For now I’m at ease…

As I sit here writing this, Breaking Bad playing, housework piling up – I’ve finished my cup of coffee and the floors should be well and truly dry now but I can’t find the motivation to get off my tired ass. The kids are at school. My husband is at work.

Not entirely sure why I’m writing this, thought processing I guess.

I’m in the process of having my left arm tattooed, a sleeve. It’s something I have wanted done for years and It’s made me one happy bunny. It’s not finished yet but most of the scarring is covered and I love it. I no longer feel on edge if I’m around new people with my arm uncovered. I no longer look at my arm and think ugh. I’m no longer consumed with worry about my kids and what my scarring may mean for them, the irrational thoughts that they may be excluded or bullied. No one will ask me what they are or how it happened. No more looks – well, not those looks anyway. And I will love it even more once it’s finished, I’m itching to go back and get some more done! I’ve always loved tattoos, if I had my way I’d be covered – too bloody expensive though! I try not to think about how much my arm has cost so far or how much more it’s going to cost, I’m not really used to spending money on myself, it’s not something I do very often!

But this sleeve is worth every penny – the reluctance to write that was unbelievable. But it’s been good for my mental wellbeing, however ridiculous that may sound. I don’t feel so shitty about myself. I know they’re still there but no one will notice them now and that has given my confidence a boost. The embarrassment is gone. The fear is gone.

Sure there’ll still be that conversation with my kids, there’s scars in other places that they will see and they will have questions about things that people will no doubt tell them. But I will cross that bridge if and when. For now I am at ease…

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Another day, another β€œball pit”

So here we are again. The “ball pit”, a different one from my last “ball pit” post but basically the same.

In principle I should be annoyed that it’s always me doing these things, you see my husband is off playing golf somewhere with other dads from the family! Haha they’re all the bloody same. But I’m not annoyed, I won’t allow myself to be. I like to see my kids do things, progress, grow. I can probably tell you everything my kids are capable of. As loving a father as my husband is, he misses a lot. I want him to see them how I do, to know them inside and out. But everyone is different, he’s happy and they’re happy so I’m happy πŸ˜ƒ

I watch with pride at how far they have come. My eldest is off in the football area playing with complete strangers. His stammer a mere inconvenience. My youngest would normally be stuck to my ass around about now but she’s not! She’s off in the “ball pit” doing her own thing. She looks unsure at times and looks to me, I guess to make sure I’m paying attention, that she’s not alone. She also comes back to the table for a drink more often than what she would if her brother was with her. But she’s definitely getting braver. I try to imagine what I would be like in their shoes and I’m pretty sure they’re doing a much better job than what I would’ve!

I’m not keen on not being able to see my boy but I get regular updates from my girl about what he’s doing! I can see she really wants him to play with her but, at the moment, he’s enjoying himself playing what I’m guessing from her description can only be air hockey which, I’m told, is right near the football area.

I do worry that people might be teasing him but I have to just let him be – if he comes to me then ok but if not he’s obviously dealing with it or choosing to ignore it. I don’t want to mollycoddle him and make him nervous about being around other children. He needs to deal with it in his own way. I hate it, I really do but it is what it is and thankfully he is who he is.

Love the “ball pit” it gives me time to watch and reflect. Time to think. More importantly, my kids love it too.

I’m not β€œMummy” anymore πŸ˜’πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜€

So it dawned on me, at about midnight last night when I couldn’t sleep, that I am no longer “Mummy” to either of my kids! Sure, other people refer to me as Mummy when talking to my kids and I think I probably do, in a kind of third person way while talking to my youngest. But they don’t. My babies don’t call me Mummy and I’m not sure how I feel about that? I’m proud that they’re growing but sad at the same time! It’s so weird. Parenthood is a funny old thing, the mix of emotions is really quite strange. I remember noticing pretty quickly when our eldest stopped saying Mummy and Daddy. Also, I picked up on when he stopped saying Nanny. But our youngest, I’m not even sure! I’m racking my brains, trying to think of the last time I heard her call me Mummy or even refer to me as Mummy. I can’t. As for Daddy and Nanny, that’s anyone’s guess.

I’m not sure if I’m going to write Mummy and Daddy in her birthday card – she turns 6 in September. Or should I write Mum and Dad? I’m pretty sure she won’t mind either way!

Maybe I could indulge myself this one last time!

A bit of a scare

Before I start this post, I would like to say this story doesn’t have a horrible ending, I’m just venting!

