The last week or two have stretched liked a desert of glum, uninspiring defeatism . I’ve felt very annoyed at my return to a less than upwardly positive state but then all things considered it’s not really a surprise.
First ,a less than good week for Tink at school, he struggled to settle after the internal exclusion and my worries for his future years in education have been plaguing my thoughts, again.
Then there was the late night, no scrap that, all night Kindle playing from Stig, made all more catastrophic with a quick history check. Porn, yes porn, it nearly had my eyes out ,but realistically I was left feeling bereft for my sons innocence and racked with guilt that I had not protected him from these images. For about 24 hours I truly felt heart broken.
And then Mr H, struggling through work and home life with the weight of a dark, conspiring, unkind world on his shoulders. The depth of his despair has also been heart breaking and we’ve (family) had to take action. Hopefully we are about to start making things better for him, he so deserves a happier heart.
So really it’s not a surprise my head has been finding it hard to hold on to the optimism which had blossomed. However in this relentless desert I found an oasis, a little corner of creativity that reminded me of me. It was the wonder which is Well Dressing. I wont tell you lots about it, I’ve done that before, however, I will say that it saved me last week. Amongst friends, creating beautiful designs depicting the life and works of Shakespeare (this years theme) from petals, leaves and all sorts of natural paraphernalia. I loved every moment it, and this year I brought along my mum, and she loved it too. So enjoy the finished works of our great community.
I’ve hinted about it a bit, talked a little about it at times, I Instagramed a picture from our first trustee meeting but I’ve not formally said it. So here is the announcement, I am very proud to be a Trustee for The Open Nest Charity.
This charity aims to provide post adoption support for families in crisis, through a number of different channels, which are currently under development. At the core of what the charity aims to do is provide respite care for families.This will take place in a beautiful rural setting with lots of activities and support provided by specialist, trained staff.
Whilst the Charity is awaiting Ofsted approval ,Amanda Booreman, the founder, is in discussion with a LA to devise a feasible and workable plan of action that will enable those families that really need access to their facilities to be identified and provided for.
The Open Nest is very supportive of the work Vicki from The Boys Behaviour and myself do on The Adoption Social. They understand that a community that “gets it” is the foundations of a good support network.
So together with The Open Nest we are delivering our first conference on Saturday the 18th of October, in York. A user led conference with inspirational speakers and opportunity for discussion , oh and a social event organised by The Adoption Social, it’s all in the name. The tickets are at a subsidised cost at £25, making it accessible to more people. I will let you know when there are more details. If you are interested in attending then contact me and I’ll ensure you get the information.
The Open Nest has also commissioned this short but powerful film to help others understand how a lack of support can feel. The content of the film was collated from the twitter community and other adopters and adoptees. Please take a short moment to watch it.
We’re having a down day, a day at home for Tink. No tuting at the back please about me sat behind my laptop when I’m supposed to be with my son, I’m allowed to write this short post because after watching Frozen together under a duvet on the sofa, my son is now getting over excited about buying a portal box on Club Penguin. Bit of screen time together, we are sat side by side as I tap and I’m also getting a running commentary on everything he’s doing.
Tink, has on the whole, been doing much better in school. He’s being supported on a one to one base by a lovely lady who seems to value his emotional well being as the most important part of his school day and is also not fazed by the rude tone and words he sometimes uses. Due to this he has been achieving more work and doing well most days.
This week however it has not been the case, Monday was a downward spiral from the off, something, who knows what, triggered a catalogue of non conforming, rudeness and lashing out. For the first time school decided that a severe consequence was needed and an internal exclusion (day in isolation within school) was dealt for the following day. It’s hard to explain how you can see their perspective but, the truth is the boy is hurting, hating and punishing himself enough without having a full day reminder.
Getting him into school the next day was not easy and as I left him in reception with the Head and his TA my heart was as heavy as lead. His arms folded solid around him, building the wall of protection and his eyes glistened with held in tears, as he peaked at me from behind his fringe.
