Almost daily diary!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The return

I returned home tonight to my children, I always return to them, I have to, I love them and am very thankful for them but hope that soon, very soon, one day I will not have to face coming home to Husband too. There is no pleasure in returning when he is here.

Before I left on Friday night I tried to impart information about the children that I thought he ought to know. He had been away Thursday night and I felt as though I needed to put him in the picture.Tall Girl had been poorly and off school for a day and a half, Small Sprog had a bucket load of homework to do (Tall Girl had avoided most of hers because she had been away from school) along with is thank you letters to start and guitar practice to do too. Tall girl had some pick-me-ups from the chemist that I thought husband should know about. I wrote it down and tried to impart. I was ignored. It had the desired effect, I was annoyed. I kept calm, on the outside! At least I had left a list of all the childrens things that needed to be done, from years of experience of living with him, I knew that even if he listened, he would not remember.

So when I came home tonight, with a heavy heart, I was not surprised that some of the homework was unfinished, none of the letters were written and, as always, nothing had been done in the house other than cook and wash up. It turns out Tall Girl cooked tonight too, bless her.

I try not to let it get to me, I'm sure husband does it on purpose. Now I will be the one who has to 'crack the whip' to get Small Sprog to finish all his jobs.

I know that when we live in different houses, I won't know that the childrens clothes are not washed, the beds are not changed and the toys are not put away. I will be in happy ignorance, I can't wait. Right now it annoys me beyond belief!

Meanwhile, as I come home with the sole purpose to see my two children, he does his level best to engage them in things that keep them from me. This too will change, the situation is temporary, but it is annoying and sad all at the same time. Small Sprog is whisked off to bed by husband, who then takes far longer than necessary reading a story so that I don't get much time with Small Sprog myself. It is all done for effect, it is hard to ignore.

When Tall Girls bedtime comes along, husband has her in his room with the door shut for ages. She is late to bed. Again.Check Spelling

The arrangement, when we are separated, will be that husband picks up both children after school on Friday night and drops them to me early Tuesday morning. There will be no handover in my house or his, just a quick drop off at the front door in the morning before husband goes to work. All the inconveniences of now will not be possible, there may be others then, but right now I don't want to think about what those might be!

I am sorry to rant. He is a selfish and bitter man, I have added to his bitterness, I cannot wait to escape. Home, here in suburbia, is in such contrast to the peaceful time that was mine this weekend. I am SO grateful for the time away that I have had.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Strangers again...

To become strangers again. How can that happen when you have shared so much with someone over the years?

I have thought about that a lot and I think it is carelessness. We were both careless, the fragility of a beautiful thing is precious, it needs to be nurtured, we forgot to look after it.

I looked after the children instead, I tried hard to look after everything but I can remember the point where I gave up wanting to look after the precious thing. Without me noticing it became less precious, after a while I thought 'why am I nurturing something which has shriveled to almost nothing, no kind words spoken, no good deeds done'. I felt invisible, unimportant, ignored. I was. I had small children, they became the most important things. I lost myself, had no more left to give, I disappeared.

That is how we became strangers, with nothing in common but our two sweet children.

Somewhere along the way, we gave up, he gave up. How curious.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In the room...

Once in the room with the mediator I felt much better. He was peaceful and quietly spoken. We sat down in an office like environment, blinds drawn, chairs arranged in a circle but with more than an arms length apart! I was given a glass of water that I held on to tightly, my comfort blanket, a substitute.

The mediation session started like a team meeting, with the mediator using a flip chart and pen to write headings of what we hoped to discuss. It felt possible then, that all would be well.

He addressed us individually, kept us on track. We spoke to him, rather than to each other. What a skilled man he was. He asked us to think about our motives for this, our reasons for that, directing us all the time to an inevitable compromise and conclusion. We ran over by 15 minutes, a conclusion was reached, we left alone, me via the stairs, husband in the lift.

As I walked out onto the street I could see no one that looked like husband ahead of me, I did not look behind. I was relieved. The street was cold and damp, and as I walked I felt a little numb. The stranger in the room, he knew my children so well, he was there father and he was fighting too.