So, I found a lump. I’ll set the scene: approximately 3am I was awoken with a searing pain. Half asleep my hand shot to my right breast, the pain was in a specific place to the right and directly under my armpit. As I felt the area there it was.

Panic.

I kept feeling it as if I was expecting it to disappear. It didn’t.

Now, it hadn’t occurred to me that cancerous lumps are usually painless. All I could think was “Oh shit”. I didn’t really sleep well for the rest of the night and when I did I dreamt of the lump. I remember dreaming that I couldn’t get a doctors appointment and that I was arguing with the receptionist – then, weirdly she tells me she’ll book me in for a smear. I kept telling her I didn’t need a smear but she wouldn’t listen. Anyway, you get the gist.

When my husband got up in the morning I asked him to have a feel, mainly to reassure myself that I wasn’t imagining it. I wasn’t.

I’m going to pause this story to tell you a bit about my personality. If there’s something wrong I need to know, I feel safer asking a professional and getting it sorted rather than trying to ignore it. Just in case. In labour, I felt safer in the hospital – I hated being at home having contractions. If I’m having a procedure or blood test I need to look, I feel safer knowing what’s happening.

Oh, and I was under the impression that we are meant to get these things checked.

Anyway, I had a triage call to discuss it, she booked me in for an examination within the hour. When I went in to see the doctor I quickly realised that she was a bit put out that I was there. She examined my breasts and proceeded to inform me that it’s just normal breast tissue. Thank fuck! Amazing news! But the way she said it was patronising to say the least. She told me that it’s not like a pea (I’d been asked on the phone “is it as big as a pea?”) and that it’s quite obviously linked to a long line of breast tissue. I tried to justify myself by telling her that I didn’t say it was like a pea but that I said it is as big as a pea. She was not amused by this. She told me it’s more than likely due to hormones but that it’s “really hard to know when it’s only a days history” – I was beginning to feel very guilty for having wasted her time. She very sharply told me that cancerous lumps are not painful, that’s why people miss them. When I told her I didn’t even think of that, I just panicked, she told me “well, I’m going to reiterate this now, cancerous lumps are not painful, they are painless.” She told me I have been checking my breasts wrong, which I am grateful to learn obviously but the way she spoke to me was like she thought that I’m stupid.

I left there feeling guilty that I had wasted an appointment.

I left there feeling like I was stupid for not knowing that it was just normal breast tissue.

I left there feeling embarrassed.

But the more I think about it the more disappointed I feel. I’m disappointed that I was made to feel I shouldn’t have got that checked. The more I think about it the more angry I feel. I’m angry that she is part of the problem, an attitude like that is what stops some people from getting things like that checked. A reaction like hers is what people are afraid of, the thought of that reaction is what makes people convince themselves they’re just being silly.

For some of these people, that decision not to get checked out ends up being fatal.

Two words. Part one.

I’m going to start this story by introducing the main character, a 14 year old girl – we’ll call her Jane – who was about to be woken by her mother with 2 words that would turn her life upside down.

“Dad’s dying.”

Those 2 words made Jane gasp – eyes wide she sprung out of bed, hands covering her mouth.

What? That can’t be. He promised he’d be ok. No, you’ve got it wrong, you heard it wrong. Half asleep, you didn’t hear it right. It’s ok.

It’s not ok.

“The taxi is on its way.”

Get dressed. Deodorant, you’re sweating. Teeth, have to brush your teeth, mouth tastes like ass. Where are your glasses? Can’t go without them, can’t see without them. Hair, find a brush – get a hair tie, just chuck it up out of your face.

Taxi here.

What! I’m not ready! I’m ready to go but I’m not ready.

It’s ok.

Get in the taxi.

What’s taking so long?

It’s not ok.

Jane and her mum arrive outside of the hospital.

Come on, woman! Why are you walking so slow? Shit, lifts aren’t working, take the stairs.

“Slow down!”

Slow down? Slow down?! No I will not. Yes I will. Need to wait for mum. She’s trying.

Jane walked into the room, her mum waited outside out of respect for the second wife. There he was, barely awake with an oxygen mask over his face. He acknowledged Janes presence with an enthusiastic “Jane” as he looked at her worried face. That would be the last word he would utter to his daughter. As he drifted in and out of consciousness, people came and went but Jane stayed holding her dads hand and watching as minutes blurred into hours.

