Tuesday, 7 February 2012

My Mum

Last week I blogged about my Dad and this week is naturally about my mum!

Where does someone start to talk about their mum.
As a young girl I looked to this woman, small built but with a strength and character that was simply enormous, and craved to one day be as strong and confident as my mum. I would walk around in her high heels and experiment with her make-up.
As I grew and hit the turbulence of adolesence I could turn to my mum with any one of the million confusing questions that swam around my head, and she would answer them as honestly as possible. To have a mother where no topic was taboo, no subject too difficult to discuss is a god-send to a very mixed up teenager.
My mum is the one responsible for our busy house. Naturally as a mother she worried about my brothers and I, and especially when we each reached the ages of being out all night socialising. My mum combated this worry by allowing my brothers and I an 'open' house. We knew that no matter what time of the day or night we could bring one or ten friends home with us, in all states of intoxication. It was enough to her that she knew where we were and that we were safe, so bringing our friends with us was simply seen as a insignificance. As such we all grew in a busy people filled home, and each have that same desire for our own children.
it is hard to measure what makes a good mother, but surely one whom their children can approach with any difficulties or problems is a mark of success, and this is exactly what we could do with my mum. Not only could we take our own troubles and predicaments, many times we took our friends issues too. We could never understand those children and teenagers who could not take problems to their own mum, or who hid things from them. If they couldnt turn to their own mother, we took them to ours. As a parent myself, I can only hope and pray that I can offer my own children this same sense of acceptance, love and security that my mum gave us.

My mum has the biggest heart of all. She would give her last to anyone, and her life to her family.
My mum is not as confident nor as self-assured as she once was and I wish that just for a moment she could see herself through my eyes, through the eyes of her daughter who has nothing but love and admiration for her and all she has achieved.

Perhaps the true aim of a mother is to provide their children with secure independence whilst always knowing that they can ask for help when needed, and knwoing who can provide that help.
In my darkest hours, both as a teenager and an adult, I am always transgressed back to a little child, and I simply want my mum.
No-ones hugs are as warm and as comforting as my mums.
No-ones words are as reassuring as my mums.
No-one has ever believed in me as much as my mum.

Maybe the measure of a mother is only truly understood when you become a mother yourself. it is as though life suddenly makes sense. I finally understand what she meant when she said she loved me more than life; I finally realise why she made decisions I argued against at the time; I have an awareness of all the sacrifices she made yet hid from us at the time; I can look back with regret and heartbreak at the times I hurt her, knowing now how much it would pierce my heart should my children do it to me. I can look back and say that we were not "The Waltons" but we were lucky and priveleged children to have everything our hearts could ever have desired, and to know that it was all given with nothing but love and adoration is a truly warming thought.

I love my mum and can only hope and pray that I can give my children the same sense of acceptance, love, and security that my mother has given me, and still does.

Thank you doesnt even come close to the gratitude I feel to my mum, for everything and for just being her. My mum berates herself for not being 'perfect' and can focus on negatives at times, she can belittle her parenting. In times like this I wish I could reach in her head and let her see the truth. Let her see that no matter what, she is the perfect mother for my brothers and I because she is our mother and there is no other person the world over I would rather call my mum, and no-one could ever, ever be all that she is to me.

I love you mum, and thank-you.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

My Dad.

I am sitting down to write after what can only be described as a hellish shift at work, bruised and tired yet yearning to write something and so I turn to a topic which can at best leave me speechless...my Dad.

My Dad is an ordinary man. An athlete in his younger years, he then worked hard as a police officer, and numerous other jobs after retiring from the force on ill health. Laterly his back and encroaching arthritis can cause him some pain and down days but he alwasy somehow musters through it. Granted, not without a lot of moaning and groaning but hey, who doesnt moan?
The hardest thing my dad has worked at his whole life however, is being a father. Not only to me but also to my three brothers, whom my mother had from her first marriage. He has raised the four of us all as his own and he and my mother have done a damn fine job of shaping the adults we have become.
Now in his retirement he welcomes the chance to do it all again in helping me to raise my children, to step into the huge void left by their own father by being a wonderful hands on Grandad.
To me that makes this ordinary man pretty extraordinary.

