Sunday, 14 May 2017
And so it came. After the chaotic preparations and frantic efforts to clear the mounds of washing and tidy the house for the Communion celebrations, the day arrived. While the clean washing found a home, that was relatively temporary granted, although the danger of out of sight, out of mind has been known to linger here, and the house was cleaned from top to bottom – and uncleaned by the trailing three and one and a half year olds, nothing mattered that morning when my shiny eight year old son, bounced out of bed, beamed at me and said “mum it’s today”.
And that smile lasted all through the morning preparations and the hurried dressing of every member of the family. It stayed as he belted out the hymns in church and reached across to hold my hand excitedly. It widened further as he watched the magician with his classmates in the parish centre afterwards, organised by the parents association at our school. And it was still there as he greeted each relative with a little-person-sized bear hug and a thanks for coming to share his special day.
And I realised that all my efforts to make the day perfect, were unnecessary, because it was always destined to be so. It was about him, it couldn’t but be perfect.
Monday, 1 May 2017
It’s finally arrived. A day that the last few months and weeks have all been about reaching. A day that I think my children have been looking forward to even more than me. A day that means I won’t have my head buried in the laptop at every available moment, night and day – to the same degree anyway. A day which means that I can start to join my kids at the park again, rather than over enthusiastically waving them off with their father, to the chimes of “don’t rush back” just so that I can get a chance to work in peace.
It’s book deadline day!
A few months ago, I was given this wonderful opportunity to write a book, all about my favourite topic – parenting. In my delight, I pushed the workload to the back of my mind, and focused on the fact that I had loads of thoughts on all things parenting and plenty of inspiration in the forms of mini and not so mini-mes, who were as varied in their personalities as their views on underwear and its necessity. I just needed to get it down on paper – how hard could it be?
Very - is the answer. Life kept getting in the way and in spite of the important and significant sized project that I had undertaken, the kids insisted that I continue to look after them, feed them, bathe them, help them with their homework, attend one’s confirmation, another’s school musical, and a child had a stint in hospital for good measure.
But now, today, I HAVE FINISHED MY BOOK!!!! I have pushed the send button and the electronic copy is winging its way to my editor. As I typed those immortal words “The End” - I felt like Daddy Pig as he contemplated the muddy puddle before him. I was and am at one with the world again.
So if you’re looking for me, you will find me sitting on the couch with a celebratory glass or several of wine, eating copious amounts of chocolate to compliment it and beaming like that proverbial cat.
And who cares if tomorrow is a school day because I have finished my book – until my editor comes back to me at least.
Saturday, 15 April 2017
The Easter holidays have been a very different affair this year. Normally when the children are off school, we try to go somewhere each day, just to get out the house.These trips can vary dramatically in terms and ranges of excitement, but once they know they’re going somewhere and once cabin fever isn’t allowed to set in, I tend to have more civilised children on my hands.
This Easter things had to be different. With barely any time left, until my book manuscript needs to be submitted, everything is on a very tight schedule. The sort of schedule that hyper children and snot filled babies and threenagers, don’t care much for – and that “wingers of it” , like me, struggle with.
Spotting the rising chaos and recognising the challenges in hand, I managed to convince my mother to take three of the older boys for a few days. Younger children are more content with shorter outings and with a teenage daughter still here, I knew that we could manage the resulting change to dynamics a little more easily. Everyone stood to benefit, except my teenage daughter, according to her. My undying gratitude isn’t sufficient it seems, but we’re finding that feeding her coffee slices at random and frequent intervals over the course of the week is helping to cushion the blow.
With three of the boys missing, the house has seemed so much quieter. As child number five, stepped up to the role of “biggest boy in the house”, we realised that it’s a role that he quite enjoys. It hasn’t made much of a difference to child number 6 though. He knows the power of the dark side. He remains very happy in his own personal role as "destroyer of things" and "family streaker".
This morning as my hubby loaded the car and prepared to take the remaining troops with him, to collect their brothers, a very “peachy” smelling three year old entered the dining room. As I sat at my laptop, typing away furiously, I heard the words that every mother dreads to hear – especially from the mouth of a threenager.
