My Hero – My Husband.

I suppose it’s only after you have been totally broken, a carcass of shattered pieces, that you can truly appreciate how good it feels to be whole.

I’ve never held back when it came to my life, I don’t have a closet of skeletons and most people know my past.  Or at least how my past has looked from the outside. It’s been a roller coaster and I can say, with my hand on my heart, that I was broken for a very, very long time.

I have spent what feels like a lifetime, trying to prove people wrong or prove I can manage just fine.  Moreover, I have spent most of that time trying to prove to myself that everything is ok. Even when it wasn’t.   Then everything changed.

It takes something kind of wonderful to fix something that believes even itself to be ruined.

I owe my new life to my husband.  One man who made me want to shake off the dust and start again.  One man who loves my children as his own.  One man who took a chance on a big change and jumped with two feet.  Perhaps I don’t say it enough,  or show it enough,  but without him, my life would be groundhogging… still broken, pretending, searching and making one mistake after another.

I’m not being naïve here, or attributing far too much credit in one direction.  I know that the work had to come from within… but he was, is and continues to be my inspiration to keep going.  He cheers me on when I don’t think I can keep going.  Holds me up when I want to fall.

It’s not hard to do some soul searching when for the first time in over a decade, it appears all by itself.

Quite simply, my husband is my hero.  I tell him this all the time but in the craziness of life, the words we say start to lose their meaning and just become another cliché…  but cliché they are not.

He’s not perfect, he is fabulously flawed, with his over dramatic man flueyness to his grumpy old man sulks… but I wouldn’t change him for the world.  Handsome, generous, caring, loyal, honest, hard working, funny and mine.  I do not for one minute take for granted how lucky I am.   We share a family that we rebuilt with hope and love and we stand side by side to defend it, and each other.

I want to tell my husband, without cliché, without my words being lost in a hectic day with quick I love you’s and have a nice day’s… from the bottom of my heart, that I absolutely cherish him, everything he is and does for us.  That he is my best friend, my soul mate, my partner and life just wouldn’t be the same without him here.  I want to tell him that I appreciate everything he does for us; that every I love you, no matter how rushed, means the world; that every cross word is only through frustration and never meant; that I’m forever grateful he joined the crazy bus and hopes he stays on it until we’re old and ready to get off it together.  I wish we had more time, more energy, more conversation, more of each other… but that’s what you get with a giant tribe to keep fed and clothed and happy, and I’ll take all I can get.

Here’s to a top bloke!  Top Dad, Daddy, Poppie and for me, a top husband.  My husband.  My hero.  I love you.  ❤