It was over, to be reviewed in 6 months time from separation. Not ideal, but a start. The children will live mostly with me, and I have avoided them being split up, except for one night in every 2 weeks. That was the compromise, from 3 nights to 1. Next time he will want more.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The waiting room

As I drive towards the center of the city I feel a little faint, sick and not sure if my stomach will last the hour and a half of mediation in store. I try to calm myself, at least I wasn't loosing the children completely, how would that feel? Unimaginable.

I was flustered, couldn't decide where to park, parked in one car park and then realised I was too wobbly to walk the distance, so drove to a closer one which cost a fortune!

Once walking I felt a little better. I was early and didn't want to sit and watch the clock for 15 minutes especially if husband and I were in the same room. Luckily I was first and was directed towards the waiting room. I staked my claim on one chair, putting my bag on the one next to me, as if on public transport. I waited, book in hand but not taking in the words on the page.

Within minutes I heard someone else coming up in the lift. He was ushered to a seat further along the row. A brief nod of acknowledgement was all that passed between us. We sat there, two strangers in a small room, waiting to discuss our dearest children.

I wasn't sad, far too much water under the bridge for that, but it was curious. Sixteen years ago we'd not quite met, and here we were strangers again, but with two precious things in common which we were willing to fight tooth and nail for . . . . .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Today is a good day, for now.

The washing machine is fixed.
The custody is sorted, for now....

A six month trial. Six months will go so fast. I have managed to keep the children together except for one night, so I can cope with that. And they will stay with me more nights than with their father. For now...

I am frightened about the future. But for now I am trying to rest my brain a while and enjoy the little respite I have, knowing they are safe, together and mostly with me.

The mediator was fantastic, a very clever man, who kept his calm and ours. I am very grateful to him.

In four weeks time we will meet again to settle finances. I know for a fact that financial matters will take far longer than 2 hours, if we can settle at all. But that is another story.

Today is a milestone, one that has taken far to long to get too, but has been reached nonetheless. Today there is a very, very small twinkle at the end of a massive tunnel and I think it is getting very slightly larger as I gaze in.

PS. Thank you to everyone who has sent me good wishes, it means a lot to feel peoples kindness, it is very much appreciated.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Good day / Bad day?

Tomorrow is a big day for me, very big.......because.........the washing machine man cometh! Yes, at last! Almost a month to the day, the man is due to turn up to fix my machine. I've waited since Boxing Day, so not bad really!

Since Boxing Day I have been carrying loads of dirty washing around Bristol and the wider area, quite a lot travelled as far as Cheltenham, to willing friends and relatives who have kindly let me use their machines. Thank you so much, you know who you are!

The man is due at 7.30am. No pressure then! Lets hope it is mend able.

And then there is the little matter of the mediation appointment...

If it is a good day, by tomorrow evening I will have a washing machine that works as well as a custody plan that works too. If it's not a good day I will still be carting washing about later this week and court beckons. Please let it be the former....

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Party

If you can grade the enjoyability level of a small boys party by the amount of sweatiness, and stickiness achieved, then I'd say tonight was a huge success! Ooooh was he sweaty!?

It often feels quite odd having a party at a venue other than home, I feel a bit 'once removed' from it, no preparation, no food to shop for, no worrying about what to eat, drink or do, no stress whatsoever in fact! Tall Girls parties are often at home, but boys need more activity and space than home can provide, and seeing as he was not born during clement weather, a party venue seems the logical choice.

This one was fairly extravagant. He chose it and I know that when we are all living separately we will not be able to afford such extravagance, so I decided that this year, double figures no less, we'd go for it.

Now they say you only get what you pay for and I have to say the service was perfect. We had a member of staff designated to us, Max his name was, and he was the nicest most helpful person you could wish to meet. He was great with all the children and nothing was too much trouble. They played in a massive warehouse type place for an hour, ate for half an hour and then did 'Laser Quest' for the last 45 mins. Max organised them into teams and played with them, during one round it was all of the children against him, he was amazing. At one point he said to me that he didn't know how people coped with being parents. I think that was after he had run several laps whilst being shot at! I replied that he was making a much better job of it than I was, as he was the one playing with them and I was not. . .

