List on life…

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A couple of recent discussions with friends has lead to a list being made (pause for excitement…) ok…read on!

5 things you can’t or don’t predict when choosing a life partner.

1) How you & you’re partner vote. Politics is kind of boring and kind of important. Voting is a right many fought for & we all have our own opinions. The majority of us however, in a normal week, don’t go round talking about who we vote for. We may discuss how the potholes are becoming a disgrace or how NHS waiting times are just not good enough, but we don’t do so wearing a political sash. When elections come round, all of a sudden people are passionately discussing it. A quick look on my facebook news feed & I can see the political stance of a large portion of my friends and (thanks to online debates) their friends voting plans. I have never started a relationship and asked what party they vote for as a deal breaker. I personally enjoy a good debate over social, political, religious and moral issues but I wouldn’t cut friends out of my life over a difference of opinion (someone who makes it clear they’re voting for the ‘death to all’ party I might give a wide berth to but as a general rule..!).
My husband and I have discussed it and voted the same way. We come from very similar backgrounds and work in similar fields so it’s not a huge surprise but it’s something we hadn’t really spoken about beforehand. Having witnessed a couple have a blazing row about their political stances (one Green Party, one considering UKIP..!) it made me realise that it’s the type of thing you don’t necessarily cover at the audition stages of a relationship. You’d assume some people with really strong views might but in general, I don’t think we really do. And likewise your views can change, mine have, I’m voting differently than I did five years ago, as is my husband. We now live in a different constituency which of course can make a difference but it’s interesting to think whether it would cause friction if we chose different. I’d like to think not, but after sitting behind the unhappy Green/UKIP coalition couple, it certainly makes one wonder!
2) How to bring up children. When entering a relationship, you discuss whether or not you want children. A lot of people do it quite early on as it is make or break situation. It’s not a decision that can easily be compromised on (ok dear we won’t have children but as a compromise I want us to do more paper mâché and watch CBeebies..!). 
What you don’t necessarily go into depth with are the details. What type of school do you want your child at? Do you believe in harsh discipline or a softer approach? Even simple things, what hobbies will you encourage? No first time parent comes equipped with any experience. We’re all learning as we go and it’s a steep old learning curve. Almost every day you have to make choices and if you’re at odds with your parenting comrade, you have to debate it out before making a choice and it won’t always be the choice you would rather. 
My husband and I have avoided any major clashes but we don’t agree on everything. Im a bit more gung ho whereas my husband can sometimes err a bit more on the side of caution! That statement stands for most things in our life really, he’s always happy to get dragged along with me but I think sometimes he probably wishes I’d think about things a bit more before jumping headlong! Anyway, I recently read an article about a couple who paid for a legal go between as they had reached an issue that they simply couldn’t come to an agreement on. The Father wanted their son to attend boarding school (the one he had attended), the Mother, who knew he’d attended boarding school but had no idea he was adamant his children would follow, wanted their son to attend the local comprehensive. In a quote, “I’d homeschool before I sent my child to boarding school.” Before that sticking point, they may well have been the happiest couple on the planet! But on your fifth date when you’re considering this person as a potential long term partner, you’re not likely to discuss the schooling options of your metaphorical children! 
“I’m having a lovely time, this is a great little Italian place. So picture the scene, Sid’s passed the 11+…”
“Sorry whose Sid?”
“Sorry yes, our future son Sid, he must be named after my Grandfather. And I want him to go to boarding school. I also think that I prefer the idea of baby led weaning. Oh and by the way if you vote Lib Dem I’m leaving now.”
3) How you’ll deal with an emergency or crisis. Fingers crossed, when you meet a new partner, you’re not immediately delved into a massive crisis. You’d at least hope they’d wait for the third date to drag you into a big drama anyway! However, at some point in your relationship, one or both of you will go through something really difficult. What you don’t know going in is how one or both of you will deal with it and how (and if) you’ll be able to get through it together. 
When I was pregnant with Scarlett, my epilepsy (a condition I hadn’t really been bothered by for a number of years) reared its head. I was on medication that could potentially affect our precious cargo. My kidneys then started malfunctioning enough to hospitalise me because of the different medication I was on, and I have a bicornuate uterus which brings with it its own exciting complications! It was scary, it was upsetting, it was our first set of emergencys. In a way, it was lucky we were near the beginning of our relationship because we were able to see, yes, good, we’re both level headed, calm and deal with things like this. This will put us in good stead for the future! I know some people who are married twenty years when they suddenly are faced with a trauma that they have to deal with together. And it’s not something you can prepare for. You don’t draw up a list of emergency procedures with a list of ways you should deal with hundreds and thousands of potential situations! You can’t guess what situation you may suddenly be faced with. Life just happens to you and in the same way you can’t know for sure what’s round the corner, until something like that happens, you can’t know for sure how you’re going to deal with it as a couple.
4) Looks. I know that sounds stupid, unless you go on a blind date and then get forced to marry that person without looking at them, the majority of us can absolutely and do consider looks when choosing a partner. My Nan always used to tell me that if a boy was going to sucker me in with looks, to make sure it was the eyes and the smile that really got me as those were the only two things that would look the same at 80! 