After

9 months of looking forward, anticipation, excitement, anxiousness, tests, scans, new furniture, decorating, planning, name choosing, making space and more looking forward… Pregnancy is full of ups and downs but you’re surrounded by people… Everyone loves an impending birth!! Some who never showed an interest before the promise of a new baby, some who you haven’t seen for a long time, some who’ve always been there and, of course, all the professionals involved in ensuring your gynaecological factory is in full working order and that your growing baby is happy and healthy.   you’re  encouraged to think about the birth you want, where you want it, how you want it, when you want it and who you want there with you.
You’re hands are held tightly and any worries you have are quickly alleviated or listened to and supported.
But what about afterwards? What about when things don’t go to plan? What about when the midwives sign your postnatal book goodbye and they wave you off with good lucks and smiles. When you close the door, when the phone stops ringing with “have you had the baby yet”S… What about when it’s all over and you’re left with your baby and a cloud of hormones and feelings and no one is left to hold your hand or to listen? What then?…
The loneliest place to be is in your head, where no one can see,  hear or feel what you do.  Where you can only rely on your words or actions to express how you feel and if that doesn’t come out how other people prefer it to;  you are no nearer to explaining or helping others to understand you.
Add to that the fact everyone expects you to be brimming with overwhelming happiness, it seems nothing short of ungrateful when you don’t feel that cloak of unbelievable happiness every minute of the day.  The simple fact is that having a baby is hard work. Mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s draining, tiring and nothing short of exhausting. It’s brilliantly rewarding and no matter how rubbish or sad you might feel sometimes it never takes away how much you love your new little bundle. But sometimes happy is not the simple feeling that everyone thinks it is.  Lucky. Yes I am very lucky to have all of my children and our latest addition is nothing short of amazing. I know this. But luck doesn’t knock your hormones into shape, it doesn’t change the fact that her birth didn’t go as I wanted it to, that for three days I slept alone longing to hold my baby, not feeling her move inside anymore, I led there, empty, womb and arms. Luck doesn’t make me feel less guilty for a start that was less than perfect for my little princess. Luck doesn’t stop the worry that plagues me while she sleeps and I have only hope to rely on that her lungs continue to work the way they should. Luck doesn’t help me feel better in my times of emotional turmoil.  Yes I am lucky. Yes I am grateful. But sometimes, I am not ok. And that, i am learning,  is ok.  It turns out lots of new mums feel like this. No one talks about it because non new mums or mums that have long forgotten the newness are not always there with open ears for you as they are with open arms to hold your baby. They don’t understand and don’t mind telling you that.  If my caesarean scar wasn’t healing properly after the birth I am sure people would be much more amenable to caring but what you can’t see, can’t hurt. Right?  Wrong.
9 months of planning and preparing, excitement and longing…. And not enough talking about “after”.

A tangled wwweb

As an over thinker, toilet conversations (convos between women that become starkly honest and revealing because they occur in the trustful environment of the loo) often lead to tremendous brain over use and this is my latest philosophical journey…

Someone made a comment the other day that they were suspicious of their husband because he deletes his internet history.

I suppose there could be various reasons for this, and any of you out there who regularly delete your browsing history will, maybe, be able to vouch for that.  I don’t delete mine… why?  Because I have never had the inclination to, never thought about it… because I have nothing to hide…  Maybe… or it could be simply because it just never occurred to me.

I would argue that on it’s own as far as habits go it’s not the crime of the century.  Maybe as a part of a picture however it is slightly suspicious.  But therein lies the problem.  21st century media and all of it’s technological advances have given cause to paranoia and to worry.

The internet itself pauses the greatest threat to our society.  We are all actively afraid of terrorists and all those things that go bump in the night.  We fear busy events in case of bombings or worse and we walk our daily lives on eggshells.  But, in all honesty, what are the chances?  We could just as easily crash our cars, find a lump or go out in our sleep.  No.   The real threat, the thing that destroys our relationships, our community, our sanity; is the internet.  Broad statement to make.  But look around you.  Have you ever received a message late at night from a married ‘friend’ who feels the need to send a “Hi” when his wife has gone to bed?  Or a long lost “we should catch up” from a Facebook friend who we knew in real life years ago… who turns out to be married and his wife has her nails done in the same salon as you…  Come on – I can only speak for the women… but I suspect most of us have received messages of some sort from someone who should really be talking to their partners instead… I speak from experience.  From what I can see.  From what fills the news.  From what we are surrounded by.

Anyone can walk into your home through an app, a hidden browser, social media, a soon to be deleted off some search history website.  They can bully your children, groom your children, tempt your husbands and wives, bully you, threaten you, troll you; they can be anyone, from anywhere and there is nothing you can do to stop it.  Everyone thinks they have the right to your time because you should be so easily accessible.  We no longer converse in person because that has become time consuming or it interrupts our lives on the net that we have become so very quickly attached to.  We lend ourselves to trust and hope and pray that no one we care about falls into the trap of the internet.

I worry.  I admit it.  My children and my husband will all confirm this.  I worry because it is out of my control.  I cannot see or hear who comes into my home, what pictures are shared, what arrangements are made, whose heart is being broken, who knows who?  It makes my job harder not being able to protect or defend my family because no matter how many locks are on the door, people can still come in… on whatever device or phone they choose to.

