Thursday, June 29, 2006

I want you to be honest and tell me if it’s *me*

I’m not in a good mood. I’m irritated at R’s school (yet again!). As you know he only has a few weeks to go before he leaves, and though I haven’t explained the reasons here as to why we’re pulling him out, I’m sure you can gather it’s because we’re less than happy with the school.

On the 1st June we wrote a brief letter letting the headmaster know that R will be leaving. On the 19th June I wrote again, requesting that they acknowledge the first letter. We’ve heard nothing.

Yesterday, R comes home and tells me they got to watch Kingdom of Heaven at school (though they missed the final twenty minutes as the bell went). Umm, this had me wondering if my memory served me right, as I was sure the movie is a 15 certificate and surely they wouldn’t show it to my 11 year old.

But I am right, it is a 15 movie, and though I’m aware we’re somewhat old fashioned, we don’t allow R to see movies above a 12 rating. This doesn’t mean he hasn’t seen any movies which are older, he has (about four of them) but only after we’ve watched them and agreed he can see them within the house.

So after calling another mother to make sure it wasn’t just the odd clip they’d seen (incidentally, she wasn’t bothered in the least) I called the school today to enquire how this had come about.

Unfortunately it’s activities week and there’s no-one for me to speak to, except the headmaster’s secretary, with whom I explained my irritation. She took the details along with my number and asked me to bear with her until Monday when everyone should be back and available to provide the information. So be it.

But I also thought to mention that I had written to the headmaster twice this month and as yet, had not received a response. Off she went to look through her files then came back to tell me, yes they’re aware R is leaving and that she called me twice on the 21st June (at 3:50 and 4:15) to acknowledge my letters. I suggested she check the number on file, as I hadn’t received any messages. Sure enough the number was correct, but she went onto explain she didn’t like leaving messages as parents often panic when the school leaves a message to contact them.

I then pointed out that as I’m waiting for a response, did it not seem, I wouldn’t be panicking? She stuttered a bit then said she’d get the headmaster to call me Monday to discuss the movie issue and explain why I hadn’t received a written response to my letters to date.

A written response? Hang on a sec, I didn’t receive any response! If you call my house at school kicking out time and choose not to leave a message on the answering machine, how on earth am I supposed to know you’ve called? (Damn my poor telepathic abilities!)

Pointing this out only resulted in more stuttering and being told to bear with the school.

But bloody hell, I feel like I’m hitting my head against a brick wall! I mean, how long does it take to write: We acknowledge your letter of…. And what the heck is the school doing, showing a 15 certificate movie to my 11 year old? The secretary went on about finding out who authorised it, but in truth I couldn’t care less who authorised it – I didn’t give my permission and I don’t believe they know better than the certification board!

I am so narked. But honestly, I want to know, is it me?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Oh goody, it’s Monday. Again.

R’s school took his year group to France today, just for the day. It required an early start and I wasn’t surprised to find R in the kitchen making toast at 6:15. Was a tad surprised to find S up with him, but they settled down to eat their breakfasts whilst I sorted out the river the dog had created overnight (I might have to start limiting his water after 6pm like the kids!)

Wasn’t best pleased when I heard a crashing sound and turned around to discover Kobi on the table knocking S’s unfinished breakfast cereal everywhere. Even less pleased when I was clearing that up, and I heard that glorious noise regular readers will know I despise – someone was being loudly sick.

Rushing to the scene (yeah I can be a good mom, even when every instinct I have tells me to run the other way!), I discovered the worst possible situation – it was R. And to make matters worse he’d already taken his anti-histamine, and though there was a good chance most of it had come up, I couldn’t give him another as the bottle gives severe warnings about taking two in one day.

As you can imagine there was much pleading and tears to come. But I have to be responsible sometimes, and though we’d paid for the damn trip, there was no way we could let him go.

When I called the teacher she said she was pleased I was honest as on previous years some parents had still allowed sick kids to go (no doubt bullied by the tears and slamming doors), and that just messed up everyone’s day.

But to say R was furious is an understatement. And he kept saying he felt fine, that it was probably just nerves, or the anti-histamine taken earlier than normal. He barely spoke to us as the clock headed towards 8 and he informed us the boat would be leaving. Even bribery in the form of PS2 didn’t help. I left him here this morning feeling like the worst mom in the world.

Now it’s lunchtime, and thank the heavens – he really IS ill!

