Saturday, August 29, 2015

The dark before the dawn

Eight year ago I started turning into my mother. Or rather, I became a morning person. This came about after returning from a holiday with a 5 hour time difference, I simply never adapted back to my previous habits.

Not that I really remember those habits, I just recall years of dragging myself out of bed when a child cried and woke me, and then walking around like a zombie for several hours. Maybe - given the chance - I would have become a morning person years earlier, but the kids liked to prove who was boss from their start.

I like mornings. I like watching the dawn. Before marriage and children, the only time I saw the dawn was when I had been partying and had stayed up all night. Funny that my best memories of those years are not the parties themselves, but of those quiet moments when the party had ended only because the new day was arriving. I can't always remember the people I was with, but I remember sitting on damp beaches watching the sun appear on the horizon.

Well these days - even though I am awake- I rarely make it to the beach, as moving about too much wakes the house and unlike babies, I don't want company as soon as I wake - and I get company if the wake! Sadly I can't see the horizon from my pokey little garden. Can't even see the sun for the first few hours of the day, as the house faces the wrong way. But I can see the stars before the sky lightens, and watch as the colours change through the hues.

And the smell. I adore the smell of dawn. Not many understand what that smells like. In fact, I have received such odd looks when I mention it, that I have started to wonder if it's in my imagination, especially as I have such a poor sense of smell. But to me the world smells different just before and after and dawn. It's a better smell than the rest of the day. Calmer, and more comforting before the sun arrives, and then fresh and clean as the light changes.

I sat outside before dawn today and felt sad that the summer is ending. It's just not the same when dawn arrives later, and the world is awake before the light dares to emerge to cloudy gray skies. But I also know I will enjoy the longer darkness, and I will sit and stargaze instead, smell the night for longer.

I can't understand why everyone isn't a morning person, they are missing out! But am glad too ;)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Manners anyone? Yes please :)

So today has been a better day, in part because of my fellow human beings - I mention this, as my 'fellow human beings' don't often do a lot for my mood  ;)

I also spent money today, this was another bonus because I like spending money, but sadly rarely have enough.

But today I got a bargain, and bargains are a definite hit with my mood! I bought myself a scroll saw, brand new, for £20. Of course I didn't know I wanted one before I saw the advert, but I have tons of ideas with what I'll do with it, now that I own it.

I also bought my mother a childs wardrobe, which is smaller than an adults wardrobe (obviously!) for her new bedsit she will soon be letting out. She wanted a tallboy, but they are gosh darn hard to find, and frankly this childs wardrobe looks just like one, and it's solid wood which is also a bonus.

The people I brought the items off were wonderful. They really helped make my day better.

The lady who sold me the wardrobe I sort of know, or rather, we have had communication before - via our local FB pages, after she asked for advice on an issue with her mother who had suffered a massive stroke, and I responded via PM to her. Funnily enough that convo happened 1 year to the very day, prior to my father dying.

So anyway, when we met up we got chatting - first about strokes, and parents dying, then children, then society in general. I really liked her, in fact I was late for the chap who was selling me the scroll saw. But he didn't mind, 'cos he was lovely too ! We got chatting about cutting various wood types, and then he mentioned his wife made cakes, and of course I could chat about that for quite a while too.

It's a good feeling to meet and click with people :) Dare I even add 'good' people...well they felt like good people to me, but can't really judge that after only 30 minutes of chatting, can you?

Someone I didn't click with today, was the ass who was behind me when I was taxiing P to the dentist this morning. So many of our roads have blind exits, that we often have to rely on mirrors positioned opposite T junctions. Which is where I was, when he honked at me.  Well after spending the last month teaching P how to drive, and reminding him endlessly to ignore others who try to encourage you into hurrying before you feel secure pulling out - it gave me a great chance to show P that I will not be bullied into taking risks, just because someone else left home late ! But I did think it was rude of him, that's my point. And as P is not here, I will admit it really annoyed me, and didn't make me hurry in the least.... ;)

But overall a good day, Yay !

