Almost daily diary!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year

I have had a lovely relaxing couple of days at home with the children since Boxing day, just the three of us, doing not very much at all. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I shall see my S.O. for a few days. I have been looking forward to it very, very much, yet it is a bitter sweet feeling to be leaving tomorrow, sometimes I feel torn in two...

This will be the first New Year that I have spent away from my children. Obviously, most years they have been in bed at midnight, though last year they were both were old enough to stay up, but it still feels slightly odd to say goodbye tomorrow and not be with them for the passing of the year.

Whilst thinking it over I have remembered the one new year that I did spend with Tall Girl, and indirectly Small Sprog too. It was the Millennium, and we were at a fancy dress party. The theme was The Movies, and Tall Girl, just 3 years old, went as Tinkerbell. I remember, at midnight, sweeping her up in my arms (heavily pregnant with Small Sprog who was due on 17th January) and dancing the first dance of the year 2000 with her. I will never forget that dance, the two of us together, in our own world. She has always been a party animal, and kept going until well after midnight, wings and all...

There is so much to remember at this time of year.

Happy New Year to you all, wherever you are.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Extraordinarily normal

How strange it was to be here, all together, on Christmas day. It was extraordinarily normal, helped by wine consumption I'm sure, but not unpleasant.

Cooking Christmas dinner with Husband was like going back in time, we functioned together like we always did, the children floated about, he called me by the name he always used to call me and I didn't notice until he corrected himself, it was indeed, extraordinarily normal.

It was a little like cooking with my girlfriend two days before. She and I have known each other 13 years, have holidayed together and we have shared each others space so many times before. That was how we were together, Husband and I. And I realised how we had been just that for so long, just old friends. I had no desire to touch him, in necessary moments I moved out of his space, as you would a girl friend, yet we functioned fluently together.

It was interesting to analyse, interesting to remember and know that, if I was older, I would perhaps have settled for that for the rest of my life. Lots of people do. My mother did, some of my friends have. No raging passion, no wanting, no feeling of wholeness or being truly alive, no longing or desire, just an amiable knowledge of someone you have known, a comfortable normality, discovered in a moment of calm.

Yet that is not enough, I knew it long ago and have been given a fleeting moment, by chance, to relive an old normality again. Comfortable yes, but this comfort is not for life, it was just for Christmas! There is so much more to a relationship than half a bottle of wine and some Christmas cheer. So much more.

Yet within it is hope. Hope that one day, when we live separate lives, in separate homes, that we can get on and function in a civilised and even happy way, because no matter what happens, we have two beautiful children, and that is what they deserve.

How was your day?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reasons to be full of cheer.....

There are some wonderful people in my life and I am so very grateful for them all.

Today I am grateful for my three lovely girlfriends - and their children- who have given me sanctuary these last three days. They have given the children and I far more than that though, their gift of friendship is dear to me and precious indeed. There have been copious amounts of tea drunk, miles of snow covered countryside walked, biscuits made and parcels exchanged. There has been laughter and excitement and offers of shoulders to cry on if needed, there has been food offered and bottles pressed into hands. What more could I need? Yet there is more.

From friends far away I have had e mails, and unexpected presents in the post to make me giggle, both of which arrived at a moment when I most needed them, both offering friendship and company, 'We are always here for you, any time' what more could I ask for? I am blessed.

Tomorrow I am taking Small Sprog and Tall Girl to Mums for the day, all three of them blessings, though not always easy to remember them all as that!! It will be our Christmas together and I know she will make it special, (I hope she will give my stepfather a good talking to before we get there, and hide the strong stuff until after we've gone!) Christmas will come early, Small Sprog is excited to have two Christmases, I will be free of husband for the day, and so I hope I can be myself.

And lastly you, my bloggy friends, who visit and keep in touch and support no matter what. Thank you, what would I do without you?! I know Christmas is not the perfect time for everyone, I am thinking of you all and wishing you all as good a Christmas as you can possibly have.

Merry Christmas
to you
with love from


Monday, December 21, 2009


Woke to this this morning. A lovely surprise for the children who played until they were wet through over and over again. I was enjoying their delight but secretly hoping that I would not be stranded here for days on end with Husband!

Small Sprog, Tall Girl, the Nit Children and a few 'Hangers On' built this snowman. Later however, somehow or other, he lost his head (the snowman, not Small Sprog, though confusion could be forgiven!) So when we went out to see some other friends this afternoon, the children decided to make him a replacement head. We brought it home in a Sainsburys carrier bag. The head was named Trev. The body remains unnamed!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Got the Blues.......

Sometimes I just get blue. Something sets it off and I feel the need to hide away and wait for it to pass. Recently it hasn't happened much, I have been too busy, kept myself busy. Being busy means there is no room for the blues. Being busy is a safety net, a crutch, a coping mechanism. I am not alone often enough to allow myself the indulgence of blueness. It does seem an indulgence.