People change, they age, they put on weight/lose weight/change their hair/change their style. Their overall look develops and changes. The oldest most tattoo’d Grandmother that has been on TV a few times started getting tattoos quite late on, her secondary school picture shows a totally different person! Health affects us, lifestyle affects us. From a physical and aesthetic point of view, chances are, we’ll look significantly different at 80 than we did at 21 (the exception is of course Jennifer Aniston who has looked that good since her early twenties and shows no signs of looking her actual age anytime soon, down to I can only assume the genes of a magical beauty unicorn!). Since we’ve been together my husband’s look has already quite dramatically changed. And so my Nan is so right, because clean shaven with a Tony Stark haircut or bearded and moustached with the long hair and ruggedness of Aragorn, the way those eyes shine when he smiles at me stays exactly the same!
5) Who we are. When I was 17, I had spent a lot of time in hospitals and really admired the hugely intelligent doctors and nurses who helped me through a difficult time when my epilepsy was in full swing. I decided I wanted to be a surgeon. When I was 6 I told my Mum I wanted to be a bus driver because I liked to travel and meet new people! For a lot of my youth and early twenties I swung between wanting to be an actress and wanting to save the world. In amongst it all I got a criminology degree, and a psychology degree because I wanted to be Poirot! Throughout everything I’ve always written, so without knowing it, I’ve always been a writer, it’s only the last couple of years I’ve actually got paid to do so. And that just covers a small array of career plans. That doesn’t touch the vast journey of my ideals, hopes and dreams. 
In your teens and early twenties, they change almost daily. By thirty you’re supposed to have worked it out but the worst kept secret is that nobody really ever does. As individuals we are constantly changing and developing and growing. We have different friends at different stages of life (as well as some precious lifelong friends who stick with us even for that few months you decided you were only going to eat grass and wanted everyone to call you Sister Nature). And it’s healthy for our goals and ideals to adjust and develop.
There is no guarantee that your partner will grow and develop on the same path as you or in a compatible way. I’ve had some brilliant past relationships where we started as ‘soul mates’ because we were both from the same school, or liked the same band or could down the same number of Jägerbombs on a night out. As they start to end, a lot of the time you realise it’s not necessarily that something’s gone wrong, you’re just not right together anymore, it’s time to disembark from the Jäger train! The chances of this happening decrease as you get older, but we also as people tend to connect with people on a deeper level, for example whether you have the same morals, similar life goals. Taste in music is still important but aged thirty you’re much less likely to decide to marry someone just because you love their Nirvana tattoo..! This of course is a generalisation. There are some teenagers who absolutely have their crap together and know exactly what they want and there are most likely some thirty year olds who decide that it’s enough that their Tamagotchis have the same name to build a life together! The point is, you can’t make a decision on a life partner based on who you will become, only who you are. And if and when that changes, it may change things. 
This may seem like a list to try and make the point that no-one should ever decide to get married because at some point, one of the above points will prove that your relationship is doomed..! NOT SO! If I had to say I was making a point, it would be that you don’t have all the answers, and won’t even necessarily recognise if you’re considering the right questions. And that’s ok. It’s kind of why life is so great. If you’ve just found out that you’re house is about to be repossessed, your husband has dyed his hair green and wants to take the kids to a cult he’s just joined on the way back from voting Tory whilst you decide actually maybe you’re now a vegetarian who wants to train to be a lawyer instead of a midwife, it’s all ok. Give yourself (and your husband) a break. It may seem like a lot, it may seem that everything you felt so sure of on your wedding day is now a sham. Not so. Life is happening to you. Firstly, cults aren’t generally safe do maybe do put your foot down on that one..! He maybe Tory and you Labour but is that important enough to make you forget how much he makes you laugh? His hair may now be a green you don’t like but maybe it brings out the hazel in his eyes? And if you want to be vegetarian and a lawyer then why the hell not! Give it a go, change your mind back and get in a double pack of bacon! 
Obviously I’m not suggesting that dramatic changes every five minutes are a sensible idea but now and then, it’s ok for things to be slightly out of your control and just see where life takes you. You can try and learn every little detail about your chosen life partner but however much you try you’ll every so often be thrown a curveball. And for some people the above causes rifts, or an individual changing is too much for the other and the relationship breaks down. And that’s really sad for all
involved but again, it’s not your fault. 
Luck has a huge role to play (as does fate if you believe in that kind of thing!) I was incredibly lucky to find my husband and I look forward to any and all of life’s curveballs for us to dance around and mould into part of our story. I hope to pass on these thoughts to Scarlett and any other children we may have in the future. 
I guess my point is, above are five things you don’t or can’t consider until they happen in a relationship. And if you can’t plan for those things, why worry about them. After all, you’re left with everything else. Does that person make your heart swell, do they feel like home, do you want to choose them as your family? My sensible advise to my children would always be to choose a life partner based on life morales and outlooks on what you want your future to look like; but just as important is that feeling. The one we can’t explain, the one that makes someone feel like family. 
So comrades, whomever you choose to spend your life with, hold on tight when the rollercoaster give us bumps and drops and let yourself adapt without worry. And wherever your journey in life takes you, hold your head up high, slap on a smile, and enjoy!
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Growing Pains…