“I’m not doing it” he repeated. “I’m just NOT”.
To all others in that room I’m sure they saw defiance, me, I could feel my heart breaking as the fragility and vulnerability of my little boy stared me square in the eye.
I left sobbing and a familiar feeling swam over me. I again felt like the only one in his corner. My complex little boy who everyone else doesn’t quite get.
He did well that day and through the caring support oh his TA, he managed it. He was exhausted though, for the first time in a while he was asleep shortly after eight having not quite made it beneath his duvet. I tucked him in later, kissed him and whispered my nightly sweet nothings into his ear.
“Mummy loves you and thinks you are very special”
The next morning he stopped at the gate.
“I’m not going in”
I could see in that moment all the trust earned draining away, school was no longer considered a safe place, again. Back to square one.
Twenty minutes later myself and his TA were in the same spot trying every known trick in the book to cajole, entice, bribe, encourage, strike some kind of, any kind of deal that would get him through the door.
We managed it but another twenty minutes later I left school again in tears, with the sound of his little voice behind me screaming “let me out” as he kicked at the door.
I tweeted for support and got lots, thank you, and even had a kind phone call from a close twitter friend. She too has had school problems (haven’t we all) and she helped very much to reassure me and support me.
I could see now what was needed and I would be telling, ok asking but being quite firm in what I wanted. A down day for my son. A day that says “I hear you”. “ I get it”
So here we are tapping away together, he’s now stuffing Tomato ketchup flavoured crisps into his mouth and making his Puffle do tricks. I’m happy.
I’m reminded constantly at the moment of my boy by a song that’s on the radio a lot. I love it and will dance around the kitchen excitedly to it. But the words hit home for me, they say it all, especially the line,
“And when you feel like nobody’s on your side
Please believe I’m never too far”
Here it is…..
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to Britmums for the amazing couple of days I had at Britmums Live. It was a truly, all round, wonderful experience this year, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were so many great parts but I’ve tried to identify those that I really appreciated the most.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet up with other bloggers , people that normally I connect with through a screen, it really was so wonderful to see these people in the flesh.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend two days with my blogging and adoption BFF @boysbehaviour. We did lots of planning and networking on behalf of The Adoption Social and it was great to be enthused together. Also those real life hugs are the best.
Thank you for creating a space for me to connect with new people and forge new friendships. I particularly loved meeting Earthmother who patiently listened as I talked too much about being an adoptive parent (might have had a couple of reds by this point). Then there was the lovely Caroline Fosbury who’s warmth captivated me and I felt compelled to hug her even though we’d just met. Sorry Caroline if that was a little awkward and good luck with your LIVE LAUGH LOVE FOR ELLA Campaign, if I can help please shout.
Thank you for providing the opportunity to meet a truly remarkable woman Camilla Batmanghelidjh from Kids Company. The fact that I got to speak to her and she gave me a hug completely overwhelmed me. Look out for lots of stuff to do with here amazing Kids Company Charity coming from here and The Adoption Social soon.
Thank you for creating a space for me to learn, learn and learn more about the remarkable world of blogging and social media. I particularly liked the sessions from Captured by Lucy on blog design and the Instagram session with Marte Marie Forsberg was so inspirational. I felt like a massive sponge soaking it all in and I now feel fit to burst with motivation.
Thank you for inviting the marvelous and funny Katie Hill to host the awards ceremony, which even though we didn’t win was a fun and emotional event.
On that note I’d best thank you also for all the free wine I drank, great sponsors Lindeman’s and Laithwaite’s , you did us proud there.
Oh and finally thanks for the tiara my oldest son looks very fetching in it.
I’m sure there is plenty more but I’ve got so many things I want to blog, Instagram, pin, Facebook and create so that’s your lot.
