As I lie here feeling very sorry for myself – think sore throat, weak, upset tummy, vomiting and temperature – I sometimes wonder if I will ever be able to achieve anything ever again! Yet here I am making the time and effort to write this blog.
When we are up on our feet we don’t make the time to look down, it takes all of our effort to keep all of the balls we are juggling up in the air. When we are on our knees though, as much as we may feel like giving up that’s when we need to look up, not give up. Look up at all the people we love, the things we love to do and the places we love to visit. That will help us in the mental and physical fight for recovery and for those who will not recover, it may still extend their life.
If you don’t ask you won’t get!
Someone I know wants to go to an event with her Other Half. So far so good. Only they haven’t gotten along relationally for some time and seem like two singles living under the same roof, parenting their children. Call me cupid, but as the woman in the situation spoke of her Other Half, I suspected that the feelings were not nearly as over as she thought they were. Little stirrer that I am, in my own way I pointed this out.
Another time, another conversation and obviously much thought has gone on in my absence. Now there is an event that the woman would like to go to. This is where things would have remained. She wants to go, he has an invite, without further action he will be going alone, or not at all!
More intervention and brave woman that she is becoming, she tells her Other Half she would like to go. His response? He is not sure whether or not he is going yet…Cold! You tried, give up right? Wrong! That wasn’t a No! That was a, I’m hurt, we haven’t been getting along, and I am not taking you to my works do, so that you can look around the room and find Mr Next!
So now, we are working on letting Him know that there will be no Mr Next and that actually she would very much like to go to the event with Him and spend some quality time together, away from the children together.
No one is a mind reader. No matter what stage of a relationship you are in, if there is something you would like, you need to ask. If they say no, then ask why and start to negotiate. But, they just might say yes, even if it is eventually!
As you know, I am in the middle of reading this book right now. It’s Superb! Kristine Barnett is Superb. So often as I read I have the biggest smile on my face and tears at the back of my eyes. Those of you who have been reading this blog for long enough know the lifelong path that we started on once we met Autism and its spectrum so to see what someone else on the same journey, further along than us, has been able to achieve has been wonderful. As usual, child or relative on the spectrum or not, I absolutely recommend that you read the story of Jake, his Mum and his family!
I could have ended the post right there, but I haven’t got to my reason for posting yet! Something truly shocking happens about halfway through the book. Well two things actually and to hear Kristine’s version of them, you see that she is genuinely surprised at their occurrence. Needless to say, she cracks on and sorts them out like the trooper she is, and I presume will always be, and the story will go on. Kristine Barnett is an amazing woman and her husband an equally amazing man, but even phenomenal people need to know their limits.
You cannot work all the hours that God sends running a nursery/daycare business, have a child with Autism, have another child with a life threatening condition, go on to set up a charity for lots of children with Autism to get them into Reception/Kindergarten and then have a third child, whilst keeping all of the above going. Underlying condition or not, something is going to give and my first bet would have always been her health. For your Other Half to then have to pick up all those reins, plus keep his own job going with new and unwelcome challenges being presented there, I would have bet that his health would be next. I will need to keep reading to find out what happens next, but I am absolutely sure that the fantastic family that they are, all will be well.
If you are like the Barnetts, achieve the outstanding and amazing, but look after yourself too. Rest, take breaks, relax and try not to overdo it. Yes hon, you are one of those of which I write! Balance is a wonderful thing. As is your health!
Got to have a date afternoon (parents with children in school, full-time version of a date night!) with Other Half yesterday which was lovely. We went to the cinema to watch Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. What a fantastic film! Sad, beautiful, inspiring and one of those movies you watch in awe. If you have ever been sad, specifically or about life in general you must go and see this film. Of course please tell me what you thought about it afterwards!
That isn’t what this blog is about though. I worry that this amazing film will not be doing the circuits for too long. If it is so amazing then why on earth(excuse the pun) not? Simply this – the trailer shows 3 people in space having a problem! That’s it! Other Half wanted to see this film because he loves anything to do with space and really should have become an astronaut! I went to see it because it was Other Half’s day off and it would have been pretty rotten of me to hijack the day by insisting we go and see ‘The Butler’, although I am hijacking his next day off in December and we are doing just that! Essentially we saw the movie by default, for completely different reasons to the ones that we and you will love the movie for. In this, whoever did the marketing for the movie has seriously messed up!
Someone once told me to go and see the Shawshank Redemption. What is it about I asked. Well, the Shawshank is a prison and I can’t tell you about the redemption or I will ruin the film, was their response. Gravity is a similar sort of movie. I don’t want to ruin the film for you, but in the light of this blog being called, How Do You Think It’s Done? trust me and just go and see it.
Had the longest conversation with a dear friend of mine yesterday. It turns out that all has been far from well in her marriage for a long time. She has since fallen in love with someone else, divorced her husband and plans to marry her new man! Nothing unusual in that you say. True. If I say that she still lives with the ex-husband and will do so until the children are grown and has not so much kissed the new man in her life, let alone slept with him, is it beginning to sound a little more unusual?