So, seeing as our personal circumstances are so precarious, and not conducive to a party atmosphere, this was just the best place to be. All the children seemed to have a great time apart from one, who felt sick. There's always one!

Mother of two boys stayed the whole time with me. She was there early, even before we arrived and was the last to leave with me. I thanked her for her support at the end, I don't think she will ever realise how much it meant for me to have her there. I know it sounds silly but I felt protected and less exposed.

One other thing will stick in my mind though. As we left the house for the party, I opened my car door and the children got in, my two and one of Small Sprogs friends from school. It was natural that they all got into my car, we had not long got out of it after the school run, and had only gone in to change and have a snack, so when Husband followed us out of the house and said 'Shall we all go in your car?' it took me by surprise. The thought hadn't occurred to me, in fact I thought he was going to the venue straight from work.
'I don't think so' I replied. I really didn't want him that near physically.
'Tall Girl can squeeze in the back' He insisted
'It's too uncomfortable' she quickly retorted and shut her door.

I was surprised. Was she protecting me? Or did she really not want to share the back seat with her brother and friend?! Whichever it was, she wasn't slow in making herself clear. We travelled separately to and from the venue. Now I only have Small Sprogs actual birthday to get through.

Happy Birthday for Saturday Small Sprog
Love from Mummy x

Sweet dreams and nightmares

'Mummy, I had a lovely dream last night' said Small Sprog sleepily as he teetered, wobbly from sleep, down the stairs this morning.
'Did you?' I replied 'What did you dream about?'
'Well, I was a mole and Tall Girl was a hedgehog, and we were in the jungle together and there was a big screen and I said to her do you want to play and she said.......'
By this time I had forgotten to concentrate.
'That's a lovely dream' I said soothingly when he at last drew breath. 'It's funny' I said 'But I don't think I've ever dreamed I was an animal, I think I am always a person in my dreams'
'You are strange' He said firmly, giving me an odd look, and went on with eating his breakfast.

This evening it is Small Sprogs party and tomorrow it is his birthday. I am looking forward to helping him celebrate, but at the same time not wanting to have to share the time and space with Husband. It is a little like Christmas time again. Actually I am dreading having to be at the party venue tonight with him. We will be the only two adults (apart from the staff at the venue) for a whole 2 and a half hours, with nowhere to hide.

Sometimes things turn out better than you expect. I hope this is one of them.

PS. This morning, just before I left for work I had a lovely text from one of my girl friends saying that she will stay with me for a while at the party tonight. I am blessed with good friends and am very thankful.........

Lunchtime update:
When I returned home from work there was a packet which had arrived for me in the post. Inside was a note from another very good friend, it cheered me up no end, and she had sent me a gift too, something to go with some shoes which I had bought when shopping with her recently.
I am so lucky to have friends who show they care. Thank you x

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Next Monday

This coming Monday I have my mediation session with Husband to sort out custody for the children. I am dreading it, really dreading it. Every morning I wake early with all the thoughts and reasoned arguments I have in my head as to why they need to spend the majority of their time with me. I am worried about him having them for a lot of the time, especially Tall Girl on her own for 3 nights. I think his wish to have them is motivated by several things, his wish not to be lonely, his wish to hurt me and an idea that he can look after them if they look after themselves. I still marvel at the fact that he wants to split them up for 3 nights in a week.

I am trying to analyse my motivations about why I want to have them more. It is not loneliness, for I am not frightened of being alone, I have friends,my mum and hopefully will be free to spend time with my SO when they are not with me. I do not want to hurt Husband either.

I hope my motivation for wanting them is because I think it is the best thing for them. I work school hours, can always pick them up and take them to school, can always be there in the school holidays. Together we seem to live a 'normal' existence happily together. I don't put them under pressure, I don't think, I hope.

I think they have enough to cope with by the splitting up of their parents, without the two of them being apart 3 nights every 2 weeks. I don't think that is right for them, but then who knows what he might be able to get away with.