“I have some good news and some bad news, mum”, he said. I looked up in a panic and could see immediately that there had been an incident.
“What’s the good news?” I asked, “Eh, eh, - oh yes, I found a charger” he replied.
“And the bad?” I followed, swallowing in fear.
“This, eh, fell on my head” he said, producing a now completely empty bottle of conditioner from behind his back, and looking at me in staged shock with his green eyes aghast.
“But I smell really, really nice” he added for consolation.
Much later than planned, my husband left to collect my other children.
Week two should be interesting…….
Sunday, 2 April 2017
A rolling stone gathers no moss apparently. Well we’re rolling, rolling, rolling, here and there’s barely time to gather our thoughts, never mind any moss.
After a crazy busy week, we’ve had a Drama Feis, birthday party and chess tournament this weekend and now we’re rolling towards my son’s confirmation midweek and my daughter’s transition year musical every single evening. All the usual mayhem has to be fit in, in between, and it will be, even if it’s accompanied by lots of grumbling about there not being enough hours in the day.
But on top of all that, and in spite of the excitement about the upcoming confirmation celebrations and musical staging (after months of practice), there’s an air of uncertainty that hangs over us. Our ancient, sixteen and a half year old dog, isn’t great.
I’ve written about him before and how he was getting old and slowing down hugely. He even looked as if he needed a touch of “just for dogs” around his greying temples. But now the discomforts and struggles of old age are really setting in.
He’s almost completely blind, he has lost his hearing, and his sense of smell has rapidly diminished. His back legs are weak and stiff and he’s sleeping a lot. It may be from the medication that he hates but that he has to take for his kidneys, which blood tests have revealed are deteriorating also. He has to change diet and drink more water, and the situation will be reviewed.
He’s just a dog, some might think, but we love him so much. As my husband reminisced with our twelve year old son, about the fact that he can’t remember life before Rodney, my twelve year old reminded him that in his case “there was no life before Rodney”.
Rodney arrived six months before my daughter was born and has greeted each child with a sniff and a tail wag once they arrived home from hospital. Each new arrival saw him pushed further and further down the priority pecking order but it also brought him a new fan in due course, and a new heart bursting with love for him.
The older children are in denial. “He’ll be fine” they say, when they catch me watching him struggle, or sleeping yet again. They think this medication is going to solve it all. They don’t want to think of the alternative.
I hope they’re right, but he’s old, very old. We need to do the right thing for him. I just wish I knew what that was.
Thursday, 23 March 2017
It comes around just once a year,
A day of celebration,
And recognition of all that mums do,
Beginning with creation,
Though granted, they didn’t do it alone,
The dads made a contribution,
But it’s not the men who are pregnant 9 months
Coping with added weight distribution,
Till the end of gestation when baby emerges
Through a design, quite flawed by dimension
Think melon and nostril and you’ll get the picture,
And the pain’s probably also worth a mention,
Or out through the tummy, a passage created,
With the flick of the surgeons sharp knife
Means a longer recovery, but baby’s here safely,
And the scar fades a lot through your life,
The sleepless nights follow, the boobs grow impressive,
To proportions never imagined before,
And the nappies keep coming, and the teething and tantrums
Toddler terrors, threenagers and more,
Cut knees to be treated and bumps to be kissed,
The scrapes keep a coming no matter
As the walls they are scaled and the trees, just a challenge,
And your furniture is left all a tatter,
Redesigned kitchen walls, and phones down the toilet,
Surprises, you find every day,
Need to hide all your treats, cos the kids they can sense them,
And eat them all, much to your dismay,
Then there’s homework and projects, all needing attention,
But kids are resisting so much,
And you feel you’ll go crazy, as battles continue,
Over English and Maths and all such,
But on mothering Sunday, all is forgotten,
You’ll think of how lucky you are,
When the cards are presented, and the pictures drawn carefully
Loving messages sent from afar,
Cause no matter our age, or the age of our children,
A mum knows how lucky she is
Though the hours are long and the terms need some tweaking,
We know being a mum is the biz.
Still on mothering Sunday, appreciation is welcomed,
And mums could all do with a rest
It’s just twenty four hours in a very long year,
So enjoy it mums, cos you’re the best!