Thursday, August 27, 2015

So anyway...

After my less than chirpy post of yesterday, I went and soaked in the bath. It had the desired effect of removing the world and leaving my thoughts to wander where they would. And again they ended with my father, as is usual these days.

You see, his final days haunt me. When I think of him, I can't easily remember anything but him dying, which is not fair - on him or me. He was my father for over 40 years, surely all those years should blot out the end week?

My problem is, I'm an overthinker.Yes, huge shock I know ;) But I feel I let him down at the last. Maybe there was nothing I could have done differently, but his last words to me were 'Help me', and I couldn't do anything.

So as I lay in the bath yesterday, I forced myself to think of younger days. Hmm. I thought about my poor school reports and how he would react, or rather not react. They didn't matter in the least. You might now be under the misconception that it was because he adored me so much, he saw past them, but you would be wrong. They didn't matter because I was a girl.

My only future was finishing school. And typing, but only so that I could get a job until I married. Very quaint really, that the path they set out for me was the one my mother followed. I saw her fight against it, heard the rows they had when she would beg to be allowed to work. I even knew about her secret job, one afternoon a week at the Art gallery, that I was sworn to secrecy about.

I did go to finishing school, but not the one he wanted in Switzerland. Unlike my poor grades, that caused a row.

My train of thought moved to the occasions I defied my father, there weren't many. The finishing school was the first time. The next time came when I was working in one of his offices, and went to request a long leave, so I could go traveling.

The problem wasn't the travel, or the time off; the problem was I wanted to go with my boyfriend. I remember his bellowing about how it would ruin me. How no decent man would want me after the boyfriend and I broke up - as we were sure to do. Maybe he thought I was a virgin? but hell I wasn't about to ask him that question.

I wimped out and left, but did go back, and did defy him.

The next time was marrying that boyfriend, except he didn't really fight me on that. Just said 'he wasn't what I had hoped for'. My father was a snob ;)

We managed to avoid confrontations for a while largely because I avoided him. Got engaged at 21, married at 23, and yes, I do think I was in a rush to become an 'adult', free of his control. My parents also spent 5 months of the year on the other side of the world, helped a lot!

The last time I can recall him flipping out at me was when he found out I was pregnant with my youngest. I can't deny she wasn't exactly planned - who would plan a 4th child when no. 3 was only 8 months old?? Only the brave or foolish ;)

Nevertheless, it was a done deal once realised. My mother worked it out from what I didn't say in a phone chat, and my father then called me back and told me my mother had a 'stupid idea, that I might be pregnant again' - when I was silent he then screamed 'Oh you stupid girl!'

Suppose it's almost a compliment to be called a girl at 32. Didn't feel like it at the time.

With reflection I think my father was a control freak. He spent years in numerous offices with people jumping to his commands, and I think he forgot the family were not employees.

I was scared of him. Although not for any nasty reasons. He was always a good father. Made sure I never wanted for anything, in fact I mostly had the best of everything. I certainly can't give my children all that I had. He told me he loved me several times a year, and would hug me when the situation felt right.

But, he was never proud of me. Not once in my childhood can I remember him being really pleased with something I had done. Now, if that had just been his way, that would be fine - but it wasn't. He was proud of my brother. Always raved about him.

I don't have a great relationship with my brother. We get along okay, when we have to - but considering we live on an small island, the fact that I didn't see him for four years probably tells you more than you need to know. We are just very different people. And he's an arrogant ass. Speaks to me like I'm an idiot. Probably doesn't help that I believe I am smarter than him, at least on a common sense level. Not that I would ever say that. I don't like confrontation, and he's forever going on about how important he is. Seriously, since when do important people have to tell others that they're important?

Anyway, I guess the point is that if my father had passed away suddenly, some 3 years ago I don't know that I would have been that upset. Which probably makes me a complete bitch. But I am glad he didn't.

It feels awful to admit that the last 18 months of his life, after he became ill and needed me, were the best 18 months of my life with him.

