Friday, 18 October 2013

Dear Mum.

So I should be saying Happy 67th Birthday today!  But I am not am I, you ensured you stayed 66 forever - that is an extreme way of not getting anymore grey hairs!

I cannot imagine how you thought suicide would be the answer. 

I cannot imagine how you could have thought that being dead would have had anything but a negative effect on your two remaining children and all your grandchildren.

For me it has been the ultimate punch in the face, you wanted to be with your other daughter and not me.

Did you have any awareness that this is how it would leave me feeling?  I hope not!  That way I can fantasise that this is just my own interpretation of how I am feeling, not how you were feeling.

There are days when I want to slap you round the face and remind you that you chose to have children - so why did you bring me up feeling as though it was my own fault that I existed?????

Then there are days when my heart bleeds for what you had to go through as a child, and for the support that you did not get from family, friends or counsellors.

I know I am so very fortunate.  I have an amazing husband, and beautiful loving children.  There are friends surrounding us that are there to support and hold us when we need it.  To leave us be when we need that.  And to make us smile and laugh when we need that.

I do hope seeing me striving to break the mould has not made you sad.  I do hope that you can see that we are trying to nurture individuality and freedom for our children.  Yes  this means there are times when I have to let my children 'Show off', but who are they harming?  Yesterday when A was walking down the street holding her arms out walking like a catwalk model, I could feel you cringing besides me and chastising me for letting her do it.  But she was having fun, she was playing, she was using her imagination to live out fantasies.  She was enjoying herself!  She knew this was an extra special treat - time with me.

There are only three memories that I have of you and me spending time just the two of us, maybe more will come back to me with time.

One was off us shopping together when I was probably 12 or so, but we were shopping for you.  I remember you constantly telling me this.  I had known that is why you were going but had still wanted to come with you with the hope that you might treat me to something.  You didn't, you just got cross that I wanted to look at things that were not what you were looking for.

The next was when I took you for lunch when you were visiting your mum in Kingston.  It must have been when she was in hospital, before Sally died as otherwise she would have come with us.  That I remember being a really pleasant pub lunch.

The last memory is of your birthday present last year.  Do you remember I got us tickets to see a west end show - something you had never done.  But you hated the whole experience.  Even telling me this while we were eating our lunch out in a lovely restaurant.  That hurt me so much.

So today is a bittersweet day for me.  There is a part of me relieved that I no longer feel responsible for trying to make life worth living ( yes I know that I did not have to do this, but it is how I felt).  Then there is the other part that had so hoped that living closer to each other would mean spending more quality time together, maybe even getting to know and respect each other more as we grew older.  For this I grieve.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Breaking the Mould.

Over the last 5 years my attention has been taken away from my family.  I have literally 'forgotten' how I wanted to parent.  Did you catch the 'I wanted' there?  I have always known I needed to parent in a different way from the way I was parented.  I am now starting to realise just what this means.

Now don't get me wrong - I do not blame my parents for parenting me as they did - they did what they could with the resources and experiences they had.   The result of the parenting I received however means I am burdened down with the injunctions that they moulded me with.  The phrase that sums up my up-bringing is 'Stop Showing Off'.  The effect of those three words has been devastating.  They were said for absolutely anything I did that was in any way different from how they behaved, the words came to mean - 'Stop being you'.

I remember with horror the first time I said it to my daughter - I think she was about 7 years old.  Fortunately I had confided in my husband about this injunction and so was able to talk to him about it afterwards.  It is not until I started to have counselling however that I have realised how far this injunction and all that follows it still affect me.  With my attention elsewhere for the last 5 years (looking after mum, dad and my niece) I have sort of lost the plot with my different way of parenting.

I have happily given over a day every 14 days (over the last 6 weeks) to my niece, however I am still not giving my own children their own time with me. 

Last week, I managed to watch a movie with both of them (individually - they have very different tastes).   I love the way God knows what my hearts desire really is.  Today I was in a quandary.  I had planned to take my daughter shopping this morning, knowing I had counselling this afternoon.  However a friend asked if A would like to go for a group bike ride (something she loves) first thing.  I thought maybe we could shop in between finishing that and me going out.  While she was out though I started to think that it was all going to be too much of a rush.  As a result when she came in I gave her the choice.  Either we could go straight away or she could come and meet me in Winchester after I had finished.  She chose the later and I am so pleased she did.

It gave me chance to talk through lots of issues with my counsellor, stuff that tied me down and needed bringing out in the open so that I could really do what I wanted to do - that is SPOIL my daughter.

And so I did.  We had so much fun, shopping for a couple of hours and then going out to eat together.  Tonight I am very exhausted...............but very happy and proud of myself.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Wedding Dress.

I mentioned in my last post that I had been busy making a wedding dress for a very dear friend.  If you would like to read the story of it (in three parts) why not hop over to my Mrs Craftypants blog.  You can click on the links below for each of the posts.

The Wedding Dress - Part One
The Wedding Dress - Part Two
The Wedding Dress - Part Three

And here is a sneaky peak of the dress.