I'm sorry but I need to write this here. I guess there is no use worrying about it until Monday comes, but I just can't help thinking.......

Monday, January 18, 2010

Small Sprogs worries

It is Sunday evening and I am snuggled in bed with Small Sprog. We are both tired and have had a lovely day together which culminated in dancing in the kitchen to very loud music. Now is a moment for quiet time together.

In the dark, lying next to him, I am listening as he describes our new home, a pretend home, one he has never seen or been to. It has a green staircase and the hall has a stone floor. He doesn't like the cold floor or the colour of the stairs. Through a green door is the living room, there is a fire place with a copper chimney breast, he doesn't like the copper. There is a comfy chair and a rug and a big TV. He likes this room, but says it has the feeling of belonging to an old person. In the kitchen there is a shiny cooker and a tumble dryer and a very small TV. I think it is a happy house. In the attic there is a box. 'What is in the box?' I ask.
'Your secrets' He says, you can't look in there. 'But there is another box, my box, where I keep my secrets' He carries on 'And Tall Girl has a box with a mirror in it that you gave to her'

I am entranced at his descriptions, his depth of feeling, his imagination. I can see it all, just as he is describing it. There is a box for worries too, he says. One where you write your worries on some paper, tear it up and put the bits in the box. There is another box for wishes. You write the wishes down and put the paper in the pond. When you pick the paper from the pond the words have floated up to heaven for God to read, then you put the paper back into the wishes box.

He describes to me how the boxes are decorated, his, Tall Girls and mine. I listen carefully, knowing that this conversation is well overdue. He has not been himself of late. I have been away too much and he has bottled up his fears and worries. We all tend to keep him safe from the truth, he doesn't have the full picture. He is worried about the future. He says it is all so confusing.

Tonight I made him a promise that I hope I can keep; I told him we would be happy eventually and that everything would work out fine. I told him to remember two things: To trust me that everything will be ok and that if he wanted to talk to someone, then he should talk to a very lovely lady at his school. I promised him that she would listen and not tell, I know for a fact that that would be the case. I hope I have done enough.

I love him.

We need to move on, for all our sakes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend stuff

On Saturday I had 2 mornings, as if getting out of bed just once isn't bad enough!!! I'm not great in the morning.

I was awake at 3am to take my SO to the airport and then returned home to bed, being woken the second time by a Small Sprog with and a roaring dinosaur! He often brings his Nintendo into bed in the morning. Getting up the second time in one day wasn't any easier than the first.

This morning the children and I are all in my room again, on various electronic devices. I can't think where they get that from!

Small Sprog is creating a virtual creature to do battle with, I am here, obviously, on my laptop and Tall Girl is playing truly awful music on her new phone, which apparently is the best thing in the world........

Yesterday we went to Tesco to get her a new phone. Before we get there she tells me how she likes a particular phone that all her friends have, but that it seems to break easily. So when we get to the 'phone dept', she points to the said phone and says that is the one she wants.
'You must be joking' I say as she throws a pout my way 'You said it is hopeless, and just look at the price!'
The pout gets more pronounced. If she had been two years old she'd be lying on the floor kicking and screaming!
'Have a look at the others, there must be another one that you like?'
Obviously there wasn't, not one! Why on earth didn't I delegate this job to her father?
I tried to point out that she has just had a birthday and Christmas and a laptop in September and the fact that her existing phone has just decided to die, didn't mean she could have a top of the range phone, just for nothing. End of lecture! The pout continued.
'Well, you'll just have to make do with your old one until it completely gives up' I say determinedly, beginning to walk away.
I noticed a moment of panic in her eyes. I had found her weak spot!

To cut a long story short, we found a medium priced phone that she deemed acceptable. By the time we arrived back to the car she was beaming with excitement! She tore open the box, loaded her Sim and memory card and before we were out of the car park, she was oohing and ahhhing about all its various attributes. It was 'The Best Phone In The World'. Damn I thought, I could have got away with an even cheaper version!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Best bits?

The lovely Dulwich Divorcee tagged me with a task / meme which is to write about my five best bits of 2009.