I was with him between 5 and 18 hours a day, every day, and I am so very glad we had that time together.

I remember the day it changed. He had come home from South Africa because the Doctors there wanted to cut off his leg, and he was determined to find an alternative.

There wasn't any alternative. He lost his left leg below the knee. At first, visiting him in hospital was just like normal. The usual guarded conversations and reactions we had each perfected over the years.

But things were unraveling. My mother was panicking about how she would cope, dad fell into a funk of self pity.

Not quite sure why I was so brave, but I gave up work and told them I would be helping them from hereon. My mothers relief was obvious. And dad  was also pleased as he had a lot of physiotherapy he needed to do, and he felt my mother wasn't up to it, whereas I am a quick learner.

After a few weeks the hospital sent him up to the rehabilitation ward, which should of been great, but... well a couple of posts down, you can see the mess.

But there was something I didn't mention, about when my father was high on tramadol. Before they took him back to the 1st hospital my father became a dibbling mess. He had no idea what was going on, and they had stuck him in his wheelchair. But he couldn't even sit up straight and kept falling asleep.

His small room was full of people - family, and nurses, all talking around him, and he had slumped forward dozing again. I hated it all. Couldn't really cope and wanted to run away.

Instead I knelt down next to my father and stroked his hand to wake him. He came to slowly and gradually turned to look at me. He smiled, still dribbling, and quietly said ' You're such a nice girl.'

I started crying. I am crying now. It was the kindest, sweetest thing I can ever remember my father saying to me.

Pathetic really. To be moved to tears by such a small thing. Especially when the poor man was high as a kite. But he meant it, and that means the world to me.

As some of you know, things went from bad to worse.

But before his stroke, and the confusion that caused, we had a good summer. We got him home, and went to lunch on beautiful sunny beaches at least 4 days a week. We did his exercises every day, with my mother laughing in the background, and my father snapping at her to shut up.

In fact, from then on I became the only person my father was never mean to. Everyone else bore the brunt of his frustration and anger at his situation. The nursing team who came 4 times a day would get yelled at quite regularly, and my mother certainly took more than her fair share. And my brother... hmm my father never shouted at him, because until the final month, he hardly saw him. Not my words, but my father's when I would ask if he'd popped up when I wasn't there. It was the way he said it, gave me a hollow victory because at last maybe my father realised that I was worth as much as my brother.

We talked all day, every day. He chatted about his childhood, his schooling, his old girlfriends. He listened to stories of the kids. We watched Stargate, and Homes under the Hammer together each day, and discussed and or criticized as demanded.

And then his kidneys failed. Sitting in A&E at 3:30 in the morning whilst they tried to make things better, and for a couple of weeks they did. Except by then, his thoughts were a complete jumble.

About 5 days into that hospital stay, I arrived one morning and started with my usual 'Morning Dad!' but he wouldn't look at me, wouldn't speak to me.

I asked what the matter was, and he was so angry that he spat out about how he had been there 9 days and why hadn't I visited before now? I told him he had been there 5 days and that I had been there, every day, all day. 'Then why didn't you come in and see me?' he pleaded. I broke, and burst into tears and shouted back 'I did! I am always here!' then he was crying too, and begging for my forgiveness, explaining that he was so confused. I know he was, and it tore my heart in two. We cried together, dried our eyes together. And then ate breakfast together.

That was 10 days before he passed. They sent him home when there was nothing more they could do. I can't yet write about those last days.

I miss him. I miss our lunches. I miss our long chats. I miss him needing me. I miss him liking me. I miss caring for him. I never thought losing him would hurt like this.

I am glad I have tried to write some of this down. Maybe it will help. Me, not you - my posts are a glum fest mostly!! In fact if you are still reading, you're probably miserable as can be by now - sorry ;)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Shall I list the many ways I hate Facebook?

In truth my title isn't fair, I also love Facebook. When things are good anyway. It's wonderful to catch up family and friends in one place, some of whom I haven't actually spoken to in several years. But maybe there should be a rule about not adding family and close friends?

