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Location: United Kingdom

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!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In case you were wondering...

Sometimes, it appears as though I am doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. That would be because I'm not. I do this sometimes, because I can.
When Sophie was 10 weeks old, the first one left. I've been pretty clear about how I felt about that and how I feel about now.
What I felt very strongly was, on top of all that sadness and betrayal, all the heart-rending surety that I would never get over such misery, was a real panic about my children. I hated the fact that they would grow up saying " Oh my parents are divorced" they would know about 'my dad's girlfriend' they would know all about broken families and I really, REALLY hated that.
10 years.
I was a single mother for TEN YEARS! In all that time, the first one would have the boys every month for the weekend, wasn't competent enough to have Sophie as a baby, when he decided he was going to leave, quite soon after I conceived her, he distanced himself from everything to do with the pregnancy, he didn't discuss it, wasn't interested in it, she was mine from the very start I think.
He started to take her when she was 2, his girlfriend was very jealous of this blond haired, blue eyed, chunky thigh-ed baby, she did not want her around and when I heard that she had smacked Sophie, across the face, hard....I found her ( she used to wait down the road while the first one would collect the kids) and I shoved my face right in hers and told her that if she EVER raised a hand to my children again, any of them, I would find her again and I would hit her, harder that she has ever been hit and she would never ever want to hit a child again. I then told her that she wasn't about to get the chance to hit Sophie again because she was staying at home, with me. Which is what she did.
So, for 10 years I didn't get out much, I stayed at home and I kept things beautiful, I made sure that no-one could ever tut tut and put it all down to, you know, single parent.
I didn't go out, unless the children came too. I went out with my sister a few times, to a nightclub ( ack) one night, I went to the toilets and as I walked in, out came 2 women in their 50's doing that drunken cackle laugh and leaning all over each other, I looked at them and though to myself
" I am SO glad I don't have a mother who comes to a place like this" followed quickly by " OH MY children DO!" and I never went again.
I lived my life with the assumption that whatever I did, my children might one day hear about it and so, I didn't do anything I would hate for them to know. I so wanted to be a good example, I felt that if I didn't have anything to give them, if there was absolutely nothing in the world but a safe and honest life and a mother who they could be proud of, that's what I would give them. It does strike me as ironic that between them they have pretty much done every single thing I DIDN'T do..but it was a great plan anyway.
I didn't have any 'breaks' I didn't go away, we weren't invited anywhere often because Sophie was a live-wire and as unpredictable as can be,I think for those years I was pretty much switched off from life, all except from what these children needed right then and there. It wasn't terrible, there were terrible things to get over but life, actually was OK. I treasure that time because it was MY world, being a single mother has it's benefits and I loved being able to raise these children exactly the way I chose, without any contradiction. I do thank the first one for that, he always told me I was a good mother and he never spoke poorly about me to the children. He also went with whatever I said was right for the children, he didn't always like it but he did what I decided.
When Sophie was 8 or 9, my sister persuaded me to go with her to Utah....such an out of character thing for me to do and my mum was happy to stay with the children because it was such a novelty. I had a great time, saw America and came home saying " It was great, loved having a holiday there but can't understand why so many people want to live there."
Funny how soon after that I met H online and the only reason I was able to get on a plane and brave the thought of America was because I had been with Jane and seen that it was quite nice. If I hadn't taken that trip with Jane I would never have gone, on my own to meet H in L.A.
When Sophie was 10, I met H online in June, went to meet him September and came home, sold everything I owned and moved lock, stock and barrel to marry him in November.
We were married on November 27th and 2 weeks later I had a positive pregnancy test. When Seth was 10 weeks old, I had another positive pregnancy test and 11 months later along came Isaac. So, new country, new husband, 3 teenagers, one Sophie, 2 babies.
I didn't make friends in America, not until I was about to move back home. Typical.
I did not, ever expect my older children to look after my babies, it was not their job, they did not choose to have these babies, they had a huge adjustment to make as it was.
Howard's first son lived with us and he was SO mad at the world at his dad who had gone from being Mr easy going anything for a quiet life what on earth an I meant to do with this hey! New mom! New siblings! Poor kid. Poor me. Poor everyone.
So, what I am trying to say is, no-one helped, it was us against every kind of horror you can imagine and a few more.
Oh how we laughed at all the people who would exclaim "Hey I guess you have lots of help with those babies, huh?"
NO! We didn't.
Teenagers, on the whole don't take kindly to actual human reminders that their parents are, you know, *doing it*. They will try everything possible to pretend *that* isn't happening.
Teenagers keep you up late at night, they are loud, they are not in the least bit worried about making sure they KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND EWWWWWWWWW! GROSS!
Little babies sleep through the evening ( unless they have colic) and then, just as the big kids fall into a coma, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.
They also wake up ( mine did anyway, every single one of them) around 5am. 6 if you're lucky.
Teenager suck your soul. They have such hormonal angst, they need your attention every bit a much as a baby, but it's your MIND they want, not your opinions or your advice, just your face, sitting near theirs, looking interested but not as if you are going to tell them what to do.
Be seen but not heard.....that's what teenagers want from their parents.
They want to be ferried and taxied and picked up and handed money.
Babies take your physical energy, every ounce of it. Day and night. Such little lumps of heavenly preciousness and they can rule the world.
Put teenagers ( 3 boy ones) preteen ( Sophie, angry and determined to make H leave) and 2 babies....whoops, THREE babies, here comes Eli, precious and so wanted. Put all that into one house.....with 2 parents.
Oh. So. Tired.
We came to England when I was pregnant with Elijah, I was 5 months pregnant when I came back, H arrived the day before I went in to have Elijah.
So, I had 4 months, nearly 5 months of being alone, with Sophie and the 2 little boys. Mum and dad helped me and they drove me here and there, the boys were clingy because this was such a big change for them and they missed H so terribly. So they stayed with me, mum did take them out a couple of times which was such a treat, I was so tired. Oh so tired.
H arrived, Elijah arrived and now we were 6, in a tiny little house.
In 6 years we have had 6 houses, H had a heart attack, I have been a raving lunatic, all is well.
When Elijah started school, after a few weeks a splendid thing began to happen. H and I began to lift up our heads and look around and we liked what we saw.
We started to breathe.....Sophie left and came home and had a nightmarish 16 months in between. Jordan moved in with us and for 2 years we had 7 in our house.
H and I still don't go out in the evenings, we sometime go out together in the day, sometimes we don't.
Very often we don't do anything, or go anywhere and that is just as we like it.
so now I am a grandma and it would seem, even though I was very clear before he was born that I was not going to be a hands on, here he is, give him to me because I haven't had enough of babies grandma, it appears no-one believed me.
I find, more often than I would like, find myself saying "no" "Nope!" "sorry, no"
I explain that look, I have been at home, being a mother for 24 years, I have been there, done that, over and over again . I get phone calls asking me to have Joshua because "oh it is IMPOSSIBLE to get anything done!"
I am asked to pick him up when they want to go somewhere and he isn't happy about it.
I am asked to babysit so they can have a break.
I like that I am able to say no, they never take offense, they don't complain ( to me anyway!) Sophie is often the messenger, because she isn't afraid to say " But you're not DOING anything!"
She's quite right, more often than not, I am NOT doing anything. Because I can.
I am going to continue not doing anything. If that's what I want.
And what's more, I am not going to apologise for it.