Yet it is a necessary function, to feel blue.

Today I spent the day alone, I did not rush around, I did not feel the urge to compulsively fill each moment. I had time to just be. And all the feelings and trauma of the year filled my body and found it's way out in tears. A necessary cleansing.

Sometimes the world feels like a stage, we paint on the smile, lift up our chins, and carry on. Even my job encourages this, working with children requires this sort of act and it is not a hardship to smile and be happy with them.

But today I am licking my wounds. It has been a very long time since I have done so, it s way overdue and I don't have enough time to do my laundry properly.

Tomorrow I will smile and enter stage left. It will pass and things will move on.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hope (a not very Christmassy post!)

Husband has agreed to mediation, thank goodness. Mind you he has just paid his solicitor a HUGE amount of money from our joint account for work done so far, so that may have concentrated his mind!

Tuesday nights he is usually out, but the class he goes to is finished until the new year, so I knew my one night in with the children alone was not going to happen. I was not looking forward to it. Tuesday nights are my brief respite from him here at home.

Anyway, tonight he wanted to 'talk' about custody arrangements. We never talk, but tonight we did. He still wants what he wants, and thinks a court would ok it. I had had half a bottle of wine at this point, so was able to let it wash over me, though I did say what I wanted, and reminded him that mediation is about compromise.

If we go separately to our first appointments with the mediator and they think that one or other of us will not budge from our position, then they will send us straight to court.

I told Husband that I had no desire for court, but if it did go that far, neither what he wanted or what I wanted would be taken into consideration. The court decides what is right for the children, not the adults. This seemed to surprise him. I wonder what his solicitor has told him? Perhaps he is being badly advised?

The wine worked wonders though, and enabled me to tolerate him for the evening. We all sat to eat together, which doesn't happen much now, and the children like it when we do. He even mentioned that he was eager for this all to end now, and that it was time we both made a new start. A year on, you bet it is, for all our sakes! What he said was music to my ears but, in the back of my mind, I know it will be on his terms, both for custody and financially, I can't let that be. I hope he is telling he the truth and not trying to manipulate me. Time will tell......

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Tree and other preparations

Well (one) of the days I was dreading over Christmas has come and gone. It should have been something to look forward to and indeed always has been before and I know will be fun again, but this time, on Saturday evening, decorating the Christmas tree was just something I had to get through. I did. It wasn't that bad in the end, but then often things that you are dreading aren't so bad in reality.

The children and I dressed the tree. My heart wasn't in it and I hope it didn't show. Small Sprog seemed to enjoy it as much as always, he was made for Christmas, and Tall Girl did her bit and flitted around like a baby giraffe on speed! Husband was a presence in the room, watching, commenting, I just had to remind myself that this would be the last time that we would all have to do it together, but then that is what I thought last Christmas.

However, today the three of us spent time at mums. The children decorated our Christmas cake and Small Sprog made chocolate truffles. They both finished writing their Christmas cards, we had carols and lit candles. It was a lovely day of Christmas preparation.

Whilst they were busy I manged to pop out for a bit to see an old friend. We had a wonderful gossipy hour, I was so excited to see her I was shaking! I am blessed, have loads to be thankful for, am taking things a day at a time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another Classic from Small Sprog...

This evening Small Sprog, Tall Girl and I were stuck on the M4 while trying to get to a Christmas event. We were quiet excited but prepared for lots of traffic, consequently we traveled with a large bag containing electronic games, a flask and some food, Mince Pies, Pringles, Chocolate biscuits (kindly donated) and some Clementines (just so as to look a little healthy!). Most of this was for Small Sprog, honestly!

We also had the radio on, Chris Evans on the 'All request Friday' programme. I quite like listening to him on a Friday night, and the people who ring in and say what they are doing for the weekend. This evening, whilst we were stuck in a four lane jam, he had a very chatty woman speaking on his show. When he had finished talking to her he commented on air, saying 'She was nice'.
Small Sprog piped up from the seat next to me 'Of course she was' He said
'What do you mean, of course she was?' I said surprised
'Well she's a lady, she's bound to be nice' He exclaimed 'Women are caring'
I was quite taken aback. Sometimes he shocks me with the contents of his head! Then he continued 'I'm just a bit confused'
I gave him a look. 'What about?'
He had a serious look on his face 'I haven't discovered the bit about how you get them to do all the work yet' He states
My jaw dropped. For once I was speechless!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


We had a lovely afternoon Christmas shopping, just Tall Girl and me after school on Monday. Small Sprog had gone for tea with one of his many girl friends, he hates shopping, so it was a good opportunity for the two of us to shop in peace.We managed to get some more things for Small Sprogs stocking and a few ideas for my mum. We also bought another present.

