-law several times over. She is also just a really, really good person who seems to always put the feelings of others first and cares greatly about the world and the well-being of everyone in it. She is the kind of person it is easy to turn to for advice and the kind of grandma that even the grumpiest teenager looks forward to spending time with.
My mum-in-law is an easy woman to love and admire!
When we first met
I distinctly remember meeting my husband’s mother for the first time. My OH and I had been together for only a few weeks when I was formally invited to meet her. I dressed in a posh blouse and ankle-length skirt (the interview outfit), put my hair up and wore makeup. This was probably the last time she has ever seen me in anything other than jeans – except the wedding dress of course!
Before we had gone, Ben had told me how it was his mother that had encouraged him to break up with his ex after they had been together for three years, explaining to him that if he had no intention of marrying her he should let her go and stop wasting the best years of her life. So I knew this was an important meeting. These parents were far too sensible and would guide my beloved towards doing whatever they felt was the right thing. And I had a child from a previous relationship. I had to make a good impression if they were to see any sense in his staying with me!
I remember sitting rather primly on the couch being asked gentle questions that helped me both relax and feel at home. It wasn’t too unlike being in my own parents’ house. I was made to feel comfortable from the beginning. Ben’s mum did, indeed, ask me about my son but they were good questions – ones I would have asked myself in her position. They were caring questions and I respected her for asking them.
I have no idea what advice she gave Ben following that meeting. But he didn’t wait long to ask me to marry him and it was very easy to say yes. Not only was I in love with him but I loved his family from the outset. I have always felt honoured to be a part of it and being part of today’s celebrations feels special too.
So, stuff all the traditions about mother-in-law being the relation you try to avoid. Mine doesn’t just break that mould – she turns it completely inside out.
Happy Birthday Chris!
The more honest you are with your children, the more they will trust you unequivocally. Just like anyone else really. Honesty really does breed trust, better relationships and happier children.
While I covered this topic in a previous blog, Say it as it is, I believe in the concept firmly enough to wish to repeat myself.
Several times in the past, I have found myself being able to help my children when they’ve found themselves going through a tough time by letting them know that I myself had suffered a similar negative experience when younger. Most often, by admitting to my own mistakes, fears, worries and weaknesses, I’m able to help them understand and cope with their own situation better.
Sometimes, just knowing that ‘to err is human’ and even your own parents ‘erred muchly’ can help the process of self-forgiveness and recovery from a difficult situation.
I believe that any need to be seen as infallible as a parent is redundant in a happy home.
I also wished to share some really interesting articles covering other people’s opinions on this important topic:
- Being honest with your children means better relationships
- Parenting Choices – Being Honest With My Kids
- Being Honest with Your Children About Your Past
- “Level with your child by being honest. Nobody spots a phony quicker than a child.”
- Being Honest With Children
Do you remember what it’s like to be a kid?
Occasionally I find myself harking back to my youth and lamenting days gone by. However, if I think about it all long enough I do actually begin to remember how tough it really was..
How it really was
It’s all too easy to allow your memories to light upon the joys of childhood. Freedom from the burden of adult responsibilities. The excitement of endless discovery. So much to learn. So much to experience. So many first times.
But we must then filter out our hindsight. When we were living those experiences, discovering life and learning new things, were we really appreciating them the same way we do now when we look back? You only have to bring to mind a classroom full of kids staring out of the window, heads propped up on hands, that wistful faraway expression in their eyes to suddenly remember what growing up was really all about.
The deathly boredom of endless hours at school. The suffocating limitations of being young. The endless years simply waiting to become an adult. The fear of the unknown. The terror of social expectations. The pain of social rejection. The torment of hormones. The pressure from peers. The pressure from parents. The pressure placed on yourself, by yourself.
Suddenly I feel rather glad to be 40 something!