Yeah I've seen the memes that warn against adding such people, but it seems rather an obvious snub to refuse one cousin when you've accepted the others. So into your life they come. I do make use of the edit audience option, quite a lot in fact, but my dislike of FB doesn't end there. Part of the issue is FB is simply not the place to air your laundry. I have 2 friends who do, a lot. Drives me up the bloody wall actually. And no it's none of you, or I wouldn't write about it her either ;) these people complain ALL the time, in fact I can only remember 1 lighthearted post between them. I feel exhausted when I see their names in my newsfeed. Which isn't very nice of me, as I do care about them. I do want them to be happy. I spent several months in private chats with one, trying to get him to see the brighter side of life, trying to show him that he's a good person who doesn't need to be so hard upon himself (& I meant every word) but.. My life has issues too, and when you're too tired to cope with your own life, trying to help others cope with theirs just becomes too much.

And this has always been my place to moan. To bare my soul (should that be bear? Dave will know...)   - maybe that makes me a hypocrite. Hmm probably definitely does actually. But when I started here, I really didn't know any of you. That seems funny now that I can list your partners names, children, grandchildren. And one person who used to come here passed away a few years ago. I still think about him, and can almost imagine his comments (which would involve contemplation and navels !) I guess that is sort of special, to touch the life of someone you've never met, to have them think we'll of you long after you have become dust again. I can only hope to be as blessed.

Anyway, I am here today, because I am very pissed off. But I don't know at what. I have this horrid unsettled feelings, like something is very wrong, but I just can't remember what it is. I have checked with all the kids, they are fine. Have check on my mother, who is currently on a plane to Spain, she's fine. The bills are paid, the dogs been fed, and all the laundry is done. So quite why I have this weight inside me, I can't work out. But it needs to stop, because feeling so unsettled is unnerving me to the point of contemplating doing something very stupid. And I know it's stupid. And I know I can't do it. Maybe I should just have a drink instead. But no I won't do that either. Not the answer.

I wish it would stop bloody raining too. Seriously pissed off with the utterly crap summer this year. I put the heating on August!!! How bloody insane is that?

I do need some sun, even the Doctor said so, back in June. He told me to go on holiday. He said I have run on a high stress level for the previous 18 months and now that the stress has ended, my body is 'crashing' and is why I always feel so bloody ill. But I haven't gone on holiday. Haven't seen any sun. And my new job is due to start soon. Doctor did call 2 weeks ago though, to ask if had been away yet, when I said no, he said I should go when kids are back at school. I told him I can't, that the family won't have it. Which they wouldn't, if I told them. He made me laugh as he said he'd write them a letter telling them I need a release, and he knows from my history that getting away alone is the only time I relax. I said thanks, but no.

Guess I will start the new job, let the stress seep in, take over from current stresses - of which there are not many now. I think I am still in mourning. I still cry easily, but hey that's nothing new. Maybe when the kids go back I will sit in front of the TV for a couple of days and let the laundry pile up. Once the house is clean of course, and everything's up to date - can't relax until it is ;) which is exactly my problem says my Doctor... And so the circle just repeats. And I still don't know why I feel like something is so wrong today *sigh*

Ahh bugger it, am going to go lie in the bath.

Stay safe all of you x

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How are you?

I get a couple of texts a week from some very dear friends who tell me how they are thinking of me and the family, and asking how I am.

I always respond either 'I'm fine,' or 'I'm okay, thanks'.

It's a bloody lie. But people don't want to hear what's really going through my head, and that I am exhausted, both physically and mentally. I don't often sleep more than 4 hours a night; and I am playing parent to my kids and parents.

The girls are going through a phase of constant arguing, to the point where they are so nasty and horrid to each other, I stand there wondering who they are - but maybe because I have become an utterly useless parent who no longer has the energy to referee their petty disagreements they insist turning into mountains, and instead of listening and mediating their dramas I just send them to their rooms.

