The Life and Times of Dog.

Do you ever feel like you’ve just got too much going on?

‘I’ve so much on,’ you say to a work colleague ‘I can’t think straight, I’m so tired.’

Your hands rise up to nestle your chin and face, mid conversation, and then inadvertently, you pull the skin around your eyes down towards you.

It comforts you somewhat, but also emphasises your point, to yourself.

‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take.’ you whisper, maybe mutter.

‘It’ll be ok.’ they smile softly ‘things will get easier.’

It is a platitude, a time limited response, and you nod in agreement.

Things will get easier, they always do don’t they?

The conversation drifts off and you slouch away, maybe back to your To Do list.

Maybe your baby kept you awake all night last night coughing, or maybe you’ve had a couple of nights of broken sleep because your back hurts, maybe your mum is poorly and you are worried for her, or maybe you are angry at your other half after an argument where some really hurtful abuse was thrown, and couldn’t sleep.

You are exhausted, just not feeling yourself at all.

An internal game of Jenga has begun in your mind, it makes the usual day to day routine start to feel unmanageable, you realise you are just waiting for the next ball to drop.

Let’s add to this.

A situation you were worrying about has not ended well.

It has set you back even further.

Now, not only are you tired, the familiar tingles of anxiety have begun exploding around your heart and mind.

You shouldn’t have handled that with so much emotion!

But it was because you were so tired.

You know this.

But…

If only you hadn’t said the things you said, the way you said them! Maybe it would have ended with a better outcome.

You remember you need to go out and pick up some bread, you also need to phone the DVLA and sort out your car tax, oh and also? You need to do this without spending any money.

You are worried about how little you have left to spend on christmas presents.

You don’t want to let the people you love down.

You take a deep breath.

Now you can’t find the bloody letter with your MOT details on.

You are going to need to go to the post office too.

If only you hadn’t said those things, the way you said them.

Maybe it wasn’t heard, though, the way you are thinking it was heard.

You replay the conversation over and over in your mind, while reaching for the dog food.

‘If only I had said it this way instead.’

You hold the bowl you just washed for the dog, in your hands, and pause, before putting it back in to the cupboard.

Your thoughts have been hijacked by the way you reacted.

But you only reacted that way because you were tired.

Your hands go to your face again.

Regret, a tinge of embarrassment even, makes your toes curl.

Why did you reply that way?

Shame.

Embarrassment turning to shame racks through you, you dither, trying to remember what you were in the middle of doing!!

What must they think of you?

Why do you always let yourself down this way?

You play the scenario, back to back on repeat, and even though you try hard to distract yourself, you aren’t able to, so continuously feel the sting as it draws to a close, and it always reaches the same conclusion.

You looking foolish.

You need to get going!

Look at the time!

You dry your hands.

You need to find your purse.

The phone rings.

You are just so tired.

What now? Who needs me now?

You politely answer the questions the guy from Cancer research asks you, while you run around the house searching for…

What the hell was it you were searching for?

‘Sorry, what were you saying then? Yes. Yes. I already donate…’

An hour later after putting petrol in your car, as you try to pay the cashier, you remember what it was you were searching for… and didn’t find.

A door closes in your mind.

Too much noise.

Too much white noise in here!

Not enough sleep, too much din.

I am such a let down, a fool.. I just need some sleep!

SO.

My question to you is,

Have you ever felt like this?

Drained, emotionally exhausted, scared but not sure what of, worried about things out of your control, anxious all of the time, filled with a niggling shame, concern over self image because you’ve put yourself down so much you are sure everyone else can see your many flaws, overtired, frayed around the edges, never being able to escape the noise?

Just for a couple of days maybe?

Maybe a little longer even.

Times when you haven’t had enough sleep, so end up feeling like you can’t cope, feeling like you couldn’t handle or bear just one more thing going wrong today.

It’s awful isn’t it?

Like sitting on a a merry go round, the issues, thoughts, feelings and emotions, a blur of colours as the days whizz past you, accompanied by the sound of your racing heart.

Thank goodness we don’t feel like this all of the time.

Thank goodness we can sleep it off.

Thank goodness it usually clears up after a few days, like the condensation being wiped off a bathroom mirror, and we get ourselves back.

We get through it, slow down and step away from the edge, maybe we surround ourselves with friends, we sleep better and ultimately usually we wake up different, more able to deal, at some point.

We wonder what our problem was eventually, it all ended up ok!

One way or another, like the tides of life, it recedes doesn’t it?

For most of us.

Thank god.

But what if it didn’t?