The great unnoticed…

In my opinion, the most significant form of intimacy is thought and conversation.  I.e. You can’t seduce someone simply by jumping into bed with them… something has to come first.  Who are you thinking of while you sit at your desk?  Who do you speak to when you pick up your phone?  Who do you message when you have 5 minutes spare?  Do you hide these conversations? Do you delete them? Is your phone full of contacts you really shouldn’t have?  Then that’s surely akin to deleting your browsing history or devoting yourself to a face on an app, keeping secrets is having an affair. Whether it is physical or not is irrelevant.  Someone other than your partner is taking your time in your private life, in your thoughts and planted themselves there through the medium of the internet.

Similarly, do you know who your children are talking to?  Do they share with you all of their conversations? Contacts? Multi Media?  The truth is you will never know.  No amount of good parenting and trust is going to stop them from utilising the wifi that we have provided, the internet that we have given them… naively allowing other people into your home to upset them or hurt them, whether physically or mentally… again is irrelevant.   The problem is, there is nothing we can do.  They have to grow up, they have to evolve and this is the world that we live in.

I firmly believe we have entwined ourselves, in a very, tangled, very wicked web and for all of the benefits the internet has brought us, there is an equal amount of detriment.  How to catch a spider…  Dance on the web it has weaved.

We can, of course, invade each other’s privacy in order to keep a check on things, panic over context and read between missing lines… or we can remain vulnerable on the side lines of hope and trust that our relationships can withstand the test of superfast broadband and all that it brings with it.  It won’t change the outcome. The truth is that, what other people do with their power of the internet is their choice and we have no control over it.   If they are going to join sites, make contacts that we disapprove of, have conversations that would break hearts, share photographs that should only be between partners, give out or receive words of contempt that destroy and humiliate…. They are going to do it, whether we monitor them, trust them, worry about them, love them or whether we couldn’t care less.  We can only be responsible for our own use of the monster that was created to bring us together.  Bring us together it certainly did, enough to tear each other apart.

Divorce rates soar, families divide, and children commit suicide.  Unfriending, blocking, not liking, name calling, persistent offensive messaging, publicly humiliating status’… all akin to being slapped in the face.  A non existent but ever prominent act of violence.  Not replying, hiding your phone, removing your sim, deleting or hiding message/call content… all comparable with seedy hotel meet ups or a drunken kiss in a bar.

With unknowing brings suspicion, paranoia, scepticism and panic.  This is not a judgement on character, it has been planted there by the very fact that anyone can do anything on the internet and no one else ever has to know.  It is all so dangerously easy.

So, if said person’s husband is deleting their browsing history, and it turns out that this IS because he spends his time searching for other women or for something he feels he doesn’t have in the real world, then rather than be worried, I suggest she takes control of her own life, her own actions and leaves him to do what he wishes on the internet, because I pity the man who would risk it all for a game of lets pretend rather than reap the rewards of living in the present.  Of course, he might be perfectly innocent… but the world we live in doesn’t make allowances for that.

I don’t check phones or messages or devices, of any of my family… because I trust them?  Yes! Because I might not like what I could find?  Definitely!  And moreover because there is little point.  I love my husband and my children more than I could ever put into words.   It would kill me to lose them.  I wish I could put us all in a bubble where we only ever needed each other and the world outside couldn’t taint us.  I can’t.   They can keep their privacy, just as I trust them to keep my heart.  I have been lied to before, I have been betrayed before and I would rather be drop kicked in the face than go through that again.  It would take a really rotten person to do that.  I don’t believe they have that in them.  Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t stop me worrying, like I said I am an over thinker… I worry all time… I’m putting on weight at the speed of light, look different than I did yesterday never mind when we met and I’ve been burnt before… I have a lot to lose… but…

What is out of my control will always be so.  I can’t stop Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp, I can’t get rid of wifi or broadband or email, I can’t erase the internet from the world.  I can only trust that I have made good choices in the people I surround myself with, trust the vows that I took, trust myself to do what’s right and live with a clean conscience.  That, I believe, makes me strong.  Makes me decent and trustworthy and honest.  And that, is all I have to worry about at the end of the day.

