Loving memories

As we walk up the path to our beach hut we pass lots of benches. This is my favourite.

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I have no idea who Sam and Vera were. Sometimes I make up little stories about them, for my own enjoyment. They didn’t have a perfect life, but they weathered the storms together, and made lovely memories.

When I was a child we had a beach hut here. I have happy memories of being at the seaside. Cricket playing, kite flying, donkey riding, paddling, digging, picnicking, happy times. And now we’re creating our own family memories by the seaside.

OH and I have been painting the hut this week, and today we took Bubble and Squeak there. Whilst I got a bit messy with more interior painting, OH went for a walk with the girls. When they returned we sat outside, dipping cookies into steaming mugs of hot chocolate, brewed up on the camping stove.

I love these moments. I store them away for later years when Bubble and Squeak will have developed their wings and flown away. I imagine a time when OH and I will be huddled in deck chairs, wrapped up against the chilly breeze coming off the sea, and complaining about our rheumy joints. We’ll have such fond memories about the family times we’ve shared at our hut.

Maybe one day the girlies will dedicate a bench to OH and me. I wonder what it will say.

Catawampus

Catawampus!

That’s Dictionary.com’s word of the day. Adjective: askew; awry

Yep. That about sums up how I’m feeling right now. It feels like discombobulated mixed with anger.

Normally I’d be trying my damndest to supress this feeling. I have to be on top form. I have to make sure everyone else is ok. But today, just for a few hours, I’m going to go with it. The girls are at school. OH is at the gym. So I’ve taken myself off to our garden room with Cat to experience catawampus.

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The weather matches my mood. Cat and I are basking in the glow of a weak electric fire which has pumped up the temperature to 7.9 degrees. The roof leaks. So, chilly and wet. Apt. Askew. Awry. (Those aren’t bars on the window by the way. They are my home grown skew-whiff pea sticks.)

Last night OH and I organised the second meeting of our local adoption support group. This time 4 others pitched up and it was great. We’ve planned the next one. We’ve planned a day out with the children. We’ve even got the local authority to pay for our venue. And we had sandwiches. Brilliant. No catawampus there.

When we got home I checked my e mails. There was one from my old union rep, who was asking me to look at an attachment – which she had not attached – from HR about the investigation into my line manager. I left work 5 weeks ago. The union were not supportive when I was going through hell. Now, after I have given up my job, they decide to take action?! My sleep last night was marred by nightmares about work. I woke up exhausted and in a funk.

And then I turned on the radio. Big mistake. I caught the tail-end of Thought For The Day, which annoys me intensely at the best of times. This morning there was some chap banging on about motherhood. Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick, but in my funk I thought he was implying that adopters are not ‘real mothers’. I stewed in the shower.

Bless twitter and @MendingMum for making me laugh, and @mumdrah for telling me it is ok to be angry.

I’m only just beginning to believe that it is ok for me to be angry. I tell Bubble often enough that it is ok to feel anger, and I try to help her explore how she can let that anger out. And I truly believe that for her. But I grew up with the very firm message that Nice Girls Don’t Do Anger. I’ve carried that message all my life. And we all know The Body Keeps The Score. So now it’s time to discard that message for me. A little bit at a time. And what better way to do that than basking in some catawumpy ruminations in a chilly and damp garden room, with Cat on my lap?

Bubbling under

This week Squeak, who is 6, has become increasingly anxious, loud and an even more accomplished sleep-resister with frequent bouts of bed wetting.

Yesterday morning she told me that she had been thinking about old mum and old dad – as the girls call them – but she had not wanted to talk about it for fear of upsetting Bubble. Bless her! She decided she wanted to look at her life story book after school.

Usually Bubble runs a mile (sometimes literally) when Squeak’s life story book comes out. Yesterday though, she decided to have a look at hers.

I sat in the middle of the girls and whilst Squeak was asking me if old mum and dad liked taking vitamins (her word for drugs), and were they really allowed to have (insert a number) of children, and if they loved us why didn’t they look after us, and was the old house full of spiders,  Bubble sat quietly.

She flicked through her book, looked at some photographs, and sat devoid of expression, not fidgeting or jiffling. Normally Bubble is the jiffliest jiffler in Jiffleville. Then, as Squeak asked if old mum and dad loved them and I replied that they really loved them but could not look after them, Bubble announced she was going upstairs. To her bedroom. Alone. Bubble hates being in rooms on her own.

I gave her a few minutes and followed her up. She was standing by the window,  perfectly still, with no expression, still clutching her book. She didn’t want a hug. She didn’t want to talk. She didn’t resist my hand on her shoulder, though. We stood for a while together, lost in our own thoughts. I made the usual declarations about how lovely she was and if she needed a hug or a chat to let me know. How useless and empty those words seemed.

This morning when Bubble Scowled In A Prolonged Manner at me over a Toast Incident I was almost relieved.

It’s hard living with an angry child. That’s what I’ve thought for years now. It’s so hard. But living with a child who won’t let you in is even harder. At least the anger gives you something to work with. So I embrace Bubble’s anger. I will ‘work’ with it, and try to support her the best I can. From it may come strength and resolution. Maybe not, but once again Bubble has taught me much.

And so our adventure continues…