What if sleep didn’t help?

What if you felt like this, your life was lived this, day in day out, all of the time?

What if the merry go round sped up, instead of stopping, and grew faster and more violent, and eventually it got so rapid, you couldn’t see straight. What if you were desperate to get off, anyway you could, but didn’t know how?

That.

Is Depression.

‘I am just so tired and always seem to be’ your friend sighs ‘I am exhausted. I can’t think straight anymore. I just don’t know how much more of this I can cope with. It never ends.’

You may want to choose your next words a little more carefully.

Because remember, your worst day, may be her every day.

And that black dog may still need feeding.

Viva La Vida.

It came over me quickly.

One minute I was lying on the living room floor, struggling to build a Nasa space rocket out of lego, having fun with Addy, like any other typical saturday evening, and the next, everything had shifted.

That is literally the only word that fits what happened.

And it happened so forcefully, it’s kind of left me a little dazed.

There was a knock on the window, signalling somebody was at the door.

Both Addy and I stopped our laborious building and with some surprise, turned our heads towards the window.

At the exact same moment The Irish One noisily thundered down the stairs at speed, like you would if someone was at the door unexpectedly, belting out a token ‘Who could this be?’

He opened the front door with a flourish.

The fruuuooossssh of sound as the bristles attached to the bottom of the door swept across the laminate flooring dangerously close to my head, was real.

The cold air hitting my face as the door was opened, letting in not only the night air but the gilded light from the street lamps outside, made me sit up quickly.

It was at that moment my heart filled to the absolute brim and I was overcome with… something.

A feeling I don’t really know how to describe.

It wasn’t relief, as relief didn’t feel appropriate.

Maybe…. Warmth.

Yes warmth, warmth is the right word.

A warmth I haven’t felt for a very very long time.

A very powerful and overpowering warmth.

A warmth I miss.

I knew who it was.

Some deep part of me had registered who it was, milliseconds prior to there even being a rap on the window.

A smile that emanated from my soul, rippled out, encompassing my whole being, slowly and precisely took over my face, I felt it there so real, I wanted to lift my hand to my cheek to check.

‘Oh,’ The Irish one mumbled ‘it’s only your brother.’

‘Charming!’ came the vibrant response as he stepped in and the door was shut behind him.

I felt the floor vibrate as it slammed shut, I heard the bristles again, was aware of every single sound, every single smell, absorbing every moment.

‘Hey’ i heard myself say completely nonchalantly, ‘You want a cuppa?’

‘Na.’

I watched him as he wandered passed Addy, taking in the lego, the scene of domestic chaos, smiling his infectious smile.

‘Just popping in on my way to work, to see my favourite nephew.’

This is where I stood up to go bang the kettle on, knowing this ritual.

Knowing this ritual.

He says no, I make him one anyway.

And he, taking over the room with his welcomed presence, like always, throws himself backwards on to the couch and says ‘Whats behind number 4, Addy Door?’

Addison jumps up and runs towards him, brandishing a lego train, a shrieking tickle fight ensues.

I have no idea why he would say this, but I actually heard him say this.

What’s behind number 4 Addy door?

It was so normal.

It felt so natural, almost mundane.

‘Mummy?’

….no no no, stay in the moment, stay in the moment…

‘Mummy?’

And I am back.

My elbow is sore from lying tense at a funny angle, I have not moved, Addison is staring at me curiously.

I try to zone out again, remaining completely immobile, barely daring to breathe, wanting so desperately to cling on and immerse myself back in to this alternate reality, if only to see what happens next.

I mean I could actually hear him, I can still smell him, I mean, I can actually still smell him.

Like watching a film, living a photo reel.

‘Mummy.’

I cling on, try to struggle back for as long as I can, and then reluctantly and with a small sigh, I let go.

I turn my head slowly towards the couch.

A small beam of deluded hope catching my breath.

It is empty.

Of course it is empty.

‘Yes Addy.’

‘You’ve broken our rocket.’

I look down in to my hands and through blurry tears, see that he is right.

I sit up, swallowing it all down.

Somewhere between the front door opening and my dead brother sitting down for a cup of tea, so mundane, I have in fact lost contact with the lunar module. It is sitting dejectedly in three pieces on the floor.

‘Never mind, I can build it again.’

I shake my head in disbelief, still feeling the warmth, now mingled with acute sorrow, and limber up my mummy muscles.

‘It’s ok Addy! It wasn’t moon ready! Do you think we need longer landing legs?’

‘Yeah!’

The next few hours pass in a blink of building, dropping, frustration (bloody lego!) and imagination.