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To Scarlett, love mummy xx

“Wheres the pause button to push in life?

To stop everything going so fast.

My baby girls growing up so quick.

And I want all these moments to last.

It won’t be long before I can’t pick her up,

And lift her right over my head.

It won’t be long, a mere blink of an eye,

She’ll be helping me up instead.

It seems only yesterday, she was so small,

And could fit in the crook of my arm,

As she grows and she moves about much more,

I’d give anything to keep her from harm.

So while she is still Mummy’s baby for now,

I’ll make the most of each day,

And lot’s of photos we’ll take of our little girl,

So these memories never quite fade away.”

Mothering Sunday Matters…

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(NB. As the below suggests, I wrote this a couple of days after UK Mother’s Day but must have still been suffering from a bit of sleep deprivation as I’ve only just come across it again to post it!)

My very first Mothers Day! And Scarlett wanted me to earn it! My beautiful baby girl has caught a cold, but it was a stealth cold, it crept up and invaded with no real warning and suddenly my baby girl was in the middle of it. The night before Mother’s Day we had a couple of friends over and our normally very good ‘sleep through the night’ baby woke up a couple of times and joined the party to get a dose of Calpol. We don’t bring her downstairs after she’s gone to bed easily but on this occasion, Scarlett had a blocked nose and wanted her dummy to soothe her painful teething gums but then was unable to breathe through the congestion. This, as you can imagine, for an eight month old who can’t understand why she can’t breathe, was quite frightening and so long after our guests had gone, we realised that it was going to be a long night.

As a team, my husband and I agreed that I would be the overnight shift whatever it would bring as i am already very adept at being a night owl, and at around 6am, he would ‘tag in’ and take over so I could get some sleep. And that worked nicely; Scarlett woke pretty much every half hour and I cuddled her when she was frightened, helped clear her nose and soothe her off to sleep. I soon realised that if she was slightly more upright and against my chest, she slept slightly more comfortably and for a little bit longer so I set myself up on the sofa with a rug and an iPad and watch almost an entire series of Greys Anatomy as Scarlett had a fitful night. 