He is not a tall or super strong man, yet I know that throughout my years thus far, he has carried me many times, and I know that on his shoulders I can reach the stars.

A humble and unassuming man who has no idea how highly everyone regards him, and would brush off the notion that he is such a well respected man. He may not have a knighthood or title, but he is without doubt the noblest of all men.

He is friend to the vulnerable, and can bear no injustice to those innocents in the world. Gentle to man and beast alike, yet he would give his life to protect his own dear family.

Where would I be without my Dad? May I nor my children ever live to know the answer to such a question.

Who would show my son how to be a man, moreover, how to be a good man?
Who would walk a mile in the snow to see their grandchildren, ill with flu, only to kiss them goodnight and then walk the mile hike home again, alll because they wanted to see him before they went to bed?
Who would remind me every week to take my bins out?
Who would moan with me about politics?
Who would encourage my every whimsical dream and desire?
Who on earth would ever love me and be as dependable as my Dad?

Perhaps, the past few years have allowed me a certain perspective. It has been said many times that only when we become parents ourselves, do we truly understand and appreciate our own parents. This has certainly been true for me, with both my parents, but perhaps even more so my Dad.
My children have a father in name only. My son has no memory of him and my daughter has never even met him.
I have an utmost respect for any man who not only loves their children, but who embraces being a father, and who fights for their paternal rights. This respect comes from knowing a man who ran away from his responsibilities as fast and as far as his legs could take him.
This makes me appreciate my  own father in a whole new way.

In his retirement, I wish my father had an nice relaxing, easy and comfortable life. I know that at present this is not the case, and I bear guilt for that, but I also know that my Dad neither criticises nor condemns me for any of it.
To him, thats just what Dads do.

So this blog is for my Dad.
As a baby he held me close and rocked me to sleep.
As a young girl he sang me songs on his knee and let me sit on his shoulders.
As a teenager he blamed himself for my adolescent miseries.
As a young adult he supported every step I took towards my independence.
Now as a woman and a mother he still cuddles me if I cry; carries me when I am weak; wishes he can fix the troubles in my life; and supports my every decision.

Sometimes there are no words expressive enough to articulate your true thoughts and feelings so I will just have to settle for those which come the closest.

Thank you for everything Dad.
We love you x

Friday, 16 December 2011

Singulus Parentitis - an extract

I am feeling very scared and very excited this week as I published my first book on Amazon as an e-book!! Ever driven by the determination to change my children's lives for the better I am sucking up the fear and doing it anyway, and desperately hoping that it is well received!!
Anyway...here is a little extract to (hopefully) whet the appetite.....

Like most people, I love the special holidays that occur throughout the year. Those days when we celebrate the special people in our lives, exchange gifts, or simply get to dress up in ridiculous costumes for the night. Being a single parent, such occasions can develop a whole new meaning.

Mother’s Day and Fathers Days can assume connotations never before considered, and are certainly not as I would have imagined them to be as a parent. I always held that idealistic notion that Mother’s Day and my birthdays would consist of breakfast in bed, with hand drawn cards and a colossal bunch of flowers, only to be spoiled for the rest of the day by a loving husband and adoring children.
I blame the television adverts that portray such concepts, and my own naivety for believing them! It’s akin to the baby adverts that only ever depict a clean, quiet baby, happy to snuggle contentedly in your arms. I was shocked, and most aggrieved, when Callum turned out to be an unsettled, screaming baby, who regurgitated his milk and vomited all over me every hour. Where was my Johnsons and Johnson’s perfect baby?

Mother’s Day and my birthday are still made extremely special for me by my own parents and of course by Callum and Katie. I am given gifts and cards when my parents arrive and the children sing “Happy Mummy-day to you”, and I know as the children grow up then the responsibility for this will no longer fall to my parents.
Father’s day is made equally as special in our house, despite the obvious lack of a father!
Callum and Katie share this particular day with my father, and their Godfathers, Uncles Dominic and John. I encourage them to make as much of a fuss of the father figures in their lives, just as they would have done should their natural father have been here.
I could let this day slip by and simply focus on my own Dad, but you would have to be deaf and blind to miss the countless advertising campaigns. Shop window displays and posters herald the arrival of the day when the world celebrates their father. As such I feel it is important that Callum and Katie still have someone that they can focus their attentions on. This also helps, as at nursery, all the children are encouraged to make Father’s Day cards and I have explained to the staff that Callum should be encouraged to join in and not ostracised because he does not have a father at home.

