Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Blog 54x...I've been thinking...

Blog 54 x...   

 I've been thinking... the first two weeks of the boys’ summer holidays has passed in the blink of an eye…it has been strange having no uniforms to wash and press or sports kit to organise. The weather has been unbelievable with torrential rain and then burning sunshine! It has been too soggy for picnics and then too hot for walks. The worst part is that already there are signs of ‘Back to School’ as the war for the lowest priced uniforms commences…it’s worse than Christmas time: no sooner have schools closed for the Christmas break than the sales start! It used to really bug the life out of me when I was teaching; the term would end with the Nativity play; calls of 'Merry Christmas' echoing behind me and I’d be feeling all Christmasy and excited and set off for late night shopping to discover half empty shelves, Christmas displays being removed and sales signs going up as well as there being a sudden and devastating lack of Christmas treats!  

There is a sense already of the supermarkets moving items in order to clear away the summer garden paraphernalia in favour no doubt of the onslaught of the Hallow’een decorations! What is this pre-occupation with rushing through the year? We have Valentine’s and then the next day Easter eggs are on sale…is it all to do with consumerism because if it is then shame on all of them…someone somewhere is making us all race through life at too fast a pace!

I don’t want to rush…I want to stop and smell the roses as someone once said…wake up and smell the coffee [was that my own version or have I heard it somewhere in my long ago past?]…stand in the rain…jump in the puddles…you get the picture; I want the world to stop and give me a chance to breathe…give my children the chance to be children enjoying a break from their studies…let all children think that the new school term is a million miles away. 

As you all know the sad loss of my close friend’s son happened just recently and it rendered me helpless with shock and sadness.

It has been difficult to know that my friends are suffering with this devastating loss and there is very little I can do to make things better. 

The funeral was a wake up call for me.

A favourite song of his was played..."Don't look back..." although it's a popular song I have never known the full meaning or all of the words but those three words have been repeating in my head constantly...I suddenly felt that I think I have wasted some of my life…mainly due to my illness… I lost track of time…how to make everyday count…you see when you are working there is a purpose to your day; or when you are looking after someone or a child…but when you become house bound on your own all day you slowly become reluctant to go out, to see people, to be part of the world and as you all have read before my days rarely have a purpose or routine as my days are ruled by my pain…I suddenly felt that I have been wallowing in the pain, hiding behind it sometimes to avoid life…I have allowed myself to not be thankful for actually being given a new day…I have allowed the years to be rushed by...I have been wasting my days either sleeping, feeling miserable, isolated and just totally fed up!

Well, I don’t want to waste another day…so yes I want the world to stop rushing us through life; I don’t want to see school uniforms or stationary equipment adverts so early in the summer break, not for at least another 2 weeks…I want to feel a sense of freedom because there are no classes for the boys…I want to wake up in glorious sunshine and say to my boys… “Get your bikes out…here’s a picnic…I’ll meet you at the park…” [It’s not too far for me to walk as I certainly cannot cycle there!] I want to wake up when the rain is pouring down and say to my boys… “Get your coats and pop corn, we’re getting a bus to the movies…” I want to begin making the most of time…their time.

As an unmarried, childless, young teacher I used to love the first day of the school holidays…I would set my alarm for the normal time, get up and make a coffee and then get back into bed and sit and read a novel that I had specifically bought for the summer break.

As a newly married woman I used to love getting up early to make the ‘Hubby’ breakfast…well alright it was only cereal but the thought was there! Then I would spend hours clearing cupboards, organising school files, going into the school and arranging my classroom ready for the new term or gardening and cooking an evening meal and drinking copious amounts of wine whilst watching a movie or soap opera during the week …just because I could! 

As a mother of two young boys the beginning of the holidays used to mean lazy breakfasts of hot chocolate and croissants or waffles whilst watching cartoons; baking and picnics, playing on swings, games of Frustration [very apt!] and then a trip to the Toy store to invest in new Lego/Bionicle figures and then spend days piecing them all together [and then spend even more time hoovering them up!]