And then both my parents seem to have devolved into young children themselves.

My father - still in hospital - feels ignored and disliked by the nurses, whilst trying to cope with his new levels of disability, and so panics at the slightest things resulting emotional dramas where he demands to know what the point of 'going on' is, and his desire for a gun so he can kill himself.

My mother - in her attempt to stay sane- sees her friends several times a week, which is a good thing I know, but it's for HOURS at a time, without any thought to the fact Christmas is in 9 days and I have 4 kids and a house to try and organize and giving up every single day to sitting with my father is becoming too much for me. She will then phone me in complete hysterics because the sun is shining in her eyes and she can't see the cursor on her laptop and she needs to send an email.

The extremes of nonsense going on around me is sending me into a black hole.

And I can't tell any of them.

With my father I have to be this endlessly understanding and optimistic person, assuring him things will get better (thank god he doesn't he doesn't ask me when, because I'm not sure I believe myself anyway).

With the kids I know I am not being fair on them, for instance S was ill at school the other day, but when the school phoned me to say she needed collecting I had to tell them 'too bad, she needs to stay at school' - because I was wheeling my father to yet another department for more tests that scared him. The school and I eventually agreed poor S would walk home by herself whilst she felt sick. Of course with S, there's always a chance she's 'faking' it as she hardly loves school, and claims to be too ill to go at the slightest thing, but even thinking that about makes me question why I don't try to resolve her issues with her, but the truth is, I don't have any more energy to give them, they are not babies any more and they just keep taking and taking and they don't care how tired I am.

And my poor mom. Well the whole thing is crappy on her, and definitely not about to improve and the hospital have said there's nothing more they can do for my father and so want rid of him in January. So home he will go, with 2 nurses coming in 4 times a day for an hour, to help care for him. And however hard I find each day, I will only be there for some 6/7 hours, she will have to cover the other 14+ hours in a day as he can never be left alone.

Life is a bloody nightmare, and I am not okay. I just want it all to stop. And then I realize what that means, and start crying because that's not what I want and I am a horrible person.

Oh shit. Sorry this was not meant to be a pity post. Anyway, typing this hasn't made me feel better (like I was hoping it might) and I don't have the time to sit here contemplating my navel.  Onward. Kick up the ass needed I guess.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


I am writing a post as I heard from one of you last night mentioning the blog, and it turns out today is such a mess I don't know what to do with myself that.. here I am, writing to distract myself.

I can't explain it all, it's complicated and long - as so many things in life are. But I will do my best to make sense for your sake, although I am sat here writing for *my* sake.

My dad is ill. No great shocker the man is 80, and I imagine most are ill with something by that age. He's had diabetes for years, but last October he stubbed his toe and things just went from bad to worse from there - all because of the stubbed toe.

By February they wanted to take his right leg off just below the knee and at the start of March, that's what they did.

He spent several months in hospital, as 80 year old diabetics don't exactly heal fast.

That was all a nightmare. He didn't want it to happen. My mother is 76 and can barely move her neck so she wasn't thrilled either.

He started off in a private room as they do have medical insurance, not that that was ideal as my father is 6'3" and the beds are not long enough, plus he's used to super king size which of course they are not - whilst on the face of it sounds amusing, less amusing when he falls out of it, as he did a week after the op. They started putting the bed rails up all the time after that.

Anyway, after a month or so they said he was well enough to move to a recovery hospital - and although it wasn't 'private' - it did come with his own room, so not so very different.

But the medical service doesn't know it's left hand from right, so they sent him up to the 2nd hospital without any meds for the pain, and there weren't any Doctors about, so no one gave him any meds. 12 hours after arriving he was delirious with the pain; it was 2 in the morning; he was over tired; confused and unhappy. They forgot the bed rails; he forgot he didn't have a leg and tried to get out of bed. So again ends up in a heap on the floor.