Tall Girl and Small Sprog always buy something for me and their dad at Christmas. I help them shop for Husband and, Tall Girl goes with him, at the last minute, to get something for me. This year she was worried I wouldn't want to help her get her dad something. How sad. I reassured her that I would gladly help her, after all it is for her benefit too, it would be sad if they had nothing to give. I wanted to help her enjoy the giving.

For a few weeks now she has been wondering what to get. I suggested she listen out for clues in conversations, but she is a bit young for that yet. Then, last weekend I overheard him telling her about a DVD he wanted. You and Small Sprog can go halves on it, I whispered to them later. They both agreed.

We bought the DVD during our shopping trip, she was pleased she could get something he wanted and will wrap it with Small Sprogs help later in the week. For me though, it felt very strange to shop with him in mind. I was oddly detached, it felt a little like buying something for an elderly aunt that one sees once a year, or an acquaintance that you don't particularly get on with.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Silent night....

.......well, almost anyway, because I've nearly lost my voice! It's a bit of a Brucey really (bonus), because I am over the cold and all the feeling poorly, and now, all of a sudden someones put me on mute! The children are most concerned. Gosh, am I usually SO very loud?! Small Sprog asked if he could clear the table tonight and get the washing out of the machine, it was all very surreal. "Are you sure you are alright mummy?" They chorused as I whispered instructions for bedtime. Small Sprog had a very worried look on his face as I squeaked his story out and then, halfway through Tall Girl offered to take over. She wasn't even buried in Facebook! If only I had known before. The way to get perfectly behaved children is to appear ill! All the times I have felt really poorly, but have had no obvious symptoms, I have had no sympathy at all. Now I am all squeaky, they are positively angels!

With any luck I will not get my voice back until the weekend. Having a loud voice is a tool of the trade when you work in a school, I wonder who I can get to phone in sick for me?!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Marking time

A year ago this weekend my dishwasher broke down. The fact suddenly struck me today. It is a strange thing to remember, but then it is not that event that has stayed in my mind, but what I did on the Monday following.

Isn't it funny how some days just stay with you, momentous occasions, some small and some life changing, especially when they fall on certain days, or at certain times of the year, like Christmas for example, or New Year. I can remember what I did on New Years Eve years ago, last year, the millennium, good ones, bad ones, all because it happens at a significant time every year. Like our children growing before our eyes, these events mark time.

Tomorrow is a special day. I know exactly what I did on the same day last year, the place, the time, the feeling. I am very lucky indeed to still be able to remember it fondly.

Even though this last year has been chaotic, there has been one beautiful constant in it all - well more than one, if you include my two lovely children- and I am thankful and grateful every minute of the day.

Friday, December 04, 2009


No, it's not to get my Revenge! I have just, probably unwisely, purchased one of these for Small Sprog for Christmas.

I have always tried to avoid buying guns for him, though I have to admit to a water pistol purchase a couple of summers ago, but somehow, that didn't seem to count. Has he been deprived do you think? I just have a 'thing' about glorifying the whole idea of shooting and killing. But then I am a girl, and have realised over the years, that boys will turn anything into a gun, if they don't actually have a toy one. Any stick, cardboard tube, coat hanger, bamboo cane, finger, anything in fact, that is not spherical can be 'imagined' into a gun.

So, this year when someone bought him a spud gun he was thrilled. His first real weapon! He loved it, and every potato in the house had holes in. But then he went to play with his best friend who had one of the items pictured here, The Elastic Band Gun, he raved about its specifications and waxed lyrical about its potential! For him this was it, this was SO much better than a spud gun, especially when aimed at the neighbours cat, which, of course I was extremely cross about!

Anyway, I am having trouble knowing what to buy him this year, especially as I have to think of ideas for items for other relatives to buy for him. Often not just thinking, but buying too -how does that happen exactly?- So I have grabbed the bull by the horns and bought it. He is a boy after all, and I have learnt and accepted that they are a totally different race altogether, I know he will be pleased. Luckily we live in a 'cat hating' neighbourhood and the ones that do live close, scarper on first contact!

I wonder how many injuries I will sustain?!

Today I received a letter in the post from the Family Mediation Service. It is a last ditch attempt to solve custody without going to court. The solicitor arranged it and I have been waiting for a week now to speak to them. I rang as soon as I opened the letter and they can see me in the first week of January. Obviously they have to see both of us. Separately first, to see if there is 'room' for mediation and compromise, and then together to 'thrash it out'. I am more than willing to try it and have high hopes, my appointment is booked. However I can't do it single handed, Husband has to agree to go too. They have given him until the 17th December to make his appointment. If he does not make one, mine will be cancelled and then to court we will go. All I can do is hope.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


At my daughters request I have relaunched my Facebook account. She is my only friend! She has thrown a snowball at me, and we have had an electronic chat regarding who should go and fetch the hot drinks and biscuits (of which there are only four left because she had eaten most of them earlier!) It is fun and I feel trusted that she wants me to be able to see her page, though I'm not sure if that will last! She is washing her hair now, we discussed it on 'chat'!