So I’ve not been over here in Puffin land for a while, if you’ve missed me I’m sorry. There is always the small matter of The Adoption Social (BiB2014 Finalist I’ll have you know) which keeps me very busy, as do my family and of course my fight against the evil war lord, depression. Briefly, on this subject, I feel great; I’ve been feeling, on the most, so much better than I have in a long time. I won’t say too much, because I will spoil a future blog post, but things for me are on the up and up.
The other thing that I have been very preoccupied with, in a nice way, a happy distraction you might call it, is producing a youth play. This is my second year producing a play with the young members (high school age) of our local amateur dramatics group and it is an enormous amount of fun. Lots of hard work but, enormous fun.
This year we did a who dunit murder, mystery with plenty of suspense, drama and some dodgy deaths. The kids were amazing and although they gave me huge heart palpitations about learning their lines, the prompt did a lot of talking in our final rehearsals; they were all stars to me.
Now I’m feeling a little low at the thought of not seeing them all again soon……..Onwards and upwards.
This is a happy post; it’s a #memorybox post and here is the reason why.
Unfortunately a member of the cast dropped out five days before our first performance. He had a small part with not many lines but all the same it was a little bit of a worry as to how we were going to solve the one man down issue. I hatched a plan in my head, tried very hard to think it through before I spoke it out loud, not always my strongest quality. The excitement of the idea bubbled inside of me and so I just went ahead and asked,
“Stig do you think you could do this part for me?”
At first the eyes said confused, unsure, a little bewildered, so I explained fully what I meant. The eyes soon smiled and danced with delight at the opportunity he was being given. He immediately took the script and went off to learn his lines.
He came to one full rehearsal, struggled a little and became a bit concerned. He wobbled a bit over those five days but he learnt his lines and stayed committed.
So Friday night arrives and the lights go down and then up again. The very first character to appear in the play is Stig. Deep breath and away he goes, loud clear and word perfect. I was so proud.
He managed two performances brilliantly, you could see his confidence grow and transform his frail stature into that of a mighty giant. I was so glad he had this opportunity to shine with all the other cast members, I know it’s done him no end of good and my admiration for his tenacity and incredible ability to constantly overcome things and grow makes my heart burst with pride.
Things are starting to blossom in our garden. Small shoots are transforming into pursed pods and then bursting into an array of soft pinks, luscious lilac and not to be forgotten blue. It is a very favourite time of the year when the garden offers much promise of the future months ahead. There is hope all around.
Hope is something I increasingly hold in my heart today. The family seems to be moving in an increasingly positive direction and although it will in no way be plain sailing, I have hope.
When I surreptitiously watch my oldest boy Stig, I beam with pride at how he is blossoming into a fine young man. Like those garden buds, he’s found his moment and is making the most of a new found energy. He is taking school and home life very much in his stride; very few days bring a display of unregulated anger .
Like a watered shoot pushing through warm soil, little Tink forges forward with his opinions and thoughts. Yes he now, sometimes, has far too much to say on his preferences, but it is wonderful to see him exploring the ability to let us know how he feels.
For me a new horizon has appeared in my battle with depression. A specialist referral has brought a greater understanding of the illness I live with and improved care in how to deal with it. I am starting to have desires for life that have long been alien to me and like an opening flower; I strain my face towards the sun to increase my new lust for life.
For Mr H everyone’s improving wellbeing brings the same relief that warmer weather brings after a long cold winter. He can return more to his own thoughts and needs, and look forward to even brighter days ahead.
So not unlike our garden we are all doing blooming lovely today.
And as with many gardens and families, there are always areas which require some work. This once thriving vegetable patch will be my project in the garden when the time comes, and with my family ,well let’s wait and see what projects present themselves, there is always something around the corner.
I’ve linked this post to How Does Your Garden Grow. Click on the badge below to find out more…
Sometimes I like to mix it up a bit. The monotony of replying to that statement can get to you slightly, ok a lot. Actually it’s not a statement, it’s a question. It says,
“Hi I’m here, can you see me?”