I have lost count of the number of ‘Days’ that are spaced throughout the year, and I admit to indulging in only Mothers and Father’s Day. I chose to skip Grandparents Day; Nurses Day; Earth Day; National Day of the Cowboy and Tell an Old Joke Day!!

For the children’s birthdays I try and go all out. The living room is decorated floor to ceiling with banners and balloons and gifts are stacked in the middle of the floor, ready for Callum or Katie to burst through in the morning and savour the magical day everyone deserves! One year for Callum’s birthday I had some last minute shopping to do and my mum and dad helped with the numerous tasks I had to do before I could fall into bed that night. I arrived home, with the party supplies and a few last minute necessities, and stood in disbelief at my living room.
My mum was sitting shaking her head, and said “I wrapped the gifts…the rest is all down to your father!” I looked around at the ‘decorations’. I use the term loosely because there,  stuck in the middle of a wall were two barely blown balloons and a lopsided banner that had been cut so short that it read “PPY BIRTHD!”
I asked my dad if he was serious in his attempts, and he failed to notice the problem. I explained that my aim was a magical room filled with balloons and banners, like a grotto that oozes a party feeling. A dismal attempt that resembled octogenarian’s genitalia left me unimpressed, although the three of us were somewhat amused by it! As I rectified the decorations the excitement at imagining Callums face became palpable, and in the morning Callum was overwhelmed by it all.
As special as I try to make birthdays, there is a pathos attached to them. My children are a year older and I wonder where the time has gone. When a month can feel like an eternity to me, how can a year pass so rapidly? In the blink of an eye my baby boy is about to start school and my daughter is walking and talking!
I want to press the “Pause” button, and I would settle for a slow motion replay, anything that can keep my children as young and innocent as they are for just a little longer!

Fingers and toes crossed for a new chapter in our lives!!!


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Happy Wedding Day To You

My ex-husband is getting married again on Sunday.
Congratulations to him and his new wife, from the old wife and kids.

Im sure the children would have loved to give their father hugs and kisses on his big day, if they had been invited that is! 
To be fair to my ex, he is in Australia, so the children would  not have been attending anyway, but its the principle that gets me. He saw fit to send out invitations to every aunt, cousin and second cousin twice removed, knowing full well that none of them could afford to fly to Australia, therefore one can safely deduce that it was an act that served no other purpose than to simply be polite.
Why then did he not see fit to extend that politeness to his own children?
He did not need to invite me....I would probably have written a rage filled blog on the topic if he had invited me, but his children are different.

Perhaps it is not the done thing to have your children from your first marriage present at your next marriage?
Perhaps after all this time he has actually forgotten their names and who they are?
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps!

Truth is, I dont know whats going on in his head any more than I know how I feel on the whole topic.
I genuinely dont know how I feel that he is getting married again in the beautiful sunshine, surrounded by wealth and happiness......bitter,.... perhaps???

I do wish them both happiness and a lifetime full of love....the life that he and I could not have together. I just wish that he doesnt forget his children.
They may be a reminder to him and his new wife of a life she had no part in,  but they are here and always will be and he has to remember that, in more ways than a cheque every month.
Phonecalls to his children have become few and far between as he has "been really busy with the wedding!" - PRIORITIES!!!!!

I think Im happy for him; I think Im angry at him; I think Im a bit jealous; I think Im hurt for my children. I know Im confused about it all!!

Any answers as to what I should feel or how to manage the confusion of it all are welcomed!!!

Happy Wedding Day to my ex-husband.....May it be all you ever dreamed of!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Dear Santa Claus....