Could it be possible though, do you think?

That in an alternative life somewhere, my brother stopping by for a bru on a saturday night, could really be that mundane, that utterly joyous?

… I mean, I could actually feel his presence.

It can only have been seconds…

Or could it be something as mundane as medication, messing with my hormone levels, sending crazy signals to broken wiring.

Either way, it has got me contemplating, while pulling tiny embedded pieces of lego out of my arse cheeks, in an effort to tidy up every single piece, what if we all have different versions of ourselves, living alternative lives somewhere, based on different choices we all made in the past?

What if somewhere, right now, he is still sitting on my couch, burning his lip on my weak tea?

What if I had gone to him ten years ago, when he rang, instead of choosing to live in denial, as I didn’t know how to deal?

What if I hadn’t pushed him away, just as hard as he pushed me?

What if I had known?

What if I had acted like a sister, instead of…

Well.

I don’t suppose any of it matters now really, does it?

Because I live in this life.

And in this life, he is dead, and always will be.

I didn’t go when he rang.

I can’t ever change that.

He won’t ever plonk himself down on my couch and play rough and tumble with his nephew will he?

There will never be a knock on the window.

I need to turn off Polar Express and put a wash on.

I also need to stop standing on lego!

My feet are in pieces.

I can still feel the warmth he brought in with him though, and maybe that is all that matters.

Maybe that is all that matters.

‘One minute I held the key, next the walls were closed on me. And I discovered my castles stand, on pillars of salt, and pillars of sand.‘ – Viva La Vida, Coldplay.

Yours Sincerely,

Dear 45 year old me,

I am writing to you today, as I urgently need your help.

I am limited in ways I am hoping you aren’t.

I am sure you have managed to achieve all things I haven’t been able to yet.

Like a quiet mind, a calm heart and skinny thighs.

25 year old me would have appreciated some hindsight right about now, I know this for a fact.

She is in a right mess.

She has a tiny waist, and no stretch marks, but her brother just died.

She will be ok in time I guess, but she just can’t see it right now.

I wish I could tell her about her son.

And to stop drinking.

I wish I could also tell her to stay away from the pilot with the wandering dick too.

I wish I could tell her she is brave and beautiful in a way I will never be again.

I wish I could show her a snapshot of herself.

I wish I could be there for her, and forgive her, for her mistakes.

Unfortunately I can bring myself to do either.

She is headstrong and stubborn and she will learn to live with her regrets her own way, I guess.

Or continue to be tortured by them.

The same way I am.

But please, 45 year old me, could I please have some kindness and guidance from you in the meantime, while she catches up?

I need to know how it turns out, ok?

So I can learn to enjoy the now.

Are we doing ok?

Does 14 year old Addison still love me?

Did I mess him up?

Is he a surly and resentful teenager because I never let him leave the house?

Did he learn to stop brandishing his pencil like a dagger?

Did he stop rhyming Duck with inappropriate words in assembly?

Is he well rounded?

Does he understand your reasons for trying to protect him against evil teenage girls who will break his heart?

What about you?

I hope you are still not a disappointment to yourself.

I hope you are happy some of the time, if not all of it.

I hope you found the courage to move on from the demons you are facing now.

I hope you can look back at the last ten years and know you made the right choices.

You are 35 years old right now, with a heart that tries to love you, and a brain that likes to keep you small.

You try to be kind to yourself, you just don’t know how.

You do go to James for therapy every saturday though, but then you beat yourself up for wasting time on you, when you could and should be enjoying every second, while you still can, playing with trains.

You can’t decide if another baby will make your life more fulfilling, or destroy it completely.

I think we both know how that one is going to turn out.

Do we?

I hope the decision you made is the right one.

Actually, can you just tell me the decision please?

Could you just tell me what the hell to do?

And also, have you tried Botox yet?

I think you probably should.

Addison is 4 years old and fast asleep, by the way.

The Irish One is downstairs watching football.

Does that ever change?

Doodle the Poodle is stretched out by your side, balls to the wind, fast asleep.

Is Doodle still alive?

My beautiful companion.

Yesterday you took your family for a ride on the Polar Express.

You managed to silence the voices in your head all the way up to Newcastle, and we all sat in the cold on a park bench, eating bacon Panini’s out of hot wrapper’s, while mostly arguing about money.

It was lovely.

Addison met Father Christmas for the first time, too.

He was so excited, you thought the smile was going to jump right off his face and melt your heart.

When asked if he is a good boy, he was overwhelmed in to silence.