Or it’s a need, a requirement,
“Please fill me up with assurance because all my positive self belief keeps draining away”
Sometimes I have to change the reply because I wouldn’t believe my own voice, dripping with tedium and through clenched teeth,
“YEEEESSSSS FOR THE HUNDRETH TIME TODAY, I LOVE YOU TOO”
Sometimes I think,
“You know what? Right now I’m not sure how I feel, if I try and fake it, will you be able to tell? Will you notice that at this very moment I don’t actually want to answer? Will that then make you feel even worse about yourself? Will a smile and a hair ruffle suffice?
When he first said it, and the thousand times afterwards, I was really touched. Then it dawned on me, it wasn’t what he was saying to me, it was what he expected in reply that was important. Giving to receive, is all part of his survival strategies.
It’s like that ever so considerate question I get EVERY morning,
“Did you sleep well mum?”
How sweet I thought at first. Then, how clever, he’s worked out that when I’m tired I’m not so lovely therapeutic mummy. Survival first.
Or the giant hug I receive on pick up from Cubs, school or sports club. I know what follows, a responsible adult tentatively asking “I’m so sorry but, can I have a word?” Soften her up before the deadly blow is delivered. Survival is always on his mind.
Some Saturdays ago, after a really successful family day, Stig and I lay chatting on his bottom bunk. He loves this, sharing and snuggling at bedtime. We talked this, that and something else, to be honest I really don’t remember. I was feeling contented, he could have been talking me through the building of some major creation in Minecraft and I would have agreed in an accommodating manner and ooohhed and arrgghhed with delight, in all the right places. I’m good like that sometimes.
As we lay there he stopped talking, I noticed that, and then sighed deeply. The type of exhalation of air, deep from the belly, that indicates the height of relaxation. As he cosied his lithe body up against mine, he said without thinking.
“I rrrreeeaaalllyyy like you mummy”
I could feel the smile across his face in the words he spoke. He had delivered the words from his heart.
We hugged, long and hard and then said our goodnights.
Downstairs I sat on the sofa and cried.
“What’s wrong Mr H asked?”
“Stig has just said the nicest thing he’s ever said to me” I replied.
Freedom is something I dream of, something that seems beyond attainment at the moment, just out of reach. Freedom looks like a beautiful oil slicked bubble, sun kissed and floating wistfully on the breeze. Bejewelled in the glint of the summer sun, I wish to be that beautiful and care free bubble.
I struggle with the freedom thing, there is a clue within the word FREE… dom. I think I’ve always been one that likes things a little their own way, from youthful years. I didn’t always conform in opinions and appearance as a teenager, I didn’t mind being different. Being an individual releases you from the shackles of peer pressure, you are free.
In my twenties, house music and Manchester club land was my freedom. Part of something new and exciting I relished the hedonistic lifestyle that came with this musical revolution. Dancing the night away would still seem like the ultimate expression of freedom for me.
Later our relationship had freedom, Mr H and I enjoyed drunken nights and lazy Sundays, joys that encompass a child free lifestyle.
Work, a job brings a responsibility but beyond the structure of your vocation time is yours, there is still freedom.
Being a parent offers little freedom. Being the parent of children living with early life trauma offers me no freedom. I’m faced daily, hourly with the responsibility of my children. All waking hours I feel the responsibility of my children and it anchors me to this spot. There is no drifting in abandonment, no blissful carefree moments. Not at the moment.
I know it’s a problem. I can’t let go.
I can’t forget.
They do not have to be with me, they can be absent for 24 hours or more but I can’t forget. I am tethered securely to each off them. I want to be tethered to them. I don’t trust anyone else with them.
They don’t keep me here, I could have opportunities to be free, but right now I’m too afraid.
The free spirit within feels stifled and unable to breath but I’m too afraid to allow myself to be free.