I don’t doubt that my friend and this new man have something special. He is supportive of her and her children, emotionally, spiritually, practically, in fact, to hear her tell it in every conceivable way! To which many of the girls reading this will be saying, I can get all that without sex? Where do I sign? But there lies the rub. The man isn’t gay and he is no virgin either. He is a full, red blooded male who will want and need sex from my friend, sooner rather than later and there is no way he will wait 5 years to get it until they are married. I fear that this will all end in tears!
My friend is a sweetie. Naïve, but lovely. I have told her, if you want to keep this man you will either have to marry him quickly or be sleeping with him until you can. I know this, having learnt the lesson myself a long time ago. My very wise and experienced mother, in probably the only sex education lesson she ever gave me said that if that was the sort of man that I wanted to be with, then that was the sort of girl I would need to become. I’m not proud of it, but at least I married him!
It’s the same inside marriage too. Take sex off the cards and you will have a problem. Good luck to my friend and her other half. They will need it.
Yes, folks, that’s right I am bored! I have been run off of my feet for sometime – hence no blog posts and now I sit here feeling bored. Not wanting to do anything except maybe stare out of a window, switch on the TV or raid the fridge. Possibly even all 3! “Have you not got anything to do?” I hear you ask!
“I have plenty to do,” would be my reply. There’s tidying, cleaning, washing, ironing, diy, washing up, accounts, admin, planning for work, returns to shops and shopping to sort. Excited at the prospect of the day that lies before me? No, I didn’t think so! And neither am I!
And yet, not all is lost. Here I am, making the time for something that I so love to do, blogging. Needless to say, the more I blog, the better I feel. I must have felt the same way yesterday evening because I began to think about the activities I used to enjoy and would like to try again and the activities I would like to try and must do so. I’ve only got as far as a ‘Return to Netball’ group I am going to try on Wednesday morning so far, but I am really looking forward to it. The belly-dancing, cookery classes and book writing will come!
So boredom is no bad thing. We know it inspires creativity in children and the same applies to us. There will always be things to do that we don’t want to. Most of the time we just crack on without (much) complaint. When we get truly fed up of the drudgery though, that it when our creativity and favourite past times can rise to the surface.
I shall find something else to look forward to today, that doesn’t involve chocolate, but for now, I’m off to start that washing up!
I essentially lost a job today. I say essentially because no one told me it had gone! I took on a temporary role with a view to something more permanent within the same organisation when the role finished. Today, I found out that a newsletter went out last week, including my name in the list of those leaving! Cold!
It wasn’t even somewhere that I had loved working and it certainly wasn’t a place that I envisaged or wanted to retire from so why the sense of loss? Income? Not really, there is still the possibility of extending job number 2 and there may even be further hours at job 3 if wanted. If the last few months have taught me anything it is that income can appear from all sorts of unexpected places, so no, monetary value was not it!
Watching the above programme this evening, which was both excellent and heart-breaking in equal measures, helped me to put my finger on exactly what my issue was – status. Teaching gives you highs and lows like no other job I have ever done. When a child gets something and you realise that the learning or something you have said or done has altered that child’s life chances, the high is out of this world. That is before the respect in still many people’s eyes when you tell them what to do and the fact that you have spent 14 years doing it and dammit, getting good at it!
So what to do when it ends? Who am I if not a teacher? Is being a wife and mother enough? Where is my self worth and value to come from if not from this role?
I don’t yet have the answers and if the same issue applies to you, you may not have the answers yet either. I am reminded of Susan Jeffers’ grid though in her book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’. If I am so afraid of losing my self worth because of the loss of a role, then I am seriously lacking in other roles. Yes, be a wife and mother, but volunteer too, write the book/s in me, spend time with the Other Half, family and friends, partake in hobbies and spend time on my spirit too. There is even time for work as well!
Thanks Clarke Carlisle for a beautiful programme and for your bravery and that of all those who shared their own experiences in the programme. Good luck with your search for new roles as you leave that of professional football player and may we all remember that we are worth so much more than whatever it is that we do. We matter because of who we are.
At my significant birthday meal, my Uncle and Aunt gave my a present which included their filming of our wedding. They asked about the wedding video we had done on the day and whether we still watched it. Yes, was my reply, but not that often. Now the video and the pictures felt like the wedding, not the marriage I told them. They laughed.
Other Half knows about the above conversation, even though he was at the other end of the rather long table when it took place. He also knows that all is not well with another friend’s marriage, which I told him after a long and enlightening conversation with said friend. Other Half doesn’t know any details about the person or situation as my friend swore me to secrecy and I am abiding by that. It did lead us onto a very interesting conversation about our own marriage though, after one of those 24 hour I’m still not talking to you rows.