He stuttered and gasped, looking to you for confirmation.

You didn’t know how to sum it up, so you said the only thing you know to be true.

You told Santa he had saved your life.

Beneath his big and bushy white beard, Father Christmas’ eyes grew wide.

You had to look away.

There is only so much mental illness you can subject on a guy dressed as santa I suppose, before things start to get uncomfortable.

And as if to prove my point, I did catch the Irish One rolling his eyes.

It’s true though, he did.

Try to remember that when he’s plodding about listening to your music of the future.

Addison wants a lego train for christmas this year, you only want him back.

The years seem to be falling to the ground so quickly, like feathers from your broken wings.

He is growing up too fast, no longer able to spend all his time with mummy, he started school this year, and although he seems to love it, you have been struggling in letting him go.

You have cried and snotted on the school receptionist on two separate occasions.

Once because you were emotionally drained from a morning spent listening to his crying pleas to stay home with you like he used to, and you were desperate to keep him, but knew you couldn’t, and once because the Irish one hadn’t told you about him having his first year school photo taken, and you thought you had missed ordering it.

She consoled you both times, saying she understood how hard it was for working mum’s.

This made you cry harder.

You are meant to handle it all.

You just want to be a mum.

Life doesn’t feel very fair right now.

And you beat yourself up for even admitting that too.

The school mum’s are also driving you crazy.

Especially the one with the orange hair who uses her newborn baby sleeping in a Maxi-cosi, like a weapon hanging off the side of her arm, clobbering you with it, each and every morning.

Don’t worry! You smile and laugh. It’s ok! I don’t need my elbow anyway!

She scares you, you see.

You think she has magical school mum powers you don’t think you have.

She probably bakes cakes, and sews costumes for the nativity, where as you intend to buy one from Asda on Saturday, and this morning Addy ate a cheese sandwich for breakfast, in the car on the way to school.

Her child wasn’t dressed as a skeleton for Harvest Festival either, because her husband didn’t forget to show her the letter, so she didn’t have to do a last minute dash to Morrison’s for a costume, but you did.

Addison didn’t care though.

Mr. Skelly Bones.

He was a happy little skeleton.

You think they judge you because you don’t get to do the pick up and always look harassed.

They probably don’t, they probably don’t even notice you, but you judge you and that’s hard enough.

You recently left the Apple store, even though you didn’t want to.

You wish you could have afforded to stay.

You were happy there.

Times are changing for you too quickly now, and although the future scares you, you are doing your very best.

35 year old you finds it very hard to be kind to herself.

She isn’t sure she knows how to be.

Dear 45 year old me,

Do we have it all together yet?

Have you stopped torturing yourself with horrific scenario’s, in which all your loved ones die?

Can you forgive me for everything I am not, but everything you think I should have been?

I am trying my best.

I swallow down the tears as I am running upstairs to grab his uniform, as I fall asleep at night, and as I try to deal with the overflowing shit pile of regrets.

I am surviving in the old way I know how.

Can you be kind to me?

And also,

Have you tried Botox?

I am sorry to labour the point, but I really think you should.

I Look forward to hearing from you 45 year old me, I need your wisdom.

I need your support, I need to know I am not letting you down.

Yours Sincerely,

35 year old me.

You Don’t Have to be a Writer.

“You don’t have to be a writer to be a blogger, you just need to have something to say.”

I overheard this recently while going about my humdrum life, in my closed minded, protective, humdrum way.

A life I have gotten used to living recently.

A manageable life where inside remains quiet, letting the outside world thunder past.

I immediately paused for a split second, becoming aware of the tilting of my head in the direction of the conversation, desperately wanting to hear more and yet almost repulsed with myself for not walking away quickly enough.

Move away from the life that brings you back out of the quiet!!

Do not get involved!!

Do not connect, my brain screamed at me.

You were barely a blogger, let alone a writer.

And now you are neither.

Walk away!

‘You do not have to be a writer, you just need to have something to say.’

I rolled my eyes, a reflex, an escape mechanism, and promptly encouraged myself to carry on with my day.

I stalked away from the sound of the word ‘blog’ and off in the opposite direction completely.

I hurried around my desk, plonked myself down with a jolt, immersed myself back in to this new life I have created.

I sent a few snappy emails, answered a few telephone calls off a few angry people, visited my locker for a snack, fetched a coffee, drank the coffee, thought about the school run and ways in which I could possibly make it easier and less stressful for both myself and my son.

I thought about money.

I wrote a list.

I ticked things off the list.

I waited for the sun to set behind me, and as I usually do nowadays, left the office after dark.