After she had gone I scrolled down her page. One entry stood out, it said: Fed up coz mum and dad won't stop arguing. Sad, and not entirely true, it is mostly a strained silence. Perhaps that is what she means. I left a one word comment - sorry-. At least, like me, she has a place to vent.

PS. I have just had a message from her, it says

- OK about the arguing -

I am counting my blessings.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Boxing Day

This could turn out to be a rant, but it is not really mean to be.

This week Husband asked Tall Girl if she wanted to see her Grandma on Boxing day. Tall Girl had told me her reply, she certainly didn't want to go. I gave her a look but I was not surprised! I knew how she felt. For the last 3 or 4 years we have visited Grandma on Boxing day as she has not wanted to travel over Christmas. It has become one of those traditions, which, to be very uncharitable, we could all have done without! However I did say to Tall Girl that I hoped no one would abandon me in my old age at Christmas. I mean, no matter how much of a duty it is, it still should be done. She is old, and will not see any other family over Christmas if Husband doesn't go.

None of us ever did want to go. Grandma has never been a hands on sort of Grandma. When the children were little it took them a while to realise that my mum was a hands on Granny, who would play and read to them as much as they liked but that Grandma was different. When she said she wanted to 'see' the children, that is what she wanted, to just see them, not play or talk to them particularly. Eventually they understood this, and when we visited we took toys and things to play with, quietly...

I spoke (yes, sometimes, where the children are concerned, we can actually have a relatively normal conversation) to Husband about the trip last night. "Tall Girl said she didn't want to go, so I thought we'd leave it this year, it's never much fun and it is Tall Girls Christmas too" He said.

Leave it?! I wanted to shout! Every bloody year we've been, none of us ever wanted to go, and it was our Christmas then too! Obviously I didn't say this out loud! I did give him a veiled lecture about duty and being lonely at Christmas, but he doesn't have much of a relationship with his mother either, nor a sense of duty I fear, so I think it fell on deaf ears.

I remember leaving her house Boxing day last year and thinking, (with glee!) that it would be the last time that I would ever visit her again. A good friend reminded me there is a silver lining to every cloud, it made me laugh at the time! I am by no means a saint, not in any shape or form, we have had our disagreements over the years. I fully acknowledge that a Christmas visit is never a pleasant visit, but she is old, and it is Christmas. I hope no one forgets me at Christmas when I am old.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Memory Maker

This was in my mail this morning. It was sent from here, a blogger who I've not met before but who found me. In days like these, small kindnesses mean so much. Thank you Rob-bear.

Despite feeling lost, this weekend was not as bad as I'd feared. Things often aren't though are they, but that knowledge doesn't always help?

Sunday was as successful as Saturday. The children and I had a peaceful morning, even though Husband did join us at the breakfast table. By 11.30 we were on the road and the day went beautifully to plan. Loads of time for Small Sprog to enjoy the hands on stuff at the Science Museum, and then a beautiful tea with one of my oldest friends. By the time we arrived home it was Small Sprogs bedtime, he was exhausted. We had all enjoyed our day (though his excitedness had caused some interesting behaviour!) and I had survived the weekend almost Husband free, despite his being constantly at home.

Today is the first day of advent, though I'm not particularly religious, I do enjoy its regularity, predictability, and its rhythms. Yesterday Tall Girl announced that she was looking forward to Christmas this year. Gosh, at least she is not worried about it being 'normal' as I am. She says she is looking forward to buying people gifts. Gosh, at last the message of giving being better than receiving, has sunk in! She is growing up.

I, on the other hand, am trying hard to make everything special, without showing that circumstances are miles away from how they should be. For a couple of days now, advent calendars have been primed and ready to go, some present buying has occurred and I am falling into the festive spirit by default.

Husband and his family have never really been the sort of people who have celebrated Christmas in a big way. His sister and her husband tend to hide away until it's all over and Husband tends to think about it the day before, moaning about the build up and the festivities before hand with annoying regularity and breathing a sigh of relief when it is all over. So it has always been my task, and indeed pleasure, to perform the rituals and traditions that my mum passed down to me. The making of cakes with a stir and a wish. Making festive decorations and food. Decorating the house, finding festive things to do, singing Christmas songs and reading Christmassy stories. It has always been part of our family Christmas.

This year it is harder, and I am itching to forge new traditions for the three of us, ones that will become part of our memories of Christmas together, when Husbands dark cloud has departed. But as always I am impatient, I must wait, sit it out until the time comes. I will still be their 'memory maker' as Saz says , it will just take time.