You see, we often joke, when we are friends obviously, about being with alternative others. In my case, Mr I earn a small fortune, do all the housework and look after the children whilst you watch TV all the time in a Slanket. Other Half’s perfect wife being, a rich Supermodel who is never out of perfume, short clothing, heels or makeup, is expert at Argentine Tango and thinks Other Half is divine in every conceivable way!
As Other Half pointed out though, as hard as it would be for him to lose me, access to the children on a daily basis, his home (I would need it for residency of the children until they were 18) and a decent income (having to pay maintenance and 2 mortgages) that wouldn’t be the worst of it. For Other Half it would be the shattering of his trust, his dream, his belief in all that we are creating together; past, present and future. Everything he works for goes to me to use in the best interests of our family. Yes, the money purchases items for the present and the future, but it is the trust that we will be there for each other in every situation, no matter how bad that situation may become, that is the true bank that Other Half is investing in.
That has been the case for Other Half’s parents, married many years, and he doesn’t know how to do it any differently. Growing up in a single parent family, differently is all I know. Realising what marriage, commitment, till we are parted by death etc. means to Other Half though, whilst we still love each other, might just make all the difference next time I think that I have the option to walk. The option is always there, I just know in advance the abject pain and misery I would be causing to those concerned, those I love the most, if I were to leave. I’m hoping that for me, when times get tough, that this knowledge will make me stay.
Other Half, yes that man who is supposed to love me the most next to my Mother and children and be my biggest cheerleader, has complained because I haven’t written a blog about something he said that I foolishly told him I would write a blog about. He is not a patient person, instead being one of life’s high achievers. If he says he will do something, it gets done at the earliest opportunity. Usually within 24 hours. I know – nightmare. Hence the moaning at me!
I suppose I shouldn’t complain really, after all, he is reading what I write and I’m guessing he must like it! It did make me remember though, that this blog is to share with others what I know and find out about how’ Life’ is done and being as busy as I am right now that just isn’t happening often enough.
So sorry folks, I know that I haven’t been blogging nearly as often as I used to, but that is having 3 jobs, a family to look after and a house to run for you. Whenever anyone asks how it is going, I tell them I am in nervous breakdown territory, but that by God’s grace I should make it! At the moment the 3 jobs should end in July which will provide me with the opportunity to write more regularly again.
Suffice to say, you are never far from my thoughts as I come across life lessons that I know you will want shared with you. In the meantime, like my Mother-in-law always says, I am doing what I can when I can. Bear with me! Other Half, that includes you!
This newspaper is my one little treat a week regarding keeping abreast of what is going on in the world. Beside daily doses of Radio 4 that is! Never being on top of anything these days – remember the 3 jobs – and generally being a chaotically natured person, the papers and enclosed magazines are taking many weeks to get read.
Hence my excitement at seeing the above, ‘What I’m really thinking title’ as I opened one of my many unread Guardian weekend magazines. We think Little Man is on the Autism Spectrum. He has been assessed, but so far the results have been inconclusive. As a Mother, I can’t tell you how far I have come since the day his pre-school raised concerns about his behaviour. Yes, he knew his numbers, name, colours and shapes etc. and was a lovely little boy, but he didn’t talk or play with the other children and he got extremely upset if routines changed. There were other things too, but you don’t say this to a Primary School Teacher, with a Health Visitor for a Sister, a Nurse for a Mother-in-Law and two friends who either Manage or Own a Nursery and not expect me to go into overdrive to get to the bottom of their concerns.
It wasn’t a good 7 months for me. I couldn’t sleep, going to bed in the early hours of the morning only to awake in fear a few hours later. I either didn’t eat at all or ate rubbish trying to make myself feel better with my drug of choice, sugar. I would cry on a daily basis and just look at Little Man for ages wondering what the future held for someone so beautiful in every way.
At the end of the 7 months we got our assessment. More tears! Understanding too though, putting everything in context, telling us what the future would probably hold for our Little Man and essentially saying that as our son, as his parents and as a family we would be ok! Which is why this particular article struck a chord with me and I am sharing it with you.
This was not what you had planned. It isn’t the journey you expected to be on but like the article says, it is your journey. It took me 7 months to begin to make my peace with my journey. I don’t worry about Little Man’s future anymore and just enjoy each day with him and marvel at what he can do (amazing things with numbers, a computer and a piano, considering he is still only 3!) and at who he is.
It was never Other Half’s journey and when I showed him the article he got nothing from it at all. Yes, he thinks Little Man is unconventional. So is Little Lady for that matter – can tell you her talents another time- but for some reason, from day one all Other Half has ever done is encourage Little Man’s strengths and infinitely love and be loved by him. Period.
You may not have a child on the Autism Spectrum, but if you are going through some sort of struggle now; loss of a loved one, a serious illness or disability, a relationship breakdown, loss of housing or employment, this message is still for you. Accept the journey that you are on first. Then you will be able to see what to do about it.