‘You don’t have to be a writer…’

I briskly walked back to my car, across the badly lit car park, busying my mind with the evening ahead, and what I could do to fill it.

I drove home listening, as I always do now, to the TED talks on my bluetooth speaker, talks about Impact, Parenting, Leadership, Medicine, talks about all different walks of life and of the emotions attached, and how we deal with them.

Noise.

Other people Shining, Teaching, Sharing, Loving, Living.

Noise. Any noise really.

But not music.

Never music anymore.

As music is one of the unwanted keys to everything, and everything is what I have been striving so hard to avoid.

‘…You just need to have something to say.’

I have arrived home over the last few weeks, key in the front door, living my humdrum life, like I now do, in my humdrum way.

Quiet, Faffy, Calm, Manageable.

I have eaten the dinner usually waiting for me, blankly and without feeling any emotion, read Addison his bedtime story and kissed him goodnight, and finally and thankfully sank in to bed, book at the ready to dive in to, film to mindlessly immerse myself in, sleep – the illusive elixir always there to greet me if I scamper and crawl hard enough towards it.

‘You don’t need to be a writer… you just need to have something to say..’

Frustration in abundance that all the while, this inconspicuous little bastard of a phrase has been creeping around the back of my brain and occasionally setting off an electric spark in my heart, nibbling away at my apathy, not so gently jostling me towards the place I do not want to have to face.

‘You don’t need to be a writer to be a blogger. You just need to have something to say.’

It smacks me across the face. Hard.

If Apathy is my Fire Exit, Writing is my revolving door.

Writing is my return to the charred remains, a way to go back and visit the scenes of the casualties, that make up the different jigsaw pieces of my life.

But I haven’t been ready, I have to be ready.

A place I can dip in and out of, I can visit, and when the going gets too tough, can skirt back out around the edges of for a while.

Dancing the avoidance dance, slipping back in to my humdrum life.

A life that has recently raised up like a whale out of water, and swallowed me whole.

I don’t want to write. As I am waiting for the lift.

I have nothing left to say. As I am pulling out a smoke.

I will live this humdrum, I will not think outside of this circle, will not dare to dream, feel the elation of the words going down on ‘paper.’

I will not suffer potential embarrassment of opening up. I will fall back in to obscurity. Disappear.

So aloof I do not even know if I can be genuine with myself anymore.

I have nothing to say. As I am pulling up to the petrol station.

I have said it all. As I am pulling Addison’s jumper over his head.

How have I contained myself in this Tupperware box, self preserving for so long, without noticing I have been gasping for air.

Or maybe I have known, and have subconsciously and studiously avoided the return, fearing for my own stability when I do.

What could I say? As I reach the speed limit.

Emergency Exits can definitely be useful in emergencies, but I think it is time to face up to the decisions I have been making, and push on that revolving door.

The one marked, Time to Reflect.

And write.

So here goes.

I think I may have found something to say.

I am not a writer. As I sit down to write.

I am a full time mother, a wife, a team manager, a therapist, a friend, a sister, a person with incredibly low self esteem, a person who loathes and loves technology in equal measures, a person who loves laughter, gets hurt easily, has made some utterly idiotic decisions recently and also some pretty good ones, I am a coffee drinker, a procrastinator, a scaredy cat, a regretter, a drama queen, a clinical depressive, a fighter, a giver upper, a clown, a bitch, a daughter, and I am also a blogger.

And I do have something to say, after all.

Even if I am only saying it to myself.

Lessons in Unconditional Love.

‘I hate you!’

‘I Actually HATE you!’

This week my son’s school are participating in anti- bullying week.

‘You are horrible and mean! And believe me when I tell you mummy, I am never CUDDLING YOU AGAIN!’

And I’m so glad they are doing this y’know, because it REALLY seems to be having a positive impact. (Kill me. Kill me now.)

‘You are a cruel poo face!!’ (Did he just essentially call me a shit head?!? TO MY FACE??)

The last part of this abusive monologue is shouted at top volume and with full force, body stiff, little shoulders aimed towards me, spit flying from his little mouth, little fists bunched up in rage, from the bottom of the stairs, where he is busy over gesticulating and very dramatically strapping his Velcro shoes, unfortunately on to the wrong feet.

I pause, debating whether now is a good time to shed light on the shoe error, the wind completely knocked out of my sails.

Practice patience, practice patience, that’s what Supernanny says isn’t it?

Practice patience – do not raise your voice.

Speak in low tones, communicate effectively and with clear objectives.