Well, I don’t mean thank heavens he’s ill, just that I’m glad I’m no longer the angst-ridden-over-reacting-mother he considered me this morning. And I’ve had to warn him, he may not make the cricket day planned for tomorrow (figured I was better to mention it whilst he was gripping his stomach and swallowing hard ;o))

Oh and the poor dog is still waiting for his walk, that’ll teach him for being thrilled at so much company early in the morning!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A day off

1st Tea break: I thought I’d try for a day doing nothing today. Then I remembered the ironing needs doing, the girls hair needs doing, the kitchen stinks (again, thanks Kobi!) and needs scrubbing, two loads of washing should get done, and I’ve got accounts to do for one of my jobs – and after that lot, and the dog walks, I seriously doubt there’ll be much time left for doing nothing.

Still, I get my tea breaks (which is when I’m jotting here) though I’m supposed to be cutting down on the caffeine (doctor’s orders) so I’m trying to drink more water, which is so boring.

2nd Tea break (ugh, I mean water break): Hohoho, having just finished getting the kitchen floor ready for washing (cleaning the bird out, taking the chairs out, and sweeping up) I have just remembered the dog ate the mop. Great. Now I have to do it on my hands and knees. 40 square meters with the utility. On the upside, I’ve already screamed at the children’s comings and goings so much (when I was sweeping) they’re now all hiding outside with the dog, so even if my knees give out, at least I’ll get some peace and quiet!

And talking about peace and quiet, I got a lie-in this morning and managed to stay in bed until 6:45. Turned out to be a bit of a mistake as it meant that the kids were already up, and thus three of them asked to accompany me on the dog’s morning walk. Now a nice sane mom might be thrilled at the prospect of her children wishing to join her – and I was, for all of two minutes. Then we got to the end of the drive.

3rd water break (kitchen nearly done!), but who am I kidding? These are cigarette breaks with a drink thrown in: So by the time we set out, the kids had already started arguing about who should get to walk the dog. Never mind that I hadn’t agreed any of them could walk him (it might be a Sunday on a 15mph road, but there aren’t any pavements), and of course with both the girls in tow the volume soon reached fever pitch. And even after I’d said no-one could have a go until Kobi had run through the woods and worn himself out a tad, they found plenty of other stuff to squeal about. And when they weren’t shouting at the ducks and debating which way to go, P was playing the Mad Scientist (it’s what he now wants to be when he grows up) and scaring them silly with his practiced insane laugh.

All this time I’m trying to remind Kobi to heal and hissing at the kids to be quiet as the people in the neighbouring houses might surely like to sleep later than 8am on a Sunday morning!

4th Tea break and now the proud owner of a clean kitchen floor and wrinkly hands (and yes it is tea, I deserve it!): I was complaining about the dog walk, but my mind’s moved on from that now, and anyway there were some sweet moments – would you believe S can’t count to 10 but can remember all I told her about ferns? She was able to tell J all about how old they were, and how the dinosaurs ate them, but how the dinosaurs had mostly died out and the others evolved into birds, but not the ferns. J wasn’t really interested, but I was touched our lunchtime walks had obviously interested S.
Oh and you may notice from the picture, the only one who ever bothered to see if mom was flowing behind was Kobi. Bless his heart, I’m really starting to love this dog! He seems to have mostly got the hang of where to poop and I have a theory he pees in the kitchen whenever he’s fed up with me (which is whenever I’ve shouted at him for chewing something he shouldn’t have, like the kitchen units), but the rest of his training is coming along great, and he behaved very well when both P and J took turns walking him home.

And something else tickled me this morning. Looks like I’m a fielder in a virtual cricket team! The team hasn’t got a name yet, but if you hurry over to Dave’s and volunteer to play, you get a chance to show off your wit and thus earn yourself the possibility of becoming club president. It should be fun with Dave’s imagination in charge, and as it’s virtual I’m hoping we’ll soon be wiping the floor with the likes of Freddie Flintoff (though I can think of better things to do with Freddie ;o))

Friday, June 23, 2006

Where to begin?

Well I have a headache. And I’ve been having a lot of them lately, not normal ones though, more like someone’s hit me across the back of the head – so I guess I’ve got a nerve trapped. Or maybe it’s stress.

Is stress the same as anxiety? Because that’s what the doctor reckons I’m suffering from. I finally went. Kind of had to, as I couldn’t stop crying, and that tends to worry people after a week or so. Haven’t cried since I started on the drugs though. Either it’s good stuff, or crying for an hour in the doctor’s office got a lot of it out of my system.

And now that I’ve stopped crying, I’m wondering what I was crying about. Well, that’s not entirely true as I still don’t feel far from creating a river, but I just can’t figure out what’s going on with me.

Life is good. In many ways easier than it has been in years. And since I started working out of the house again, I thought I’d been happier, and money’s stopped being a momentous worry ready to drown me. So what the hell is up?

The doctor I spoke with yesterday – who I had never met before – told me, she thought I’m the type of person to believe that everything that isn’t right in my life, is of my own making.

