Kindred spirit…

My wee Scottish pal is here.

Thursday morning I picked her up from the airport after what was quite an uneventful journey actually. Surprising, as there are road works everywhere at the moment. The journey to the airport is not the easiest and I am not the most patient driver in the world either. I have discovered though that my driving much reflects the music that I am listening to. Therefore, I found something mellow to tune into for the journey.

The weather has turned. It was raining intermittently for most of the journey and while that is not ideal for motorway driving I quite enjoyed just moseying along, listening to music and having some head space.

I pulled up at arrivals at exactly the same time she did, her flight having been slightly delayed while the pilots get used to flying in shit loads of cloud again. I spotted her immediately and pulled in at the side of the road. She does not change and I suppose neither do I, we still look remarkably like we did all those years ago, with the exception of a few extra pounds and our older but wiser *cough, wrinkles.

They charge £400 per minute to use the road that runs parallel to the airport so after an excited hug we threw her tiny hold all in the boot and headed off, still a few quid lighter for the 30 second journey from one end of the road to the other. Capitalism at its shiny best.

The two of us talked non-stop all the way home. It’s a miracle we made it home and we are not still driving around the M25, as I do not concentrate well when chattering incessantly. I had to check several times that we were actually heading in the right direction and not on our way to Bristol.

Since Thursday it has been all go. I am knackered and that is putting it politely. I am sleeping with Tom, which is not ideal but our Sofa’s are not built for comfort and in order for Ruth to have some space of her own (and the fact that she snores like an old man), it was that or sleep in the shed, neither held much appeal to be fair but I think I prefer Tom to a shed full of logs and Spiders. Although Tom’s legs are just as spindly. If he kicks me once, he kicks me a half a dozen times a night. Only a Mother could love him sometimes but waking up to his beautiful, peaceful expression as he sleeps is just about worth every moment of his tossing and bloody turning.

This morning I had to drag myself out of bed, conscious of it being a blog day and needing some peace and quiet I thought now would be the ideal time to start it at least but I can barely keep my eyes open, even my cup of tar like coffee is not shaking the sleepiness off. The rest of the house is still sleeping and it is nearly time for lunch. It has been a full on couple of days.

Lazy mornings, jam-packed afternoons and late nights spent up till all hours playing boards games, talking, laughing and stuffing our faces with snacks and ice cream. Ruth who has apparently never played Cluedo in her life, has suddenly turned in to Miss Marple. We are a competitive lot when it comes to board games, Elsie is pretty certain that she is cheating and is watching her like a hawk, either that or she missed her vocation in life and really should have been a detective.

Tom spends most of the game Clue-less not quite working out that it is supposed to be a process of elimination and wondering why he keeps being shown the same card every time. If you can’t shoot it or drive it through a building he simply doesn’t get it.

It’s been really lovely having some company for a few days, it’s been great for Tom and Elsie as Ruth spoils them rotten but it’s been even nicer for me to have my old pal around. It’s just nice to have someone to chew the fat with, someone who you have common ground with, we are very similar, some would say too similar but we have always been friends right from the first moment we met, all those years ago in L’Estartit. We do not always keep in touch, it is sporadic and it has been only more recently that we have both made more of an effort to see each other but not for one minute have I never considered her to be one of my closest friends.

There are just some people with who you have a connection. I get on with most people and do not find making friends a chore. Friends come and go through life but they are always still friends, most of the people I consider to be friends have been invaluable at various stages in my life and just because we are maybe not as close now as we once were, or we may not see each other as often as we once did, it makes them no less important. The impact that they had on my life at the time or still have now holds the same relevance today as it did then.

The memories that you make with friends old and new are some of the best memories you will ever have. We should never underestimate the value of friendship and the joy it can bring.

Ruth will be gone again soon and I will miss her the minute she goes, it is not always easy sharing your home and long term we would pretty quickly get on each other nerves I expect but for the short term it has been lovely and much as I am looking forward to having my bed all to myself again, we will be sad to see her go.