Set realistic goals.

‘Addison you absolutely can Not go to school in a pair of lightening McQueen Y front’s and an ankle length superman cape.’ I begin, giving Barry White a run for his money.

‘For a start, it is freezing outside, much too cold for you to be showing off your knobbly knees, superheroes get cold too you know! So you need to wear your uniform because everybody else will be. Now please stop shouting at me, say sorry to mummy, and let’s have a cuddle.’

‘NO! I HATE YOU!’

Ok, well I tried.

I retreat to the bathroom and shove a little mascara, which comes out of its aero dynamically shaped tube, dried out and yet gloopy at the same time, on to my hurt features. (Mental note to self – need new mascara in less phalically shaped container incase I suddenly decide to stab myself through the heart with it.)

I take a another deep breath.

He has never told me he hates me before.

‘Daddy is my favourite! I love him! Not you!’

They are just words, he doesn’t know what he is saying, Practice Patience, ignore the bad, congratulate the good. (Mental note to self- try this with the Irish one.)

But,

Ouch.

7am and… Ouch!

My heart hurts.

According to our official noticeboard (the tattered letter that is secured to the very battered fridge door, hidden at the back of the kitchen) all of the children in Addison’s school, including reception, and therefor him, are taking part in ‘many’ anti-bullying activities throughout this week, culminating in them all wearing their own clothes on Friday.

I idley wonder, as I grab my shoes and thump down the stairs to join him, now lying on his back, pounding his feet against the front door, if these ‘activities’, include not telling your overtired, mildly depressed mummy, who spent half the night rubbing your shins (growing pains at a guess) And then bleary eyed, rose from her pit like the undead at Dawn’s crack, to put the heating on so your little feet wouldn’t be cold as you come down for breakfast. Slaved over your packed lunch- being sure to cut the crusts just how you like them, ensuring butter distribution was perfectly equal and finally and thoughtfully hung your socks and uniform on the radiator so they’d feel snug when you put them on – that you hate her and she smells like poo.

The issue is this.

Addison is convinced today is ‘Superhero day’ and having checked (so convincing is he, in his confident tirade) by ringing the over worked and underpaid receptionist at the school (the very same lady who I have now cried in front of on 2 occasions and clearly thinks I am mad) I can also confidently confirm today isn’t actually superhero day at all.

The tantrum, if that is what we are calling it, (emotional abuse seemingly sounding a tad harsh – although it feels that way!) got worse in the car, and no amount of straight talking, avoidance techniques or reminders about Father Christmas watching could get him to stop crying and/or insulting me.

‘I am heartbroken mummy. You have hurt me so deep. You were my best friend. Your bottom is huge.’

Ouch.

Kick me while I’m down why don’t you.

Ok. Be the parent. Be THE parent.

‘No Addison, I am your mummy,’

Calm voice – no shouting – patience, practice patience.

‘I love you very much and for this reason amongst many, mummy will not bring you to school in December in no clothes! DO NOT TAKE THAT JUMPER OFF, PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON, GET BACK IN YOUR CAR SEAT! NO! PUT YOUR BELT BACK ON!’

Breathe.

As we pulled up in front of school however, there was a truly unbelievable transformation.

In a split second my screaming, devastated banshee devil child, magically evolved in to a butter wouldn’t melt model photo frame – esque contented child.

‘Lucas! Lucas!’ he shouts joyfully, all of a sudden snapping out of devil child while banging merrily on the window.

‘Quick mummy,’ he turns to me pointing, ‘there is Lucas! Let me out please, he is my friend!’

Smiles, waves, happy happy joy joy little boy bounces in to school.

‘Bye!’ I shout at the door, rather hoping for a cuddle.

He glances over his shoulder at me, in acknowledgment, but doesn’t respond.

And he is gone.

In to the part of his life I know little to nothing about.

I knock on the classroom window tentatively as I walk back past the main school building, on my way back to the car.

He glares at me.

I point at his shoes.

‘Wrong feet!’ I mime from behind the thick glass, sending him a loving smile, a smile I am hoping he will receive, as a peace offering.

He looks down, turns his back to me, sits down and begins the process of changing them over.

I walk back to the car dejected, preparing myself for the busy work day ahead.

I hope today’s anti- bullying activity focuses on compassion for mummy’s, but somehow, I doubt it will.

Tonight, if I am home before bedtime, I shall ask for an apology, and see how far that gets me.

They are only words.

He doesn’t mean them.

Only words.

My bottom really isn’t that big.

No Big News.

I have been actively reading around.