That kind of amuses me. Or maybe it worries me, because I think there’s some truth in it. At least I hope there is. As I like to think I’m a great believer in accepting responsibility for one’s own actions, and if anything, people who blame others for a mess they've caused, annoy me. And I don't see how anyone else made this mess I'm in.

So what was her point? As the way she said it, makes me think she wasn’t paying me a compliment. And if it wasn’t a compliment, does that mean my thinking is warped? Because if it does, then chances are I’m passing it on to my kids, as I’m forever drilling it into them that there are consequences to all our actions…hang on a sec, that can’t be wrong! Shit, maybe it means I’m the only damn sane person about…

Anyway, enough deep thinking, or is that circular thinking? Ugh, either way, I’ve got a headache. And I’m on drugs (yippee, just wish they were stronger). So enough.

But I do want to say a quick thank you, to all of you. Both for the comments here, and the mails you’ve sent. Please know it does mean a lot to me. Very few people in real life know how squiffy I get, and it’s so nice not to have to pretend here – and still you come back. You make me feel very lucky, thank you.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


…for being a useless mare. I seem to be lost.

But I’ll be back, just as soon as I find the right path out of *my* wood (which happens to be tad darker than this one).

Hopefully soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

There’s nothing more boring than a…

…bored person, as my mother used to say. In which case, you may wish to leave now.

My up/down moods of the last few days have been replaced with a restlessness of everything around me. As the school summer term speeds towards its conclusion with its mass of activities, all I can do is sigh. Here we go again.

Of course I daren’t ever say this out loud, or at least not within ear-shot of my mother, as her original warning of boredom is now replaced with ‘You made your own bed!’ Yep, my mom has a mountain of sayings to put me in my place.

And I know I deserve it. Too many kids, too many chores, too many jobs, and all for too many years. This is what I wanted, and it's great to get what you want. Except, it's a bit like a seven year old getting a sweet shop for their birthday, and by the time their eight, they're fat and off chocolate for life. Well maybe not life, but definitely for tonight.

Aren’t I a little ray of sunshine today? And speaking of sunshine, it’s gone. Replaced with the wind and rain, again. Might even get off my butt and put the heating back on. But if I get off my butt I’ll pass the door-frame, and as that needs painting, it’ll bring a pile of guilt. So maybe I’ll sit here a while longer.

Did I tell you I got invited to Prague? But I made the mistake of asking what for (I honestly can’t think why I would want to go, and anyway it would require spending money and children juggling) and so my mother withdrew her offer. Good job really as the timing was horrendous, at the end of Michealmas term, and that’s even busier than this term, so it was never a goer really. But I would like to go away, in fact I think I’d like to be lost somewhere, with no responsibilities or demands. But not Prague, somewhere warm and deserted. Fat chance.

I was also thinking I’d like to go swimming. I can swim, I just don’t ever get the chance, and I’d like to. But we only have two public pools and one is cold and expensive, and the other’s too far to nip to. Excuses, excuses. So I’ll dream on, at least until September (which is fast becoming a mythically era with plenty of spare time as S will have started at big school.)

Back in the real world my life did get a tad better today. The dishwasher was finally fixed, after two months of being on strike. Almost funny really as I arrived home from work to find two men lying on my kitchen floor (my mother had let them in, as she was here watching R for me). They’d taken over the entire kitchen so I couldn’t even make a cup of tea, but they were only here two hours and now we don’t have to do the washing up, so I must let my irritation with them go. (But seeing as this was their third visit I swear it would have been cheaper [and more convenient for me!] for the insurance just to buy me a new machine.)

And I think I’d like to move house. Not this year, as I just couldn’t face it right now, but soon. Maybe. If I get my act together and finish this place. Which at my current rate probably won’t happen for another decade.

Have I mentioned I hate football? There’s yet another match on at the moment. Three a day for anyone who’s counting, which I’m not, but people like to talk about the bloody football. Good grief we’re not even through the first week and I’m sick of it. Though I doubt I’d even notice if it wasn’t for my current restlessness, as it’s only when I’m like this that I need television, for the distraction value.

And talking of distractions, I’ve just started wondering about something. Why do we still call Autumn term, Michaelmas, when we no longer call the Summer term, Trinity?

Umm, and can you tell I’m bored? By the way, it’s probably contagious, so ESCAPE NOW!

My husband sent me this...

And if you're wondering, he's a Scot!

40 degrees - Californians shiver uncontrollably.

People in Scotland sunbathe.

35 degrees - Italian cars won't start.

People in Scotland drive with the windows down.

20 degrees - Floridians wear coats, gloves, and wool hats.

People in Scotland throw on shorts and a T-shirt.

