Friday, 29 July 2016

Tara's 9th birthday

I can see the birthday countdown board on Tara's door. With days to go, she's excited, expectations are high, the pressure is on.

I've been ill for three weeks. Today is the first day I got out of bed without a crunching "face-ache". I feel almost human again. Its not been easy. Tara and I got struck down as we were preparing to go on our summer holiday - all three of us. Cancelling our holiday was an expensive, stressful and difficult decision to make, but it had to be done. Tara started getting better within days of the cancellation, while I went downhill faster than a smooth greased pebble skiing on butter..

I don't recall being so ill in years. There was nothing to do but suffer through it. It didn't help that The Husband was on holiday. I felt guilty as hell for ruining his time off, and he didn't do much in terms of reassuring me. Instead he decided to grow his facial hair and sulk. It also didn't help that it was the school holiday. I had Tara at home along with the Husband. What a nightmare! Far from anyone 'taking care" of me (yeah right!), I felt under constant pressure to get well soon.

Anyway, Im well enough to vent my feelings here, and have to put together a plan for Tara's birthday. The Husband appeared shaved and slightly less grumpy today. Not sure if he was expecting applause and praise for looking civilised again. He knows I have a severe phobia of facial hair on him - not the world in general-just him. He still chose to sport it while I was at my lowest.

Maybe its the after effects of antibiotics, or just a return of some PTSD but I can't seem to face anyone today-least of all him. Tara meanwhile is immensely relieved to "see" her father again. She's been complaining about his unkempt overgrowth for days. Me? Im just happy to feel not terribly unwell again.

Friday, 24 June 2016

How do I feel?

The Great British Referendum is done. How do I feel?


I went to bed last night knowing I wouldn't be celebrating either way when morning came. How do I feel when I know one half of my country wants in, while the other half wants out? Whose joy should I celebrate, whose tears do I wipe? I thought about it and imagined the same question being asked of a child who has to choose between parents who have just announced their divorce. Where is the victory? defeat? elation? disappointment? Anything one side wins, is a loss for the other.

Standing in between two equal sides, desperately clinging to both, which hand do I release when the tugging begins?

How do I feel......

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The lighter side of a bad situation

When grey, heavy clouds of negativity surround us like a 'too-tight' cocoon, it is virtually impossible to see any redeeming features, let alone humour, in a tough situation. Hindsight however is a loyal companion.

Things have been very volatile with Tara and The Husband this year. I have days of introspection, other days of resolutions and decisions; moments of weakness, arguments, regrets and then back to square one to do it all over again. It was a few weeks ago, one Sunday night when things went out of hand with Tara and the unsupportive Husband. I thought my brain would explode. Instead of getting more and more entangled in this suffocating web of fury and chaos, I did something I'd never done before. I grabbed my keys, got in my car and drove away.

The intention was not to create drama. I just needed to get away from our house, which didn't feel like home at the moment, sit somewhere, collect myself and come back to sleep. The only problem was it was Sunday, when everything shuts at 4:00 pm. Even my trusted gym/club which is usually open till 11 pm, shut at 9:30 pm-the precise moment I had pulled out of my drive. As I reached the gym/club, they were locking up. I reversed out and drove around for a while. It didn't help that I had no satnav or any knowledge of how to use it anyway. I am also a very limited driver, carefully going to only a few destinations I am comfortable with. My brain however was a volcano of emotions and I had to be doing anything but driving-I knew that. Going back home was not an option.

I went through the list of my options:

Gym/Club - Shut

The only other option was the local hospital or the local KFC . I chose the latter as it didn't feel morally correct to inflict my morose self at the hospital where people had suffering of their own. So I pulled into the car park of the large business park, where everything was closed, except for the KFC whose lights shone at a distance. Not many people were around. I was tearful so didn't go into KFC, choosing instead to leave the radio on and sit in the car park to clear my head.

Five minutes passed. A car pulled in and parked opposite me-its headlights on. I felt this prickle in my spine as if something was not right. I was annoyed because I didn't feel safe and I really needed to unwind. Nobody got off from that car, and nobody went to KFC. I shifted uneasily checking my car locks were on. Two minutes later another car parked a few spaces away from me, headlights on. Again, nobody got off. Now warning bells were clanging in my head. A minute later another car cruised past me. I wasn't waiting to see what was going to happen. I started the car and bolted out of there as fast as it's tyres could carry me. Not only was I still stressed, now I was scared. I looked at the time, and it was barely 45 minutes since I had left home. To top it all I was low on fuel as well. Great...simply great..