As a child the summer holidays always seemed to be endless weeks stretching out in front of me…the weather always seemed to be hot and a few of us children in the neighbourhood would get together and we would spend days in shorts and sandals. We would explore the fields and parks near the house; crawling on all fours pretending to be snipers in amongst the enemy [the cows on the hill!] We played hide and seek in the long grass and we used lampposts as the bases for games of Rounders. We went swimming in the open air swimming pool on the local park…er the memory is more glorious than the actual activity: the water was always freezing, there were leaves floating on the surface and the changing cubicles were draughty…but we had crisp butties and 'Tizer' pop to cheer us up! We fished for tiddlers in the brook [yes the same one I recently fell into!] and built a rope swing after fighting off the children from a different neighbourhood…ahhh the battles the gang of us had…not serious but it helped spend some of our energy; after being chased for several blocks we would sleep a peaceful sleep that night and wake with our batteries fully re-charged! 

Everyone has happy memories of the freedom of the summer break…freedom from school…freedom from routine…freedom to be what we want to be: dressed up as cowboys and Indians or princesses or knights in shining armour riding around the streets [usually the garden sweeping brush with our own neighing sound effects!] 

One night last week after the funeral I lay in bed with the windows wide open desperate for the cool breeze after a strange really hot afternoon…somewhere in the distance the sounds of a summer’s night floated in through the window; a BBQ was still burning and the smell was wafting in the evening breeze; the sound of laughter, running footsteps, the sound of someone putting out the recycling bins, the clatter of their bottles, a bird was singing…really yes and it was almost dark;the sound of the odd car passing and it all reminded me of nightimes when I was a 9 year old girl...

I shared a bedroom with my 'big sister' at the back of our Victorian terraced house.Our bedroom was freezing in the winter and stifling in the summer. During the cold months if we breathed out we could see our breath hanging in the air. There would be frost on the outside and ice on the inside of the windows. We had hot water bottles but if you moved your feet during the night there was always a cold patch guaranteed to wake you up! But in the summertime we lay on top of the beds, the old sash windows open wide, the cool breeze wafting the net curtains; we could hear the rumble of the trains nearby. Sometimes we would kneel on my bed and look out of the window; we watched our next door neighbour run around the garden in his vest and we giggled when we saw his bare backside wobbling as he happily danced whilst singing to the moon. We would often hear one of our neighbours a few doors down shouting to her children to come inside before she "Ruddy-well" was going to chase them home. Then there was the cat lover shouting her cats' names as she called that their supper was ready. As it grew darker we heard young lads climbing over walls and through ginnel ways escaping from their mothers' calls as they rushed to meet friends and we heard women shouting their friendly banter over the back walls as they collected their washing; we could often see the smoke rising in a swirl from the side garden wall as someone was stealing a quiet moment with the last fag of the night and there was always someone shouting or singing as they left the pub in the next but one street to ours. It was a happy place to sit and I have often thought that had we lived longer in that house my 'big sister' and I would have been the ones at the side of the outdoor lavatory wall smoking a quick one or climbing out of the window onto the kitchen roof, shimmying down the pipes into the garden to make a quick exit down the lobby. Who knows I might even have got lucky and be snogging one of the young men against the lobby wall like the oldest daughter from the corner house! 

I found myself laughing at what could have been! 

Ah yes, warm nights get you thinking and so do funerals, particularly those of someone so young...and the words from his song struck me; suddenly making sense in my own interpretation...

I realised that I needed to pull myself together... put my pain relief patches on and get on with life; for the sake of my boys: I need to slow down the pace of life for a while and take time to do some special things with my family so that these summer days of their childhood are worth reflecting on...not looking back at how their mother suddenly refused to go out over the door…not of how their mother needed to rest…not how their mother changed from a fun loving, laughing, creator of happy days…I want them to think of the summer as a great time to be together, to go out and do something worthwhile…so yes I have thought long and hard about life over the past two weeks and I have had a re-awakening much like a slap in the face: a young person has passed away living only half as long as me…so I need to be thankful for each day not just for me, not just for my boys but in memory of him…I have to slow down the pace of the world for us; I need to stop thinking about what could have been if I had not become ill and start looking forward...because I’m damn sure he wouldn’t be wasting his summertime...he'd be out there... somewhere...not looking back...

Blog 54 y...coming soon...
[R.I.P.  young man, September 1985-July 2012.]


  1. Could'nt have put it better myself... Go grab pup!!!! x