Blogger Colleen said...

I always love reading your blog - you give such great insight to a side of things I don't always see (or want to see). love ya! xoxoxoxo

12:39 am  
Blogger Jenn said...

Lovely!! Lovely Lovely.
I so wish I could show your post to a few people I know who are desperately in need of a wake up call when it comes to what the meaning of "Difficult" is.
Helen - You had a difficult time - and you managed to come through it with your sense of humour, and to raise 6 awesome kids in the process. I've had the pleasure of meeting the lovely girl - look forward to meeting the boys (All 5 of them!) and will wait for the day when yours and mine can cause the universe to collide by occupying the same space at the same time!
You deserve to have this time to do nothing - in reality, your younger kids are still being raised - so you aren't doing 'nothing' at all. You are being a mum, and sometimes you just need to enjoy the fact that all is well, and nobody NEEDS you for anything because those moments are few and far between!!

12:41 am  
Blogger Cathy said...

doing nothing? DOING NOTHING? Does Sophie know how hard it is to Yahoo during the day? Does she understand the work that it takes to come up with FB status?
Tsk Tsk Sophie...where did you go wrong ?!!


12:48 am  
Blogger Sara said...

Love you and the story that brought you to where you are... for it makes you YOU. xxx

2:52 am  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Helen, I've said it many times before and I will say it again today. You're an incredible mom. I hope I do as good a job as you have done. I am so glad that now "you can" just be. Love you.

4:03 pm  

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