Defeated, scared and upset, I drove back home and pulled into the drive. I sat there for another few minutes before going inside. The Husband was sitting on the stairs, and went into the bedroom quietly when I came in. At least he did something right. Tara was asleep.

I went into the spare room, shut the door and reflected on the epic fail of my first storming walk-out from home. If only those other cars hadn't crept up around me. What was going on there? The next morning, Tara packed off to school, The Husband gone to work I began watching the local morning news as I had my tea.

"Last night the local police was called to a car park to disperse a group of "doggers" as they were causing disturbance in the vicinity of the local KFC. A few arrests were made, while others were let off with a caution."

I shifted uneasily as I looked up what exactly "dogging" was and presently dropped my tea in shock. (At this time I would like to direct any reader to Wikipedia which eloquently describes the common practice of "dogging"- should you be unaware of I was.) I gathered myself, my thoughts and mopped up the tea from my dining table. The brief flicker of what would have happened had I sat stubbornly in my car last night, drove away any remaining raging volcanoes from my head. I was mortified for something I had not even done!

Today the memory of that day came back, and I managed a nervous smile. Its my unintentional, dirty little secret. My next storming walk-out, if it ever happens again, shall be mid week, in the afternoon, at the local library with Mabel and Eunice for company.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

May 2016

I come back here, my space, when I feel every avenue is shut. Im drifting through good days.. and bad. Unable to answer the simple question-what is my purpose in life?

Things with Tara improved significantly. Whatever it was that happened to her straightened itself out, and she resumed being her loving, kind self. There is a guarded response from me, for a while. Until I surrender and decide to go with the flow. If this is what love is, I'll take it.

I had started the year on a good note. I actually went to the gym three times a week for 2 months. I fell off the wagon mid April, and am struggling to get back in there. Since then I have also fallen into into my sugar trap. Hitting rough waters emotionally I reach for my sugar fix. Having indulged to the hilt, I reached rock bottom yesterday, thank goodness. This morning Im off sugar completely. I woke up not craving it, and have sailed through today without a problem.

I had another falling out with Tara and The Husband again, and frankly I am sick of it. I have to hit rock bottom with that too, so I can push back up and breathe again. I think Im almost there. I thought about it all day and figured that it's not what I do for them that makes things hard, its the expectations attached to these actions that cause the problems. I have read about this in innumerable philosophical texts, but the penny dropped today. I may not be able to act on it right now, but I do get it. Hopefully that is the first step.

If I work hard on school work with Tara and teach her with total involvement and commitment, I must then not have expectations about her performance or future career options. I must do all I can to equip her, then take the heat off myself.

If I cook healthy food for my family, I must not expect them to wipe the plate clean and be grateful for it.

I must teach Tara the difference between right and wrong, and consequences of her actions, but must not lose my rag if she still chooses to do the wrong thing. I must not worry about Tara's choices and actions, but must be there when the pieces scatter and offer sanctuary and unconditional love.

Sounds impossible. It is hard being Mum, and it has nothing to do with endless laundry and cooking.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

How does it feel?

Ive been left to my own devices, simmering silently as The Husband and Tara get on with life without me. I was under the impression that parents work as a team. If one is being disrespected by the child, the other joins ranks and restores order. ..or at least keeps trying to do so.

A few days ago I stopped simmering. I did my duties, and rationalised that if a life without love was meant to be, so be it. I had to do anything to get out of this spiral of confusion and heartache...almost like a survival instinct. I have been under so much of emotional pressure that I felt a heart attack was imminent.

The Husband and Tara trotted off to their tennis lesson. I got busy around the house. When they came back, there was silence. The Husband flung the gym bag noisily, banged the fridge door, and slammed the door shut behind him as he went for a shower. The usual Saturday routine was that he and Tara had lunch together, chatting and talking. Silence from Tara, but she flitted about as usual. I sensed something was not right so asked Tara if she was going up for a shower or was having lunch. "Lunch please! " she trilled.

I called her aside and asked if something happened with her father. She said sh'd rather not say and wandered off. I called her back and said it wasn't an option, and she had to tell me what happened. Her face contorted and she burst into tears. It always frightens me when  Tara cries..because she never does. She mumbled on about some conversation she had with her father, after which he laughed aloud and wouldn't let her in on the joke. In response she turned around and called him "Stupid". That was it, he was furious and hasn't spoken to her since.