Surf the net, make connections, but do it responsibly.  Look after your real life and take care of those who love you.

Best Stressed…

Don’t stress!!  Whatever!  Being pregnant in my 30’s is proving to be somewhat of a challenge!  I am a natural born worrier… I hold my hands up and admit it freely… yes I worry… all the time… about everything… but, someone told me recently that to worry is to care.  The bigger the worrier, the bigger the heart.  I will accept that.  I do care…. A lot.

I’m proud to don my big heavy heart and tackle the world with my over bearing, over protective manner.  When you have three children to raise, one to grow and a husband to love, it’s a hard job keeping track of everything all the time… and this leads to, for me at least, an overwhelming need to stress and panic over the slightest of things.  What if, am I, but how come, imagine if, where is, how will, when is, will they, how are, is it, will it, can it…. A buffet of varying worry starting points for you there.  Enjoy!

I have moments where I am quite convinced that I probably am neurotic.  My mind takes mole hills and churns out the Himalayas.  Most people try to tackle this problem by offering advice such as “chill out”, “calm down”, “don’t stress”, “be happy”…  but I think they’re missing the point.  It’s not as simple as that.  The world out there is big and scary and life is even scarier!!  I am not a person of luck, so I often consider that worrying is my best weapon against the challenges that potentially face me.  If I worry about it, then I can potentially solve it before it even happens, thereby preventing the worst possible scenarios that haunt me, literally every second of the day.

That’s the thought process anyway… so how can I stop worrying?? Because if I stop worrying and then something happens then I have practically allowed the bogey man through my front door and given him my life to toy with.  I realise that this is irrational and even in that knowledge it does not become any easier to let the worry monster slip away to whence it came.

Worrying is my best weapon against the world…  I protect my family by worrying.  I keep them safe by worrying.  The only thing is – I destroy myself with worry.  I take my sanity and store it in a little box and wrap it up tightly so no one can harm it and I go out to war every day armed with my worry and I stand guard for those I love.  Chill out?  But who will worry for everyone then?  Without worry, how can we stay safe, secure and happy?  I honestly don’t know… this blog has no conclusion… I genuinely have no answers… anyone with any ideas on how to stop worrying without me feeling like I’ve thrown all my caring out of the window, I’d be glad of your advice!   Until then I’m going to try and relax… whatever that means…

What a Marbleless Day!!

I’m not sure how long this has been going on for but I have just realised I am losing my marbles! Well and truly!!  I always considered myself high risk when it comes to keeping hold of certain items… for example, my keys, my bank card, car parking tokens and tickets etc etc… I always always delegate these items to the safer hands of my husband or anyone else who appears to be less likely to put them down in a random spot and walk away free of them.

Today apparently I’m not even safe with my own brain.  I’ve put it down somewhere and for the life of me I can’t find it.  Maybe I put it somewhere safe?  That’s even more of a problem – then I’ll never find it!!  I am fast becoming a liability… my attention span has shrunk way beyond miniscule and just as I’m about to, Isabella’s kicking like mad again… must eat… oh my glass is empty… where’s my printing gone?… I’m going to get my cheesecake… ow she’s poking through my belly button… I wonder what’s on the menu tonight… that dream was weird… what was I doing?… I’m sure I printed that out already?… I wonder what Lee’s doing?… These maternity tights are a godsend!… Who was I going to ring?… These knickers are driving me mad!… I’m going to get my cheesecake… I miss Lee… I wonder what it would be like to live inside facebook… I thought Namibia was the place in bedknobs and broomsticks… Treguna mekoides trecorum satis dee… we need to watch Zoo… mmmmmm cheesecake… tired… sigh… my leg’s sore… did I print that?!

Now half way through writing I forgot what the point of this blog even was and I went and fed myself instead… but luckily, as I had written down my thoughts, I simply started at the beginning and… realised I was chatting about my loss of brain… and therein proving my own point.  Who even am I?!