Researching, if you will. (Mental note to self: add research and development, to CV.)

And not so randomly either. (Mental note to self: add focused, to CV)

If you were to check the search history on my iPad, and I, like my husband often does (much to my delight), had forgotten to clear the search history (Seriously Irish one? You are looking to improve the performance of the boiler, Again??? Just pay the damn energy bills!! It’s winter!!) For the last week, you would most likely find the following search terms.

• How do first children cope with the birth of a second child?

• How do mothers who completely and utterly lost their tenuous grip on reality and fully lost the plot during the first year of their children’s lives, fair, once the second child comes along?

• Can you rip your bum hole open twice?

• Can you take medication for animal inspired auditory hallucinations, while pregnant?

• Cheap Disney world holidays.

• Is gin taster a real career?

• Can you still get pregnant with a marina coil, while taking the pill, and point blank refusing to have sex?

The search results vary. (And bizarrely tend to include a lot of monkeys.)

My pregnancy test results don’t vary.

Negative.

Negative every single time.

Unsurprisingly.

(Mental note to self: Remove calculated risk taker from CV.)

And yet I still buy them and pee on them, in the hope the decision will be taken out of my hands.

I am terrible at making life decisions you see, just awful.

And as much as I hate it, I prefer it when other people make them.

By other people I don’t mean the Irish one (he wouldn’t dare. Put the damn heating back on!!!) I mean, the universe.

I am a procrastinator, a worst case scenario jumper, a ditherer, and then ‘maybe we should have chosen the other option’ type person.

Mother Nature I have found, isn’t, she makes decisions and sticks to them.

‘I shall immediately and without consideration rip her undercarriage to absolute shreds!!!’

And it has to be said, that’s kind of admirable.

She just goes for it, wand in hand. Hair and dress billowing out behind her, or whatever.

But, alas, her customer focus isn’t what it once was, and therefor I am being forced to make this decision myself. (She’s probably ignoring me after my complaint letter, in fairness.)

Even so though, It is a weakness this dithering, a huge one, and not one I tend to mention at interview stage all that often, and it holds me back.

I’ve not always been like this either, but it seems when I lost my mind, I also lost some of that unshakable positivity and faith that all will work out for the best.

It’s left me a little scared.

It’s left me not really knowing my own mind, my own worth, or my own strength.

My facebook timeline is litered with scan pictures and second baby’s, even some third babies, adorable new borns, huge happy families, birth announcements….
Well you get the picture.

And I kinda get the impression people are waiting for our announcement.

And here’s the thing,

I just can’t decide.

I can’t decide whether to remove all barriers, jump on him and essentially start trying properly (Let the humping commence!! Mother Nature may shout!) and let fate decide, or to allow myself to feel lucky I survived a terrible illness and a mentally challenging few years and have one beautiful, inspiring, adorable four year old, who I enjoy and love more everyday, if that’s possible, and allow that to be enough.

I know its not just my decision whether we try, but i kinda feel it’s important I’m on board you know?

That if we are gonna do it, I’m 100% confident it’s the right decision.

I’m scared I’ll go mad again.
I’m scared Addison will feel rejected if I do go mad again and also if I don’t.
I’m scared of not having enough money.
I’m scared I’ll end up bludgeoning the Irish one with a rusty fork during sleepless nights.
I want to go back to Disney world.
I want Addison to have a sibling.
I want to touch, hug and have a baby I can enjoy again, but this time without unbearable numbness and sorrow.
I love little humans. I want more little humans.

But I also want to stay sane.

I need to stay sane.

I could lose everything, and yet I could gain so much more if I don’t.

I need help.

How did you all you mothers with second? Third and fourth (God bless you all and your undercarriages) children make this decision?

And also- if Mother Nature ripped it once before, she’s unlikely to want to rip it again…. Right?

(Mental note to self: Add deluded to CV.)

In fact, you can just decide for me.

Do we do it or not?

SuperTato!

Oh Jesus.

Here I am.

I don’t know where to start, or even if i know how to.

It’s been months.

Basically,

I am back stood on the finish line, at Square one.

And I don’t mean in a poor mental health way.

I mean literally, I crossed the finished line, every finish line I could possibly find, all determined and ‘yes! Finally I know my own mind, I will embrace change goddamn it – no one can stop me!’…

But now, now that all the clapping and cheering, determination and acceptance is over, well, i’m all kinda like, well, that’s all good and well, you finished, but, now what the hell are you gonna do? (You idiot.)

This was meant to be a really deep post, at least I wanted it to be.