This is my lot. I had to reluctantly step in, serve Tara her lunch and suddenly get back to doing all her tasks that were being done by The Husband after sidelining me. Now he wouldn't emerge from his room.

A part of me wanted to laugh..another part of me sniggered inwardly. I was ashamed at my feelings and how I enjoyed feeling them! Maybe I should go up to him and repeat his sage advice, "She's only eight years old...she doesn't realize what she says...she's just a child....give her a break" and so on...Instead I went about my daily work, and Tara hers.

I should have followed my own advice and taken Tara aside, explained how disrespectful she had been, sent her to her father to apologise and restore order. But to my own horror..I did none of that today. I did what The Husband had done. I served her lunch...with extra crisps...and put on a movie for her.

Dinner time was frosty, as the hungry man emerged for his meal. Tara seemed unconcerned. She tends to launch into conversation as if nothing has happened or been happening for the last few weeks. After The Husband retreated to his room, I asked Tara if she knew what remorse was. She actually rolled her eyes and said that it meant one had to be upset and think about what they did. I told her that if one had apologised, and meant it from the heart, then one must quietly think about their actions and resolve not to repeat it. Chatting as if nothing had happened would further annoy the person who had just forgiven you.

I gathered every ounce of strength and gave Tara a hug. I asked her to think about her recent behaviour and sort herself out. She looked at me briefly and said she will try...and sauntered off to read, while she waited for her tv programme to begin.

Gobsmacked. I think I finally understand what that word really means.

Monday, 1 February 2016

February already..

I've heard that time flies when you're having fun. January has flown by, but if there's one thing its not been..its fun.

On the contrary, its been agonising emotional pain, abandonment and confusing circumstances that still have me wondering : what happened?

I flit between crying in my bed,  trying to think about what happened and why? No success. The one catalyst to all of this is The Husband. He is a spectator/beneficiary to Tara and my breakdown. His defence is that I must tell him what to do..and he will do it. 16 years Ive been asking/telling/begging him to do things which he doesn't...and in this instance, where my only reason for asking for his co-operation is Tara, he shrinks back.

"When Im with you..Im standing with an army." I love these lyrics from a new song..and I often wonder what it feels like to have someone support you in that way.

Ive always been a ponderer, since I was a little girl. I would sit under large bushes in warm afternoons and ponder. I don't remember what I was thinking of, but do remember being one with the soil, the insects and the leafy cover overhead. I have never played the victim, choosing instead to be the warrior, and showing (myself mostly) how to rise above circumstances and move on. In all those years I never blamed myself. The circumstance with Tara, and where I stand today-isolated and alone,  has for the first time made me question if I am singularly responsible for my lot.

Over the years I have drifted away from my friends, my parents, my siblings, The Husband and finally the centre of my being-Tara. I can give reasons for each dead or dying relationship-valid in my opinion, but if the net result is me being alone, they can't all be wrong. It must be me...

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

All gone wrong

If I look back at everything Ive written, the one common thread is my pure, undiluted and total love for Tara.

As of today, it all seems to have gone wrong. It may be down to post festive gloom, or the complete taking for granted and disregard that finally snapped the fragile thread holding me together. Taking for granted works as long as there is dizzy, fuzzy love being shown alongside.

Tara and I are so very disconnected these days. Its been a series of small changes. Her growing up and needing to be independent vs my letting go but welling up with feelings of abandonment and loneliness. Tara's small gestures, (sometimes lack of any gestures), digging her heels in and not telling me things and the bane of my life..the words, "nothing"..."forget it"..."never mind".

All this is what I perceive at my end. The issue is clearly with me. She is still a lovely girl, full of life, enthusiastic and only eight years old.

The trigger to all our (my) meltdowns is when we sit down to do her school work. I talk, she rolls her eyes. I try to teach a topic, and if she doesn't understand, will not admit it. I then perceive it as bad attitude and its all tears and downhill from there.This spills over to after school work and pollutes the entire home environment. I go silent.... now, so does she. I simmer...she gets confused whether to approach me or not...Its a downward spiral not helped at all by The Husband, who is the beneficiary of our fall out. He takes her under his wing and does everything with/for her, cutting me out of the picture completely. He has no clue how to, or no interest whatsoever in attempting to break the ice between Tara and I.

Now I get furious at being cut out, and that leads to an even worse situation, with The Husband and Tara now a team and looking at me like I am the crazy one.

Maybe I am....but I have no clue what to do about it :-(