Dear Santa Claus,

I am a bit sceptical about writing to you with a list of wishes for the festive period, however, my two children assure me that you are the man to ask. They are adamant that as long as I have behaved myself over the last year then your powers to deliver my requests are endless. They put forward a very compelling agument so, as I have(unfortunately) been very good this year,  I'm going to give it a go and here's my list for Christmas!

I would like.......

i)A long lie. I dont want to sleep all day but if you could see fit to help my children sleep past 5am, just once throughout the year it would be great. I would be happy to settle for them being at least quiet at 5am, rather than waking up to bad singing and even worse drumming (yeah - meant to thank you for the drum kit you brought my son last year, cheers for that!)

ii) Sanity. I'd hate to be 'normal' and I realise that even you could not deliver a perfectly calm and rational family environment, but I often look at others who have that quality of 'sanity' and I think I'd like to experience that. It looks nice and they appear to have that control and capability to manage life that I am always seeking. You've seen me and my home so you'll know what I mean - I'd like to try living like the Brady Bunch for a day rather than One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest!

iii) A 36 Hour Day. I realise that this one may even be beyond you, but I thought I'd ask anyway. You see 24hrs is just not long enough. Well it would be if I didnt sleep, ever, but because there are only 24 hours then I get tired so need to sleep. If I had another 12 hours or so life would be a breeze,  I could work, write, play with the children AND do my housework! At the moment I cant quite fit it all in, so my house permanently looks like Beirut on a bad day and for reasons mentioned in request (i) I am in a state of constant sleep deprivation! I realise that this request may be better suited for Jesus, or God, but I didn't really want to bother them what with the upcoming birthday celebrations!!

iv)Money. This is a big one! Millions would be out of this world and hundreds of thousands would be mind blowing, but I'm not greedy and even a few hundred or perhaps a few thousand would be great. I'm not poverty stricken (yet!) but the children are becoming increasingly frustrated at my following them aound all day pulling their jumpers to stetch them and balancing their trousers precariously on their hips so that they at least look as though they fit! Oh, and my car is in need of a mjor overhaul, my daughter is developing PTSD with the explosions that happen everytime I start the engine, and I have my doubts if the little banger will survive the harsh Scottish winter!

v)A bestelling book. I'm working hard to try and change our lives at the moment. I got into a rut and am dragging myself out of it by attempting to write a book on being a single parent. Its poignant, and hopefully, funny! If you could go out your way to make it a bestseller then that would be great, and would hopefully take care of my previous request at the same time - that may save you a bit of time as I know you must be busy! I'm considerate like that!!

vi)Bladder Retention. I know having two children in three years was always going to take its toll on my bladder muscles, but I'm tired of having to pee all the time! I'v had to pee four times when writing this blog, and to be frank, its a pain in the neck when I'm out with the kids, who get most annoyed at having to watch me pee in every shop we go into! My three year old son suggested that I could wear a nappy to soft play recently so that he did not have to repeatedly come out to traipse to the toilet with me and his sister!! I considered it but thought I'd ask you first before resorting to such measures!

vii)Injectable Caffeine. It would make life much easier if I could have an injection of caffeine a few times a day. I need caffeine as much as I need air and water, but neither of my children are so keen to actually let me sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. The minute I sit down with the mug of hot nectar I turn into a magnet, drawing them to me with a sudden desire for cuddles and tickles and basically anything that involves them clambering all over me, whilst I sit there like a human climbing wall staring longily at the coffee I cant consume! I can sit and cherish my caffeine fix at nights when my cherubs are sleeping, but this then conflicts with requests (i) and (vi) as when I do eventually fall asleep I need to get up a dozen times to visit the bathroom!

So there it is Santa, what I would really love for Christmas! There are many many more things I would like such as a Caribbean holiday and a wild night of passion with Johnny Depp but I thought I would keep my list realistic!

I really hope you can find the time to even fit in one of my requests, but, if you can't then the handmade cards, half eaten then re-wrapped chocolates, and bunch of dead dandelions that I got last year will be treasured just as much!!

Kindest Regards,
Lisa x

Friday, 4 November 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why I Will Never Berate my Childrens Father.