I dived upstairs full of gusto, newly dyed (ginger) hair flying out behind me, arse swinging from left to right, and grasped for my laptop.

I have things to say! I will not let this fear beat me!

I can write again and what’s more, I want to!

I have embraced change! No more confidentiality contract (that came with my old job) no more fear (that comes with the illness) and no more biscuits (we have run out.)

This lady will write!

It’s hard though, you know, trying to make a post deep and insightful, when your Irish husband is falling around drunk next to you with his best friend, (who ‘TANK GOD’ is only here 1 night) throwing out phrases like ‘beejesus whas the craig ’ and ‘ack theres no food in the press.’

Also, they keep turning Enya off.

How is a girl expected to be deep and meaningful with The SUGAR HIL GANG blaring out in the background. (I said a hip, hop, hippie to the hop, to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat!)

Addison is in bed reading a book about potatoes.

(Seriously. It’s called SuperTATO! And guess who bought it for him…)

He can’t read.

So when I say ‘Addison is upstairs reading a book about potato’s’ I actually mean ‘Addison is upstairs staring at a picture of a potato in a cape.’

It’s educational stuff.

He should be asleep by now but I don’t blame him for being awake, the noise levels are reaching ‘paddy festival’ limits.

At some point in the proceedings 500 miles will be played, let’s face it.

I feel like I may need to fling some mud at them both shortly, maybe twat him with a welly.

So Anyway, where was I?

James, my comforting and trusted therapist has left two voicemails for me this week.

I have been avoiding him with enthusiasm, in a superhero like manner.

The anti therapy potato hero, if you will.

All I need is a cape and I’ve nailed it.

SO. Back to the point.

This year has been nothing but change you see, and so far I feel powerful, strong, fearless…

I have moved from the longest home I ever lived in, to a house with stairs.

I have never lived in a house with stairs before. (Honest!)

I was extremely excited about this, until I had to hoover them, now? Not so much.

I had all my hair cut off in a bob.

I was extremely excited about this, until The Irish one mistook me for a lampshade, now? Not so much. (WHY? WHAT WAS I THINKING? MY HAIR IS TOO HUGE TO BE SHORT! I KNEW THIS!)

I stripped my hair of the black. (I went to a tiny festival in town and some stranger approached me, and I quote here ‘You are the oldest but brightest goth I have ever seen.’ Aaaaaaaand I am done with the black hair!)

I was extremely excited about this, I imagined myself youthful, with blonde long tresses, sun kissed skin and a size eight.

I now have bright orange hair the consistency of cardboard, I am more death kissed than sun kissed and lets just say the 2 stone i put on working at the Trafford centre, did not wash out with the goth. (I actually think I currently do a very good impression of Li’Lo Lil – if you remember her, from Bread.)

and Finally I left my job.

No more working for Apple.

That is HUGE.

I was so unbelievably happy there.

I start my new position in 3 weeks for a new company.

I am very excited.

I imagine myself a little between Demi Moore in Charlie’s angels 3 all suited, but minus the gun, and Working girl, all stressed and a red hot mess.

All size 8 with long blonde hair and killer heels.

So let’s see how that goes. (Did I mention I am currently 14 stone and have hair the colour of Fanta?)

I just know this is the right move for me, though.

I loved my time at The Fruit Shop, it was a means to an end.

I needed to get better and the role there allowed me to do so.

I feel better.

I am shit hot with technology thank you very much and now I want my career back.

But you see, I am avoiding James currently because I still feel powerful, even after all the feck up’s, the change, the move, the tears and the fear.

I am still smiling. Still striding forward.

Sure, I have my down days, but I recognise them now for what they are.

Down Days.

Not step backs.

Not the end of the world.

I am capable.

SO Then remind me again, why you are avoiding James?

Well,

Because Addison is starting school in september, and if he even mentions that, then this house of cards I have precariously built, may come tumbling down.

It is the big change I am unable to face.

And yet somehow I will have to.

I don’t want my baby to leave me.

(And yes I know he needs to. I get that he’s not always going to be fulfilled and happy just staring at drawings of potato’s. And yes I understand the reasons behind why someone needs to teach him to read and write, and count and stuff, but…. but….. )

Oh for Feck’s sake!

My Irish (insert swear word here) has just spilt a family sized bag of crisps all over the stairs.

And now he is apologising while walking all over them.

Kill me now.

Actually no,

Someone Pass me A BLOODY WELLY!

(To be clear- I ADORE ‘most’ of the Irish ones friends and they all know it. This post was intended as a funny comeback. Prendo I love you.)