He hurt himself pretty badly that time, and wasn't very nice to the nurses. But they did FINALLY call a damn Doctor. Course the Doctor wasn't thrilled at getting a middle of the night call, because of a patient who was grumpy and didn't mince his words about what he thought of the place. They gave him tramadol, and not a little.

In fact they downright turned him into a dribbling mess who no longer even cared where he was.

By the time visiting hours arrived I had a father who kept asking me to phone the Chinese Snooker Team as he need to give them some tips - that was when he could stay awake. But I suppose I should just be glad he knew who I was as he no longer recognized my children and kept asking how I had gotten to South Africa so quickly (no, we were not in Africa !)

Anyway his vitals then went nuts, so he was shipped on to ICU back at the 1st hospital. Then after a few days, back to the private ward he went - although he still didn't know where he was. Clearing the tramadol from his system took several weeks, but thankfully it did clear.

So then we were back at the Recovery Hospital. They were surprisingly more gentle the 2nd time around, maybe because we ignored the visiting hours and did what we liked - which was staying with him all day. Occasionally they hinted a reminder about visiting times, but we smiled and were super nice, and we didn't disturb others by sitting in his room - and to be honest my father can be difficult when he doesn't get his way, so they left us all alone.

He go to go home in July. Things weren't so bad, he could transfer from bed to wheelchair himself and my mother dealt with the personal side of things, I did the exercises and amusing him for hours each day - mostly consisting of taking him out to lunch in pretty locations. He's done well, and has only had a few days of depression all year.

Two weeks ago the Doctors even said his stump had finally healed enough that in another month they will start to look at getting him a prosthetic limb. Great news! Except.... when he had been in the ICU they had put a compression sock on his right foot - because he had clots years ago, and does take warferin. They didn't ask my mother if this was a good idea, they didn't consider how easily he bruises, or how calcified his veins are. The seem gave him a slight bruise, and over the months it got worse, and now his right toe is black and a mess - just like his stubbed toe was. Of course with the the hope of a prosthetic limb soon to happen they wanted to make sure he wasn't about to lose his right leg either.

They scheduled a procedure for Monday morning just gone, to color dye his arteries and maybe put stents in his right leg. The color dye stuff was a risk because of his kidneys - but they weighed up was worth it.

They took him in on Sunday so they could hydrate him before the procedure - he wasn't happy as he had to go on a general ward as the insurance won't cover vascular issues anymore, after he cost them so much in the last financial year.

But hey.... it's only ONE night we told him! And frankly it's the others on the ward who need sympathy as my father SNORES louder than a elephant could ;)

Do Monday morning came, we couldn't see him due to the visiting times, but he called right after and said it was great news - the dye had revealed the stents weren't needed. He just needed to stay in bed for the next 6 hours due to the fact they had gone in an artery (his warferin was stopped a week ago).

All good. Except it wasn't all good. The blithering effing idiots who had brought him back to the ward hadn't put up the side rails on his little bed. They hadn't left a pee bottle within his reach. And when there were no nurses about, he reached for one....

This time he really smashed himself up. Odd really as his warferin had been stopped a week - so you wouldn't think he could bleed so much, but when I showed up he was still covered in blood. He was also lying in a pool of pee - as he had wet himself as it all happened and after too.

But frankly the blood could be washed off, he would heal - what bother them more was that they had noticed he couldn't use his left arm, he can't even feel it, and his speech is slurred.

Don't worry they said, it's probably just a mild stroke and he's in the best place for this to happen, in fact they say that's probably why he fell out of bed..... so long as we get the drugs into him within 3 hours and we've scheduled a CT scan....

He had the scan at around 2 hours, and at the 3 hour mark they were giving him an ECG - whilst he still lay in the pool of pee covered in blood. I was getting rather 'anxious' by that point and sort of did get a little sarcastic with one of the nurses about this supposedly being the 'best place this could happen'.

Poor chap hurried of and a Doctor arrived, saying they weren't going to do anything as they felt the risks outweighed the benefits. Although they did change the bed and put a catheter in.