As a little treat (and because I was planning on sleeping till midday!) I didn’t wake my husband till 6.30 and as I passed my baby girl over, part of me was sad to end the evening where for for those hours, I was the most important person in her life, her little arms had been wrapped round me clinging on all night and although it was a tough night, it was also kind of magical. Even in that moment I realised that in a few years time, she won’t cling to me quite as much, and one day without realising it, it’ll be the last time I pick her up and she clings round me for comfort. One day, in the blink of an eye, if she needs someone, it won’t be her Father and I, and that’s the job of a parent, to hold your children hands a while, their hearts forever and then let go when they choose someone else’s hand to hold. 

When I’m upset, I still talk to my parents but first and foremost I turn to my husband. Quite rightly, I no longer hold my parents hand, I hold my husbands. But that night I had a new appreciation for the moment that as a parent you must hold out your hand ready and see they’re going to somebody else. It must be heartbreaking, but as long as we do our jobs properly, we’ll be happy and feel secure in Scarlett’s choice. I know both my parents are thrilled with mine and I know they worry about me less because they know that my partnership with my husband is a devoted one and I couldn’t be in any better hands and I hope my parents in law feel the same about me and hope they feel secure about my husband being supported by me. 

I had a similar experience with my baby brother who I’ve mentioned a number of times, (and who is probably getting a bit fed up of being referred to as the ‘baby brother’ at the age of 21!) when he was a child, I helped protect him (let’s please not mention the incident where for 15 heartbreaking minutes I thought I’d managed to lose him in the park) and when he needed someone, my hand was one of the first he’d go to. He is now in such a committed relationship, they have added to the family with Geof the rabbit (you know it’s serious when a house rabbit gets purchased..!) and I know that he is well supported and that they are happy and I therefore don’t worry about him not wanting to hold my hand anymore. (It’s clear at this point that the hand holding is a metaphor yes?!)  

Anyway, back to my first Mother’s Day. It’s a special day and I never quite realised how special until I experienced my first. My husband put a beautiful message online about being proud of me and being a great Mum to our baby girl and my Dad also tagged me in a post to wish me Happy Mother’s Day; I even received messages from friends acknowledging my first! I realised that it’s not just a day where your kids hand draw a card (which Scarlett then attempted to eat when I was given it!) and you drink a cup of tea from your brand new ‘Mum’ mug (surely a requirement at some point as a Mother’s Day gift!) but a day when all those little things you do throughout the year can be looked upon with pride. One day, naturally I will not be one of the two most important people in Scarlett’s life but she will forever be one of the most important in mine. I stayed up all night to make sure she was ok and I’d do it again in a heartbeat (luckily after one more night of similar, she seems to be at least better enough to be back to sleeping through now!), I clear her nose when she screams in my face and I will always do what’s best for her regardless of whether or not she hates me for it! It’s all part of the ‘Mum’s song.’

And for one day, it was ok to concentrate on those efforts and self indulge in a bit of parental pride. My Mum joined Scarlett, my brother, his girlfriend, my husband and I at a family favourite restaurant for lunch and as always I took one bunch of Freesia for my Mum and one bunch for my Mums Mum (my Nana, gone but not forgotten). We enjoyed a meal and Christopher and I paid for Mums and Scarlett paid for mine (I’m not sure how and coincidentally the same amount came out of our joint account but i loved the gesture all the same!). I thought of all the Mothers in my life (people who are Mum’s, I’m not saying I have multiple Mothers!) and how they had influenced me and what they had given to me and my messages that day online were in honour and with thanks to them. They say that every Mum is a superhero and that’s certainly true of most of the Mum’s I know, so with that in mind I wore my batgirl outfit to lunch and took a superhero cape and mask for my Mum as a gesture saying that although most of the time people can’t see her cape, I always knew it was there. I know she wasn’t hugely keen on wearing it in public (my Mums a lot more ’normal’ than I am!) but God bless her she put it on and posed for the picture and i think secretly she liked the idea behind it! 

Things like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are always recognised in our house as, although it’d be nice to think that we make the effort to recognise our families every day of the year, the sad reality is that we’re all far too busy and sometimes, time get’s away from it. So once a year each, my husband and I have now graduated to a level where we have one day each year dedicated to being able to thank and appreciate each other. In life, we can only really look forward, which often means that whilst our parents are still worrying and thinking of us, we’re concentrating on worrying and thinking about our child. It’s nice to have a landmark to take a breath and look back, check in with our uplink and say thank you to the people who made the same sacrifices and efforts for us as we are now doing. 

