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Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Probably the best thing I ever learned in my many therapy sessions is this. People are going to hurt you, it's human existence, if we are, we will be hurt, it's unavoidable. We can only be damaged by that hurt however, if we allow ourselves to be.
I used to visit a therapist almost second hand, on behalf of the boys. When they were so fragile, so damaged and hurt they only ever spoke to me. You cannot take a child to a therapist and say " you have an hour, tell the nice lady everything that troubles you" It doesn't work that way.
My boys would behave like normal boys ( almost, sometimes) they were normal to me because I hadn't had any other 4 and 2 year old boys, I hadn't had 4 and 6 year olds, 0r 8 and 10 year olds so whatever they did was 'normal' to me.
Dan would line toys from his bed to the door every night, for 3 years, sharp toys, noisy toys, lego bricks ...every night I would go in and trip on them and tut and then pick them up, put them away. I never said anything, it was just what happened until after 3 years, when he was then 7, he said one morning " Mummy, every night I line toys up on the floor in my room so that if a stranger comes in, he will trip on them and wake me up and I will be able to scream and he won't hurt me anymore..every morning I wake up and they are is SO weird because I don't know where they go"
Jordan was never naughty, from the age of 23 months until he was 5 he was quiet and obedient, he sat still and he was good. Unless he couldn't see me and then he would scream, deafening screams until he could see me again. He came with me to the toilet, to bed, to eat, to shop, to church, to the kitchen, to the front door. That was because ( at the age of 2) he was told that he was BAD and that he was WICKED and that if his mummy or daddy ever found out how BAD he was...they would send him away.
Dear God.
Things would happen and I would deal with them and then, every monday I would go to see a child psychologist and would recount every sordid thing that had happened to my children. ( and for the record, I will never ever write them on this blog because there are so may freaks and perverts out there, you wouldn't believe what people google that brings them here, if I were to describe what happened and what they told me, I would be swamped by filthy child molesters) wants or needs to know the details. ) I would tell her what they did/ said and what I did / said back and she would tell me that I did the right thing and what to do if A B or C happened.
Those boys would remember details of what had happened to them for 3 years, out of the blue, something would trigger a reaction that would make my blood run the store, at the park, at nursery school ( but only if I was there, if I wasn't there they would see 2 little boys who would sit on a chair and wait for me to collect them, Jordan started nursery in January and in October they wrote to me to say they had seen him smile and also that HUGE NEWS! He got off his chair and picked up a book and then she sat back down again and held the book until I came to get him) Suddenly they would scream a blood curdling scream and then the verbal diarrhea would begin....streams and streams of unpunctuated vomiting of 'oh and thens' they would remember and they would tell me and then, as quickly as it began, they would stop. FLICK. Over, back to playing and being a regular kid again. Wherever we were I would have to stop and wait, listen to every single word and then I would do whatever seemed right at the time.
One day I went to see the shrink with all the answers and whined for 30 minutes about how totally useless the first one was. I cried about how he let the kids down, how he didn't turn up, how he would constantly disappoint me as a father.
She listened ( so patiently, honestly therapy is the best they can't tell you to shut up, they are paid to listen, heaven!) and then she said the one thing I needed to hear, the thing that I have remembered and used and tested and used again and it has never, ever let me down. Not once, in 19 years.
She said "Helen, he can only disappoint you if you expect more than he is capable of delivering. Stop expecting anything and you will never be disappointed again. He isn't letting you or the children down, he isn't capable of being what you wish he would be. He CAN'T do it or be it. Let him off the hook"
Oh my goodness. It works, it REALLY works. Stop wishing people would be or do or say anything particular, just accept people are human and enjoy what they DO bring to your life. It is quite honestly the single most valuable piece of advice I have ever been given in my life.
From that moment whatever the first one did, or didn't do I would look at him and say to myself " well of COURSE he did/n't do that, it's what he is, it is all he is capable of" if perchance he did anything that was splendid ( and surely to Betsy in 19 years he must have, mustn't he? I can't recall specifics but no-one can be totally useless for that long can they?) I would accept it as a marvellous miracle and tell myself how splendid that was ..and remind myself that it was sure to be a one off and not wait with baited breath for it to happen again!
Throughout my life I have used that advice and it truly takes the pain out of feeling let down.
Rather like the lady who after having been married for 75 years, answered the question "what is your secret" by saying " It's as simple as this, you get married and you decide that he may have 3 irritating habits, when he annoys you , look at him and say " He's allowed that one, that's one of his three" and you let it go.
"How wonderful! And what are the three annoying habits that you allow your husband?"
"Oh you see, that's the never actually decide that. Every time he annoys you, you just tell yourself that it IS one of his three and you let it go."
There is something so wonderful, so liberating in letting it go. All the stewing and festering never does hurt the one you are angry at. They are likely to be having a rare old time not even giving you a second thought whilst you are giving yourself an ulcer fretting over what you can't change.
Let it go. It feels great.
I had some lovely emails, comments, instant messages and phone calls last night after my blog post. I am so lucky to have such lovely friends and they were so concerned, what I want to say is, I learned so well how to let it go. I really have, I needed to write that blog and I needed to say what I felt and I did and then I was better, honestly I am.
No-one needs to choose and nobody needs to worry that I am still sad. I'm not. I made a decision and it was absolutely the right one for me. No-one needs to leave a lovely group to show me solidarity, I know you love me, we have our own places to be and meet, all is very well in my neck of the woods and trust me when I say that I really have let it go.
Probably the best feeling in the world.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post was for you in your mind, but really it was for me. I will try and apply it to my first born and see if it can make a difference for me too.

9:14 pm  
Blogger Jackie said...

I think you wrote this for more than just you. It is a great reminder for the rest of us. You are so amazing and that's just why. You have the ability to touch others without even knowing that you've done it!

9:35 pm  
Blogger Colleen said...

Helen - for another night I sit with tears streaming down my cheeks. Not because I am upset or sad for you but because I realize what an amazing friend you are. What an amazing woman you are. What an amazing mother you are. You make me take a look at things that are going on in my life with a new perspective - even w/out you even knowing what is going on in my life.

I love you, I love your friendship, I love that even though we aren't in close proximity and I may never actually see you in person again (I'm hoping that isn't the case) I can call you a life long friend. I will never give that back - I may not like what you say to me sometime down the road but I will always remember what you have given to me on nights like this when I just needed to hear what you had to say (and have a good cry).

Thank you and love you!

2:55 am  
Blogger LosingSanity said...

Your post is so full of truth and good advice. Empowerment.

3:07 am  
Blogger Banni said...

thank you so much for posting this. and as my husband asked me for the 2nd time in as many minutes where something was (the same thing both times!), i was able to smile & tell him & then remind myself that "that was one of the things". i need to let more go. hopefully your post will be able to remind me. :)

8:53 am  
Blogger sarah said...

thank you for writing this. i will be stealing your bits of advice and placing them in a safe place in my mind... you make me smile with your strength... thank you!

10:04 pm  
Blogger sarah said...

thank you for writing this. i will be stealing your bits of advice and placing them in a safe place in my mind... you make me smile with your strength... thank you!

10:04 pm  

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