I ignored the visiting times yesterday and spent the day with him, wiping his face when he dribbled. The speech people came on up and talked him through how to swallow (he'd near choked the day before when trying to sip water and had gone onto IV only).

They also moved him to the stroke ward last night, and it looks like another long stay in hospital all over again.

He's so unhappy. He called my mother at 6 this morning begging her to come and get him.

I then got told I can't go in until 3... as that's their visiting time. Fucking hell. He doesn't like being alone. He's never alone even when he's well - me or my mother are always with him. And they are all so fucking useless, and I'm supposed to be fine about leaving his care to them.

Christ I feel so damn useless. What if this is it? What if he never gets out? What if he just has some giant stroke and that's the end? He's supposed to be on his own for that? in a place he doesn't want to be? And I'm supposed to sit here and think 'oh yes well it is a hospital, they are busy, so I'm supposed to just trust they will do best by my father' ? Like they have done already..........??!! This is not how things are supposed to be.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Party Time!

Yesterday my eldest, R, turned 19. 19!! Where have the years gone?

Somewhat amusingly I woke at 4:30, and my 1st thought was: he was being born now.

Just strikes me as funny as I'm not really one for Birthdays. Or anniversary's. Or anything really. Dates don't mean much, which I think is a good thing - at least it has served me well, if only because I only remember for a year or two on those dates I would rather forget.

But anyway back to my Birthday Boy. He was happy, he seemed to have a good day.

*I* was exhausted though, I only did a couple of hours at work, and then spent the whole day cleaning and cooking, for his party.

His favorite pressie is a wallet I got him - it has Bad Mother****** stamped on the front (he did ask for it!)

If you haven't seen Pulp Fiction you won't understand the reference, but he loves the movie, and is made up with it. So no matter how irresponsible I felt I was being, getting him a wallet with a curse on the front, he is happy, which is what matters to me.

He also surprised me. He stopped the party mid-way to say thank you, said his parents are 'awesome' - very sweet. And very like my father. So confident. And so very un-like me. But hey ho, it was nice.

And I am actually writing this post about one of his mates, young man called Harry, who came to the party.

This young man appears to have everything. The youngest of 5 children, from extremely wealthy parents - and when I say extremely, I mean... well... beyond what I can imagine, and I know a lot of wealthy people.

My boys go to his house quite a bit - in fact at least 5 days a week, as four of them meet to use his gym. It's better than the one in town, that they have to pay for.

So anyway this lovely young man Harry was at the party - or rather at our house, he didn't really stay with the party people, but instead spent half the evening in P's room with P, playing C.o.D.

But when the boys tired of that, they came out and sat by the fire pit, roasting marshmallows in the dark.

My girls were silly with it, and kept burning either the marshmallows or their mouths, but it was lots of fun and laughter, & dropped marshmallows.

Harry was laughing at them, as he tried to roast his own mallow, and then turned to me and said: I like coming here, it's like being in a family!

I answered before I thought:  But you have a family.

He must have held eye contact for at least 3 seconds before looking away and answering: Yes.

I know most people won't get it. But my heart broke for him in that moment. Because in that pause, I knew. He is living my youth. He wants for nothing, appearing to have the most idyllic life of big houses, lots of holidays, nice cars, nice clothes, not a care in the world - and yet, I feel so sorry for him.

I ask R about Harry's family today, but he didn't know much, said he'd never met any of them. His parents don't spend the summer here. But he said Harry didn't mind that, as they weren't close like our family... - that kinda shut me up, I have never thought about how close we all are, I just am very aware my children go without the things I took for granted as a child, and most of the time I feel bad about that.

But I do tell them - when my mother starts one her lectures about my parenting - she didn't raise me, the army of au-pairs did, and the boarding school I went to at 11 took over, and then I was gone at 16; my mother has no idea what raising kids involves.

And we are lucky, because money sure doesn't buy everything, and we might live in a little house now, and things are often a mess - and that's okay, because I don't have to stress about fancy carpets getting ruined by hoards of teenagers partying ;)