I was exhausted yesterday but as my husband said, I earned my Mother’s Day stripe! After lunch we went for an hour drive to allow a still poorly Scarlett to get some sleep and we enjoyed an afternoon together going round some old places, stopping in at the cemetery to pay respects to family members there, and having a little drive round the places we both grew up. When we got home, I was treated to a lazy evening with dinner made for me, washing up done and the Xbox controller handed over so I could play whilst he put Scarlett to bed! I knew another busy night with a 6am tag in was in store as she was still struggling but those few hours were like gold. Happy doesn’t cover it, I know that sounds really smug but it’s those little moments in life, the moments you look round and realise you’re loved and looked after, the moments you know that even in the toughest days, you’re happy. Moments that I hope every Mother got to have yesterday.

I don’t get to see my Mum every year on Mothering Sunday, and we didn’t get to see my Mother in Law as she was with my brother and sister in law for the weekend. But thanks only really needs to be a quick message, I was well and truly spoilt yesterday and I know that won’t be the case every year but my very first experience of Mother’s Day was a hugely enjoyed one! 

So to all you Mums out there, or to those for whom Mother’s Day are difficult, a huge ‘I love you’ from me, and I hope that whatever you did with your day, you got at least one moment to be appreciated. All Mums are superhero’s, and sometimes people don’t see our capes, but comrades, I see them, and for all that you do, thank you. 

Prosecco Induced Poetry…

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Today is World Poetry Day and so I thought I would share a little Prosecco induced poem I wrote late last night/very early this morning in the middle of a very luxurious and romantic 5 star stay away I had with my husband. A belated wedding anniversary and joint 30th birthday treat! 

My World

“My heart sings out when I hear your name,

Your voice brightens my every day,
My soul lifts up when I hold your hand,
I love you, I couldn’t count the ways.
I’m a short little Ladey, a hobbit you say,
But in your embrace I feel sky high,
An intellectual crush, that developed much more,
That only grows as the years go by.
When I look at you, it’s the future I see,
And that seaside located seat,
To find a best friend, lover, true comrade too,
Is an occasion that’s quite unique.
I’d search for you for a thousand years,
If I had to, to find our start,
No life wouldn’t be ok, or just as complete,
Without my hearts true counterpart.”

Much soppier than it would have been had I written it before the Prosecco but the sentiment remains!

I have a few other blog entries just waiting to be published but we’re on a self imposed mini holiday so no computer access allowed so just a quick entry via cheeky phone access tonight, and in the meantime ‘Happy World Poetry Day comrades’!

  

Midnight fatigued feelings…

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As I type this, it’s 05.21 and I haven’t been to bed yet. Baby Scarlett has a very blocked nose which is making sleeping almost impossible for her and she keeps waking up and crying. My husband has a busy weekend coming up with a lot of driving so I am currently downstairs with the Moses basket down here with me so I can keep the cuddles going for her whilst not disturbing my husband, who has been a pillar of support over the last couple of difficult days and really needs some rest!

It must be very confusing for her not to be able to breathe through her nose and it’s heartbreaking not to be able to do anything for her. I’m no longer bothering to try and go to sleep, it just makes it harder to get up each time! So instead I decided to go back and have a little read of all the messages on Facebook of congratulations and well wishes from when she was born. And, like I did then, several tears came to my eyes as I read through all the heartfelt expressions of love, support and good luck.

Admittedly, I’m VERY tired, and my emotional control isn’t what it used to be before those pesky maternal hormones came into play!

But ask anyone that knows me and they’ll confirm that I’m cranky when I’m tired, I’ve always been bad at sleeping but I’ve always caught up or slept at funny times to ensure I had enough rest time. That’s not quite how it works when you have a baby. Scarlett woke me up at 2am on the 1st July when my waters broke and I haven’t caught up since! There’s no time, like almost every parent, I walk around on fumes most of the time. But you know what, it’s brilliant.