However, we have two more days yet… let the good times roll! 🙂

Forty something…

Whoever said life begins at forty should be run over, preferably by a tank.

The notion itself is ridiculous. What have the first forty years all been for then?  Learning to walk, talk and be polite to people I don’t actually like didn’t take all that long.  Did I miss some other part of the big plan?  I hate the idea that I should be more together, more, I don’t know just more.  Everyone around me seems to have worked out what they are here for whereas I… just haven’t.

At forty-six I am done pretending I have a clue.

I do not have a clue.

I keep expecting things to go one way and they go another, this still surprises me, it really shouldn’t, not after all this time. For all my forty-six years I have realised that there is a small child parading around inside of me, pretending she is a grown up.

I can not deal with emotional issues, that part of my brain, the bit that does ‘all that stuff’ just doesn’t bloody work, almost to the point where sometimes even I ask myself if there has been some kind of significant event in the past which has led me here, to this blank space.  There hasn’t, at least none that I can recall.

I have never been in love.  It’s true.  I have tried to be in love, several times in fact, I have just chosen people it has been very hard to fall in love with.  Or is that I am very hard to fall in love with?  Either way it has just never happened for me.

This is not something that I am overly horrified about, although I must admit I am starting to question the reality of “love”.  What is love?  How many kinds of love are there?  Is love just an understanding between two people?  If it is so hard to fall in love, how is it so easy to fall out of it again?  I may get to the end of my days having never truly been in love and as the days go flying by I am actually OK with that.  I think.

Life passes in a flash, it is delicate and can be gone in an instant, just like that and there will be no second chance.  Any fairy tale or fantasy would have you believe that you can do it all over again but it is simply not true, I know that and I love a good fairy tale.

Nowhere in any fairy tale though does it say…

Mary was having a mare of a morning.  Already late for work she caught her heel in the wonky bit of paving outside the office, snagging her lovely new blouse on the Hawthorne bush under the window.  Still flailing slightly and with her heel firmly ensconced in between two slabs of concrete she fell, unceremoniously on to her knees, losing the contents of her stupidly large bag, which never closes properly and grazing both her hands and her knees.  Landing with a large “Fuck it!” she wallowed for a moment, head down, staring at the rolling tampons and errant lipsticks.  Now with only one shoe on and a good inch gash in her lovely blue silk Zara blouse, she contemplated crying or screaming or both, very loudly.  Then she saw two feet appear in front of her and a voice full of humour said, “Are you alright?”  Not sure if she could look up for fear of displaying just how mortified she was and even more unsure that her carefully applied mascara wouldn’t by now be just a tiny bit smudged, she offered a mumbled, “Yes, thank you.”  “Here let me help you,” said the voice, still clearly very much amused by the situation.  A hand grabbed hold of her arm and hoisted her to her feet, where she met the gaze of her Knight in shining armour.  Getting herself together she fussed about collecting her things from the floor and stuffing them back in her oversized bag before turning to look for her missing shoe.  “Here” said Mr Amused  “that is going to need a cobbler,”  he laughed as he handed her the shoe, turned and walked off towards the car park, still chuckling.  Mary thought about shouting after him,  Oi aren’t you supposed to see if it bloody fits… but decided to cut her losses and find some ointment for her grazes instead.

So, as for life beginning at forty it doesn’t, it just carries on exactly as it was before. Forty is not the new Thirty and when I get to Fifty, which is not too bloody far off I’m sure I won’t feel like I am Forty and what is more I will likely still be bumbling around completely clueless.

Four years ago my life was pretty similar to how it is now, Tom and Elsie were smaller obviously but the same things were happening on a fairly daily basis and life was… Er, life.

This love thing is freaking me out.  Actually that is not true, it is not true because I am not in love, nowhere bloody close.  However, I am in like and I like the fact that I am in like.  What I don’t like is the fact that the emotional part of my brain just can’t deal with it.  I  don’t know how to behave.  Just when I think I’ve got it, I realise I have not got it at all, in fact I couldn’t be further from getting it if I bloody tried.