I must have at least five, I thought to myself as I looked briefly through last years posts. I know I have had some very heady moments over the last year, though often I have not been able to write about them. Most of these have been with my S.O: Getting to know him; spending time together; our holiday and snatched weekends all of which have culminated in a whole year of best bits.

Those best bits though, have been interspersed with the turmoil of still living here as a family. Feeling a stranger in my own home, and seeing the children attempting to cope with their new reality. It has been an emotional roller coaster of a year, and I had no idea it would flow so smoothly into the next. Nothing much, on the surface seems to have changed. Yet while re reading some of 2009's early entries in order to remember my best bits, I realised I have moved on a little, if only in accepting things I cannot immediately change, being completely certain of what I am doing, and, very strangely, accepting my present circumstances here as a new sort of reality and way of living that although unwanted, I can manage to exist with. Just.

Whilst reading I realised why I don't often look through my posts from last year, particularly the early part of it. It is all too recent. Saying that, it is a new year and I am itching to move on more than ever.

Last week I did manage to make my mediation appointment despite the snow. The mediator, put me at ease, talked me through how things would be and took some of my worries on board. He seemed very sympathetic, but then that is his job.

It seems husband has also been there and agreed to the process. The next step is for the two of us to be in a room together, with the mediator, to thrash out custody arrangements for the children. A date has been set. We have 90 minutes to get through and further appointments if not enough ground is made. I am dreading it. He can bully me and speak over me very well. The mediator is there for a reason. I hope he is good at his job. I have a bottom line regarding arrangements, I know what I want and what I will concede. I hope he has a compromise in mind too.

So all being said and done, a new year does not really mean a new start, not yet, not for me. I have said it before but this time last year I really thought it would all be over, done and dusted. How wrong I was, how glad I am that I didn't know!

So rather than best bits, here are some good things that have come out of the last year; perhaps next year I will post my best bits.

I no longer live in the past.

I am learning how to be thankful.

I am loved.

I have some wonderful friends.

I have the opportunity to be the sociable person I once was.

All in all I have 'found myself', not completely, but enough to realise I didn't like living in the shadows. I am lucky, and one day I will realise my goal.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Snowed in, it makes me cranky!

My washing machine died on Boxing day, I have been carrying around bags of dirty washing to various peoples houses for over a week now and there is no end in sight.

It has snowed so much that everyone has been at home today, everyone. Bum. It was my day off and I had not planned to be snowed in with Husband et al. It had the potential to be a little like Christmas day without the vital alcohol and festive cheer. He doesn't plan to go anywhere tomorrow either.........

In the bath today Small Sprog could be heard shouting at the top of his voice 'Muuuuuuum'
I rushed in, wondering what I'd find.
'Look!' He shrieked 'I've made a lobster!'
He points to a vague array of bubbles
'Lovely' I smile at him, no need for panic then!
'Actually it's turned into more of a crab now' He complained 'You took too long'
Well, if it was a matter of life or death I'd have sprinted, for goodness sake.

Did I wish you all a happy new year?!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The first of the packing

Tonight I took down all the decorations from the tree and the Christmas cards. I know it is not twelfth night yet but now I am home, I am craving change.

I remember last year I couldn't wait to put them away either, yet in my haste I didn't pack them with the usual care. There were no casualties when they emerged this year, thankfully, although I didn't use everything, partly because we had a smaller tree and partly, in a strange subconscious way, because I didn't want to 'taint' them with this 'Last Christmas Together'. As I denuded the tree last year, I thought that it would be our last in this house, how strange that we are all still here.

So tonight, with hope in my heart that these four walls will not see my precious treasures again, I wrapped and folded and repacked in original boxes, all the pretty baubles bought over time, mostly by mum and myself, and decorations made by the children. I have placed them carefully into two large bags and tomorrow will load them into the car and take them to mums, where I will leave them until I move house. Funny really, that I am doing this with things that have little monetary value. Mum keeps nagging me to remove some of the more expensive things that she has bought me over the years. I am working up to that, I can feel that soon I will be able to, but for the time being, my Christmas decorations will be safe until next year, and who knows where we will all be then?