Every day, every single day when I look into that little girls face, with her beautiful blue eyes I feel like I could do anything. Every smile lights up the entire room. Today, despite the fact that she has been feeling poorly, when the two of us were standing together in the lounge with her, my husband chatting to her with her in my arms, she let out her first proper baby giggle, and the emotions took my breath away. In that moment, I swelled with pride and my heart nearly burst with love, not only for her but for my husband as well. We made this tiny little new person and she amazes us every day. It’s hard, it’s really hard, especially when it’s 05.21 and you’re weighing up whether to make Camomile tea or admit defeat and put on a pot of coffee so you can survive the following 24 hours (especially knowing full well my husbands away for the night working!). And I know it’s not a night of missed sleep that I’ll get back, tonight is gone and there’s no retrievals. But I couldn’t be happier.

Years ago, nearly 30 years ago in fact, my Dad wrote a poem. I should tell you, my Father is not known for his theatrical talents, he freely admits never to having read a book (since he had to at school) and although he’s very supportive of me, creative pursuits are not really his bag. However, he once told me that he couldn’t adequately explain how he felt when I was born, and that this once in a lifetime poem, just sort of came to him. And I think his words actually sum up that crazy haze when you realise your life has been taken over by someone else, that moment you realise someone has set up a permanent camp in the largest part of your heart, really quite well. (I should also point out that my Mum is more the creative talent, and used to write a lot of poems, but she didn’t keep them so heartbreakingly I never got to read them)

So in fact that’s enough from me, I’m going to try and get at least a cat nap, and I’ll leave you with my Dad’s words…

“When I looked at my little girl
The feelings I experience put me in a whirl
As she lays there asleep
My thoughts are ones I want to keep

I just stand there by her bed awhile
Whilst I look at that angelic smile
The look on her face is so peaceful
What a shame she has to age and become tall

As each day becomes part of our past
I hope and pray my feelings will last”

Our Next Chapter…

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A much more in depth post to follow but for now just the below.

I’m delighted to announce to you dear friends, that our beautiful baby daughter Scarlett Lois Lade Jordan, was born by emergency C-Section at 5.57am on Tuesday 1st July. And as I lay in hospital gazing at her, the emotions my brain is capable of putting together are below before normal blogging services resume shortly…

We thought we knew the date we’d meet you,
But you had other ideas,
At 2am the waters did break,
Followed by elation mixed with our fears.

Your Daddy and I spoke about menial things,
To keep us both calm in the car,
We knew we were soon to gaze at your face,
Introductions really weren’t all that far.

No time to really fully understand,
It all went by as if in a blur,
We were all of a sudden in hospital gowns,
Scared about how healthy you were.

Daddy held Mummy’s hand, and never let go,
Looking each other right in the eye,
And then all of a sudden, it happened so fast,
Tears flowed as we heard your first cry.

Words can’t express what you mean to us now,
The love that just overflows,
We try to hold on to each moment we have,
We’re so aware of how fast the time goes.

So Scarlett our girl, if you know only one thing,
Make it how much you are loved by us both,
There’s a sparkle in our eyes that’s only for you,
A love stronger than any other oath.

We both fell in love all over again,
When our family grew from two to three,
Scarlett we love you ever so much,
You’re everything to Daddy and me.

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Pops Day Poem…

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There will be quite a few years before our little one actually sorts out her own Fathers Day cards and gifts and we agreed that this year we wouldn’t do anything but I was doing some writing the other day and the below came from it. A very happy Fathers Day to all those out there! Especially to my own and my incredible husband who has proved to be a fantastic Daddy before we have even met our child.

“I know you haven’t met me yet,
But I love you just the same,
It’s not too long for you to wait,
I hope your excitement hasn’t waned.

You’re everything that Mummy dreamed,
You’re already my hero as well,
We have years ahead for adventures and fun,
Creating family stories to tell.

There’s wonder for us both for now,
I can’t wait to meet my Dad,
Whose colour hair will I inherit?
Which traits, whether good or bad?

Do you wonder what colour my eyes will be?
Your deep brown or Mummy’s blue,
One things for sure, they’ll be extra bright,
Everytime I look up at you.

Mummy hopes I’ll have your sense of joy,
And not her co-ordination,
And maybe a real mix of your brains,
A zest for life that could change a nation.

But I just hope to smile and laugh a lot,
Enjoy my days with you and Mum,
Join your co-conspirator team,
For endless years of fun.

It may have been a whirlwind year for sure,
But I for one am really glad,
I couldn’t be luckier for Mum to have picked,
You in the role as my Dad.”