I love the fact that I am no longer online dating.  That is definitely a bonus.  I have not deleted my profile, I have just shelved it (I’m not one for counting my chickens), it is a nice feeling, that feeling of not having to first date but seriously the stress that comes from continually dating, the same person, far outweighs anything a First date can throw at you, unless he turns out to be an axe murderer, of course.  First dates are easy, turn up, decide Yes/No, leave.  Arduous and sometimes a little deflating but pretty painless over all.  Dating, or at least exclusive dating is hard, especially for someone like me.

It is just not something I am good at. I am like an eternal best friend and that if I’m honest is where I feel entirely more comfortable, much more comfortable than navigating all these hairpin bends and unhappy endings.

 

Tangled up, Pt 3…

As it turns out I needn’t have worried.

Not that I was worried of course. Alright, I admit it, just a tiny bit worried, maybe? The funny thing is that now I realise there really wasn’t any need to be getting my knickers in a knot.

My knickers get in a knot easily, especially when it comes to things I am not entirely in control of.

In my world, where it is just me and the kids, I have it covered, well for the most part. I won’t say it isn’t a bloody struggle sometimes because it is. Single parenting is not for the faint hearted and I don’t care whose opinion says other wise.

It is not a struggle in the sense that it is difficult to manage or to discipline or to provide, in many circumstances these are difficulties that all families, conventional or other wise face, at some point or another. Two parents can struggle just as much as one when it comes to the financial burdens of having a family and while there are many other things that can add to the stresses and strains of parenting, for the most part it is often a comfort that there is at least two of you going through this roller-coaster ride together.

In a way I feel stronger for having done it on my own but at the same time I know I am not really stronger.

I congratulate myself when I have managed to get through a whole week with two children still both alive at the end of it but through that week I will have had many an Oh shit moment. Oh shit moments range in severity but they are usually something I have forgotten about and this could be something insignificant, like a form I haven’t signed or slightly more significant, like losing one of the aforementioned children. This happens less frequently now as they are growing up and can now, for the most part, follow instruction easily. If I tell them to stay put they usually do.

I used to joke often about my children ending up at the mercy of Social Services and for most of their childhood I have felt as if I have slightly under achieved as a parent. I do feel that somehow, by complete chance, we have managed to avoid any catastrophes of note and even though we have scraped, bumbled and winged our way through most of it so far, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

It is a distant light but a light nonetheless.

Some asked me last weekend if I would have any more children if I could. My answer was a resounding NO. I love my kids don’t get me wrong and maybe if my circumstances had turned out differently, I may have had more children but raising two on my own has been hard and not something I would entirely recommend.

It is hard trying to be Father and Mother, impossible in fact. I am not a man I do not think like a man (I would be in a far better position now if I did), I do not have the physical strength of a man and neither do I have the capabilities that most men seem to have when it comes to fixing, building and maintaining things. I am lucky in that I have help for some of my Oh shit moments and for that I am truly thankful but honestly, if I didn’t, I don’t know where we would be.

I know I can manage, I have proved that to myself time and time again but would I say I am strong? I don’t know. Sometimes I just want someone else to make the decision or to sort the problem out. To have a sounding board. I have never really felt like I have anyone that I can truly confide in. That one person who just gets you.

I suppose the reality is that you sometimes get fed up with just managing. Just about dealing with the everyday and a few dozen other spanner’s thrown in for good luck. I worry about how Tom and Elsie will turn out, will I have done enough for them, taught them the things they need to know, given them the memories that they will always look back on with fondness. Will it have been enough for them to have just had a Mum?

I am very fond of telling people everything is OK, mostly because I do not want to admit that sometimes everything is far from OK.  Sometimes I am guilty of wishing things had been different and sometimes I am guilty of not doing enough to make them different. Don’t misunderstand me and think that I am sorry or sad at how my life has turned out I am far from that. I am mostly very content, I have two very normal, fairly well-balanced, respectful and loving children, tantrums included and we are lucky compared to some.