My ex-husband was not a nice husband, and toward the end of our marriage became a man that I was frightened of and who insulted me daily.
As much as it hurt and the divorce was painful, I never openly berate him. My family despise him but they too know that if I ever heard them utter a negative about him in my home then I would have something to say about it.
Its not easy for me to do this, I have hurt and pain in me and a lot of anger too, but I will never openly berate him and here's the top ten reasons why....

1. He is the father of my two wonderul children. True, he is an absent father who now lives on the other side of the world and has never even met his daughter, but he is their father nonetheless. They have the right to believe that he is a good man who loves them. Telling them this offers them security and comfort that is beyond my understanding.

2. I once loved him very deeply and out of all the hurt and anguish came the two most beautiful gifts in the whole world, my children, and I acknowledge that without him, I would not have my children, and therefore I am grateful, not resentful.

3. He may not be the perfect father but he in his own way is being all the father he can by sending some money every month and remembering birthdays and Christmas. In years to come I will always be able to tell my children that their father may never forgot them entirely.

4. I dont have the energy to hate him or to spew forth insults about him. What is in the past is in the past, and I have much better things to focus my energy on......like managing two toddlers everyday!

5. He does love his children, I knwo in his heart that he does, and despite not being present in their day to day lives, he has not forsaken them completely.

6. "It does not matter who my father was; It matters who I remember he was" - my children will grow remembering a father who loved them from afar, but loved them all the same. Hopefully this may go a long way to preventing the hurt and anger that they may feel when they reach adolescence and adulthood.

7. I maintain my dignity and self-respect, long ago lost but now regained, by holding my head high and facing what life throws at me as a single parent, without bitterness and contempt for anyone else.

8. I love my father with my heart and soul, and I know that my ex-husband does not reflect fathers worldwide; that he is the minority, and I want to encourgae my son to grow into a wonderful father himself one day. I can achieve this by not criticising or condeming his own fathre or men in general.

9. To spend time and energy berating their father would be to make an issue that he is absent in their lives, and I do not want to do this. They know in their own little hearts and souls that something is missing without me making an issue out of it. Life is what it is, and I strive everyday to make life a better place for my little family. None of us need reminding that their father is not here, so we simply accept it.

10. Again, he if the father of my children and children deserve innocence and every child deserves to believe that their parents are the most wonderful, powerful beings on earth. I am not going to be the one to take that away from my children. It would be no less cruel than telling them that Santa was dead!!

So there you are, the reasons why despite the hurt and pain, I am fiercely protective of my childrens opinion of their father, whilst I can still influence it. They will grow into adults and form their own opinions on their fathers absence in their lives but for now, I can provided them with a little security and comfort that comes from the belief that they have a good father who loves them more than words, he simply works far far away so cannot see them.

It appears to be working so far......I just hope its the right way to be and only time will tell!!!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Guilty Nightshifts!!!

It's just left half past four and I am trying to mentally and physically motivate myself for working night-shift for the next two nights! It's not working - my get up and go for nursing got up and went a long time ago and I am struggling to find the enthusiasm I once had!!

The children have been safely deposited at my mothers for the night, and after nightshift I will pick them up and try to spend some time with them tomorrow before having to then drop them at my fathers for another overnight stay, whilst I go back to work!!
All my shifts are tiring, but nightshifts come with a self-imposed sleep deprivation! Out of guilt at being away all night I can never bear to come home and then sleep all day - the guilt would suffocate me, and my parents do welcome the respite when i stay awake to spend some time with the children!!

I alwasy thought I knew what it was to feel guilty.....dear God, the word takes on a whole new dimension when you become a parent. Now, I feel guilty about EVERYTHING!!! I feel guilty about the things I do and the things I dont do, and even the things I thought about doing!!

So my next few days will be spend in a sleepless state, but at least I will be able to fit in some quality time with the kids and my parents will have some needed rest time!

And I can looking forward to a birthday party on Saturday - one of my closest friends little boy turns two today and so Saturday will see us all joining in the hysteria that is uniqe to a room full of toddlers loaded on sugar!!! By that point sleep deprivation may have given way to hysteria, and I may be the most manic of them all!!

Do you feel guilty? Did it change when you bacame a parent?
What is the main thing that induces parent-guilt within you?
How do you manage it?