On Saturday we went to say Au Revoir to a friend and work colleague of Other Half who will very soon be moving to New York to get married to his boyfriend. As a little bit of history, I have known this man since before Other Half and I married as we used to go and watch him act in amateur dramatic productions. At the time he lived with his then girlfriend and everything seemed very conventional. Obviously changes have since taken place, but the one thing that has never changed is just how lovely this man is. We are the lucky ones to count him as a friend. It comes as no surprise that the person he has chosen to marry and spend the rest of his life with is equally lovely, and as a family, we can’t wait to go and visit them in New York!
What did surprise me, was that at this party was someone else that Other Half has long since told me about, another friend and work colleague, who used to be male and is now female. Again, they are really happy with their new status and I think them fabulous with a wonderful sense of humour. That’s before I mention the figure hugging dress and shapely legs. I am not jealous honestly! They couldn’t belong to a nicer person, especially because she shared shopping tips with me (we both take size 9 shoes). She has an open invite for lunch or dinner and I hope she comes really soon.
When I went to the toilet, Other Half later shared with me that, Newly Female friend shared with him, that she thought I was lovely and was so pleased as she had been so worried about meeting me. Why? Most days , think when not screaming at the kids because we are going to be late for school, I am lovely. Why would someone be genuinely scared that I wouldn’t be, or wouldn’t like them and even worse, would judge them?
Because I’m a Christian! So is Newly Female Friend by the way, so we had fun comparing churches, but it seems that some who call themselves by that name have not been kind to our friend, offering ways by which she should change, rather than loving her as she is and being thoroughly grateful for her company. Thankfully that wasn’t me and I hope that I began that night to restore some trust again in Newly Female Friend.
Then I heard about the above article on the radio the next morning and my heart sank! Saying you would like the definition of marriage to be between men and women is one thing, after all, opinion is just that. This article takes it to a whole different level. All it made me think was that this man didn’t know anybody gay.
I’m not saying we know lots of gay people or have lots of gay friends, but people we do know include teachers, doctors, nurses, vicars, actors, singers and so on. They are also someone’s son or daughter and someone’s friend. If you have someone in your life that you like, love, or care about who happens to be gay, all you really want is for them to be happy and safe. Exactly what you would want for someone heterosexual. Happy and Safe.
It reminds me of what Martin Luther King said about having a dream that one day his children will be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. May the day soon come when we judge everyone, solely by the content of their character.
What a stupid question I hear you say. Of course I say please because I was brought up properly, to have good manners! Calm down, of course you were, as was I, but that is not the sort of please that I mean.
I have realised that I don’t say please. Or rather I don’t mean please. When Mum says she can’t make Little Lady’s birthday because her leg is hurting (she walked into town to buy some items even though she needs a hip replaced and has already had the other one done) I say fine and am fully prepared to do without her attendance even though 10 other family members will be here. Other Half’s response is to flatter, cajole, plead and tell me to get in the car and go to pick her up!
When someone isn’t on the same side as me in a decision to be made, I turn into a lawyer giving every reason under the sun as to why I am right and the decision has to go my way! At no point though do I ask, or plead, giving the true decision making over to the other person. No way! That would involve me becoming vulnerable and possibly receiving an answer that I didn’t want and wouldn’t like! Essentially that could lead to me being hurt.
I’d like to be able to say how not to do this. After all the blog is called How Do You Think It’s Done and is about making your journey easier. Maybe this post though is to ask whether you are doing the same thing? Are you avoiding heartfelt requests in order to protect yourself? In doing so though, do you realise what you are missing out on, the relationships, the events, the experiences? I’m beginning to, which is why next time around I will try to say PLEASE…? If I don’t get my way, at least I tried and as importantly, I felt. Walls stop you feeling. Feeling love, kindness, generosity and so many other emotions. Walls stop you being in receipt of them too. I don’t want that. What about you?
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.
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.
Little Lady goes to a Spanish class where I have gotten to know some of the other mum’s quite well whilst she is having her lesson.
I just received an email, that the Mum of one of her classmates died of a brain haemorrhage on Friday. She leaves a daughter the same age as mine and a partner. This mum and I talked together every week and she gave me some wonderful advice for my little girl’s future and lots of advice in general – call it words to the wise. I can’t believe she’s gone. We sat and talked last week and I fully intended to speak to her again at the next lesson.
Why wouldn’t I? This woman was attractive, intelligent, interesting, funny, kind, informative, friendly, and seemingly very healthy. A second mum to all of our children. More fool me! Don’t take the next second for granted, it isn’t guaranteed.
In tears, rest in peace my friend.