Sometimes my head just feels so full.  In previous relationships I have struggled to open up to share anything that might lead the other person to believe that I wasn’t coping, that I needed help.  Now I realise how important that is.

However, I do not open up easily, this we already know.  Even as I write I manipulate a story, mostly because I over think what others will think.  My first drafts of a blog are usually much more honest than the one that eventually gets published.  I hold back for fear of what people will think, mostly because I am identifiable to some.

This week has seen the turning point in my relationship with Mr Ivy and I am happy to say we made it around the hairpin bend and are now coasting along the highway at a steady speed.

I will admit to be being Little Miss Passive as I couldn’t bring myself to push him. However, only an hour or so after my last post he did message me.  It was a simple message to say that he would like to see me this week if I was available.  Of course I am available, I have been waiting to hear from you all bloody week why wouldn’t I be available.  I responded, in the same manner, with my availability and he selected Thursday as his preferred evening.  I danced around the kitchen for a while and then celebrated with a cup of tea before bed.  Only four sleeps!

Monday evening saw another message arrive, “Hi, Sorry to message so late. I have just discovered I am free tomorrow, if you would like to bring things forward?” It is 11.30 pm. It’s late, I’m tired and now my head is off on one of its shall I, shan’t I journeys, designed especially to keep me up half the night.  After an hours deliberation (I know it’s ridiculous), I decided, NO!

I politely informed him that I would rather wait until Thursday as I had a little surprise for him this time, which was unlikely to have arrived by tomorrow.  “Intriguing” he replied, “As you were.”  My grin could probably be seen from the moon.

You see this is the thing I like the most about Mr Ivy, he is short, sweet and very simple. His messages are designed to say what they need to say nothing more, nothing less and now that I have worked that out, finally, we are in a good place.

He does not message me to ask how my day was or if I slept well and he certainly does not send me pictures of his cock… he waits until we see each other to ask me how my day was and all the other days in between, he practically waits on me (unless agreed otherwise 😉 ) and the effort he puts in to our dates is incredible.  So much so that I feel slightly lacking in the effort stakes, which is half the reason why I wanted to turn the tables a bit for Thursday’s pending date.

My interpretation of him “trying to hard” was in fact my fears and doubts about our relationship, the worry that it would all be too much to live up to, too early on. He, quite politely, just informed me that this is how is he. If he is going to do something he will do it wholeheartedly, there is no point in doing anything in half measures.  It scared me, I’ll be honest and I’ll just get that out there, he is something else.  He remembers everything and I mean everything, tiny things you say in conversation, the things you do, he notices and he pulls all this information out at a later date, where he will have your favourite song playing when you arrive, or he will have bought something especially for me, nothing fancy just something he knows I will like.  It blows my mind.

I wont say I wasn’t nervous about taking the reigns on Thursday, everything is still very new with us.  It takes time to know your partner well enough to feel completely confident sexually, to be able to let go of your inhibitions and take control of theirs.  You are both still finding your feet with each other, finding out likes and dislikes. Neither Mr Ivy or I are particularly vanilla, however, he is slighty more reserved than I.  At the moment he is not sure which side of the fence he sits on, or if actually he wouldn’t quite like to hop over the fence from time to time and while I know what I prefer I am happy to go a little adventure with him and see where it takes us.

On Thursday we both entered some new territory and it was fun, well it made me laugh anyway.  The sounds coming from Mr Ivy were very different.

The following day for the first time I felt compelled to message him, not least to check that he was OK!  In what was our first round of slightly less formal messaging, he said he his first thought this morning was one of retribution.  I am not sure who is more excited?

Our Seventh date (not that I am counting), is looming, tomorrow. Seven encounters, meets, dates?  Don’t know, don’t care.  All I know is that I hope to lose count soon and just become blissfully lost in it all.