Panty Power!

I reached a new height of pregnancy glamour today.  Having woken up yesterday with a decidedly bigger bump than I went to bed with the night before, I now have a severe knicker problem… in that none fit!  Yesterday’s seamless keks that, on the surface, apparently fit… roll down when I move…  Ever sit in school assembly, around the age of 6 and instead of listening to the drones of the over enthusiastic, ever so patronising teacher talk about kindness or sharing… you sit – and with precision – roll your white knee socks down to a perfect little sock donut that sits round your ankle??…. well if you didn’t, you missed out – if you did… that’s what my seamless knickers now do when I move… like Houdini, they plan their great escape from under my maternity leggings and roll themselves down to a perfect, if not ridiculously tight, donut round my hips.  Thus creating the ultimate muffin top and an odd roll of knicker tyre through my clothes.

So, today, I opted for all seam AND elastic to boot.  No donut rolls for me today… nope.  Mistake!

Instead, I looked like I had lassoed myself round the middle, still had the muffin tops and even managed an extra inch round the top of my thighs; an over pouring of desperate blubber seeking solace from it’s claustrophobia, sneaking under the border and settling on the banks of my saddlebags.  After sitting at my desk being strangled by my own underwear I decided to take myself, my shrinking knicks and a pair of scissors to the loo.  This is the highlight of my pregnancy malfunctions to date.  I snipped at my elastic, I trimmed the sides, I created a revolutionary bump apron in my undies to make room for my belly and I breezed out of those toilets like a new woman.  My bump is free!!  My thighs have resumed their normal thigh shaped selves and I no longer look like I’ve been put together wrong.

I will never again underestimate the power of a comfy knicker… What’s the point of making muffin tops if we can’t eat them?!

I think maybe as my bump continues to grow I might just embrace my womanhood and opt for the freedom of the fig leaf!!

The Countdown….

I am on various countdowns at the moment… 1 & ½ weeks to my next antenatal appointment, 5 weeks until Olivia’s college application has to be in, 5 & ½ weeks to the next scan, 6 weeks until I start maternity leave, 6 weeks and 2 days until our babymoon, 10 weeks until the scan after the last, 14 weeks until Xmas, 17 weeks until our due date… and loads of other bits and bobs in between!!

I feel as though I have been counting down the seconds since April… praying every day that everything will be ok and we will make it to the end of this nine month journey with our baby safe and sound…  After the draining pull of the first four months, we are finally into a countdown period that seems to be flying, sort of…(I spend every day excited with an anxious anticipation, making even the fastest days seem like a month… I don’t half help myself!)

Christmas is looming and by the time I finish work, organise Christmas, organise everything ready for our baby’s arrival and keep my home running as much like clockwork as is humanly possible when you live in a zoo… then  the final countdown will be at our feet.  Busy is not the word.  At the moment I balance working full time alongside my son playing rugby 4 times a week, being one daughter’s taxi as well as being general domestic administrator and banking chief of command.  Thank God for my husband and his calming ways!!  I am not sure I could keep going if he wasn’t there to cheer me on!!

The nesting instinct has kicked in good and proper this week too – not helping my need to rest for five minutes… the slightest speck of dust is aggravating me beyond the point of mild irritation and I need to get upstairs gutted and redecorated before the start of my mat leave.  I’m sure I must sweep my floors downstairs no less than 6 times a day!   No matter how tired I am, I find myself sitting down in an evening and watching around me to see if anything needs sweeping or cleaning… I have a feeling this urge is only going to get stronger… Good job really, because I have so much to do in so little time…

The call of Maternity leave is the sunshine I am dying for!! I should just about have enough time to get Baby and Christmas sorted before the festive season hits, leaving me to enjoy the merriments and proudly await the arrival of our little Isabella.

Week 22 has been a tiring and busy week but it’s another week almost ticked off my waiting list… and there’s a little less time left to count down.