Jane and her 17 year old sister sat either side of their dad, each holding his hands. He began to moan, letting go of Janes hand. His hand went to his torso. Jane looked on, she didn’t know what to do. Her sister stood up and tried to find out the problem. “Is something hurting Dad?” He continued to moan, he started to touch his oxygen mask, it was irritating him. A nurse came to help. The girls left the room….

“I can’t wake him up. Why isn’t he waking up?” Desperately Jane looked to her sister for some sort of answer.

“He’s just sleeping Jane.”

Confusion shrouded her mind.

Whats happening? Where are they going? Jane watched as her step mum gathered things in a bag. She was going to freshen up. Now? She also saw her brother going. Then panic as her sister stood up. What? No! She can’t leave. Please don’t leave. As if she could hear her thoughts, to Janes relief, her sister sat down again. Phew. Just after her step mum and brother left 2 nurses came into the room and asked Jane to leave while they “cleaned him up”. The door closed. Janes sister went to the toilet. Jane barely noticed her mother’s presence.

A nurse approached Jane and her mother, saying something along the lines of ‘he hasn’t got long, it’s time to say goodbye.’

“My sister, she’s in the toilet” said Jane desperately as she was ushered into the room by the nurse.

As Jane stood there by her fathers side, she tried to make sense of what was happening. But it was as if everything was just happening around her and she was just being led, confused. Her sister came in, ‘thank goodness’ Jane was vaguely aware of thinking. They stood either side of him, each had a nurse by their sides. They gave him a kiss on his cheeks, he stopped breathing – one of the nurses went to close his eyes properly and he gasped! Shock and pointless hope shot through the girls. That was his last breath. Each of them gave him one last kiss on his cheeks. As Jane stood back up brown liquid came pouring out of his mouth and onto his chest.

More shock. Their hands went to their mouths as they gasped. The nurses quickly hurried them out of the room to their mother. They weren’t supposed to see that. Their mother put an arm round each girl and they were led to the family room.

“Would you like to see a priest?”

Jane looked up, anger seared through her. ‘A priest?’ As she glared at the nurse her mother said politely “No thank you.”

Customers

Yesterday a regular customer came in, that oh so familiar face of that regular pain in my backside! He knows the prices, he’s been here a million times, yet he always acts like he’s in shock by it.

Every. Single. Time.

“What?!” He says staring at his order. “That’s fucking ridiculous!” His plum in mouth way of speaking makes the swearing sound less harsh but you know he’s doing it for dramatic effect. He must have said that at least three times while muttering his utter nonsense. You know, I was stood there thinking ‘I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be responding right now’ but there were no words. I knew that I was meant to be humouring him, pacifying him, but… nothing! The words just weren’t there. I was just stood there looking at him like a complete dumb ass. I must have looked uncharacteristically confused or something because he suddenly said “I’m so sorry, this isn’t your fault but it is fucking ridiculous you know” there it was again, fucking ridiculous. And there I remained, staring at him like he was speaking gobbledegook. ‘Come on, say something. Anything.’ Then my brain kicked in – unfortunately not as well as I had hoped: “Well the prices haven’t changed since the last time we had this conversation.” What?! Did I just say that out loud?! At least my brain didn’t fart a swear word. Every cloud, right?! 😬

Photo frames

There’s glass in that photo frame. The significance of that eludes most. It’s something that helps me realise how far I have come. It reassures me that I am “ok”, that I’m “doing ok”.

I am “doing ok” right?

There’s glass in that frame. It’s silent proof that I “won”. I “got over it”.

I did “win” didn’t I? I am “over it” aren’t I?

Theres a picture on my bedside table. It’s of my dad. He’s smiling a happy smile. That reminds me of my less than perfect childhood, the parent that died before they got to know me. The less than perfect situation he left me in. He left me. I loved him. Regardless of his imperfections, I loved him. And he left me.

There’s no glass in that photo frame. The significance of that eludes most.

Ok, I give up – blood donation cancelled πŸ˜”

Ideally they like to have 3 days notice if you can, it gives them more of a chance to fill that appointment. So, I bit the bullet and called them to admit defeat. Realistically, the almost 4 pounds that I need to gain hasn’t graced me with its presence over the last few weeks, so 3 days is a bit unlikely. And when I say “a bit unlikely” I actually mean no way, no how, ain’t gonna happen! As in, my husband is more likely to pick his pants and socks up off of the bathroom floor within those 3 days – although that is almost as unlikely!

Ugh! I feel lousy. It’s like giving blood is the one thing I could do to make a difference. But I can’t. I can’t even do that one simple thing.

I’m useless!