15 degrees - Californians begin to evacuate the state.

People in Scotland go swimming in the sea.

0 degrees - New York landlords turn the heat on.

People in Scotland have a last barbi before it gets cold.

-10 degrees - People in Miami are extinct.

People in Scotland lick flagpoles.

-20 degrees - Californians all now live in Mexico.

People in Scotland throw on a light jacket.

-80 degrees - Polar bears begin to evacuate the Artic.

Scottish Boy Scouts postpone winter survival exercise until it gets cold enough.

-100 degrees - Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.

People in Scotland wear a vest and pull down their ear flaps.

-173 degrees - Ethyl alcohol freezes.

People in Scotland get angry 'cos they can't thaw their whisky.

-297 degrees - Microbiotic life starts to grind to a halt.

Scottish cows complain of farmers with cold hands.

-460 degrees - ALL atomic motion stops.

People in Scotland start saying " A bit hill billy ... eh? "

-500 degrees - Hell freezes over.

Scottish people support England in the World Cup

Monday, June 12, 2006

No thunder-storm, but no field trip for me either.

R’s at home again today. Again, because I don’t think I mentioned he was home on Friday, though you may remember he went to a sleep-over party on Saturday. I know that doesn’t sound very responsible of me, but the doctor we saw on Friday said R could go if he felt better. And he did, on Saturday.

Unfortunately by Sunday he was much worse (though no one thought to call me to collect him early!), and even a day in bed didn’t help. I was worried he was reacting to the medication as my body is intolerant to many, and figured I should take him back to the doctors. And what a nice doctor we saw. I say that because he made me laugh when P complained R wasn’t so sick he couldn’t still kick and punch him, and the doctor promptly told P he probably deserved it for being a little brother. You should have seen P’s face! Plus this wonderful doctor was thoughtful enough to slash 50% off the bill as it was a return visit – this is my type of doctor, and I’ll be sure to be seeing him again!

But R isn’t good. They’ve changed his antibiotics, given him yet another inhaler, upped his antihistamines and added some steroids. And all that came with a warning that they’d have to see him again in two days if he hasn’t improved, oh and if he gets worse, I’ve got to call them immediately.

So I excused myself from the field trip, as I may have left R for an hour on Friday (to go to work) but I couldn’t leave him half the day today.

I felt bad though. Apparently three other moms had cancelled too and J’s teacher was madly chewing her lip when I explained my problem. But still, J’s home now, having had a nice day with cows who tried to eat her dress, pigs who will eat anything, and chickens which she fell in love with (should be interesting next time I serve one!).

But I did have one major panic today. A friend called and asked me to collect her daughter from school, but when I arrived at the classroom door the teacher told me she’d gone already. I foolishly smiled thinking she was winding me up, but she wasn’t.

Ten minutes of frantic searching ensued, as we looked for the woman who had collected the girl. All to no avail. And then I had to call the mom and admit I’d lost her daughter and had no idea who’d taken her, or where she was.

To say I felt sick is an under statement. As it turned out the meds the mother is taking for her back, play havoc with her mind and she’d asked another woman to collect her daughter too. Phew! And the experience probably only added half a dozen grey hairs.

And we lost a baby bunny *sob*. Kobi found what little remains there were (he was trying to eat them! Ugh, he’s worse than the pigs!!) and I’ve remembered why I’m not a cat person. Poor bunny.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Me and my big mouth!

I should have known. Daring to call it summer was a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to do! I don’t mind the grey skies, clouds, and sporadic showers we’ve got today, after all it’s a relief to scrub the kitchen floor and not have sweat pouring off.

However, I could do without the thunder storms predicted for tomorrow!

Oh, and apart from the irritation of living the normal stuff of life in the pouring rain, guess what I’m doing tomorrow?

What I should be doing (if I had half a brain) is going to work, where I could oooooo and ahhhhhh at the pretty sky, while siting nice and snug in my cosy little office. But oh no, I had to volunteer to assist on a school field trip.

And yes that would be a literal field.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Feeling hot, hot, hot!

I’m better today. Lots! But it’s a mystery as to why, especially after spending this afternoon – the hottest day of the year to date – inside a darkened room, helping at a disco party.

The music was good – if a tad loud – and everything was organised so well the forty-two little darlings had a great time. Except maybe for my two girls, who didn’t dance and followed me around attempting to help. I think it was because they only knew the party girl and her sister.

But I found it fun, and even managed to amuse the DJ when he caught me dancing after stopping the music suddenly to play Statues. Not that it was really dancing – after all, I don’t dance – more an energetic food serving jig.

I also managed to cause an argument between my friend Cass and her husband this morning. As they started shouting at one another I – unsuccessfully – tried to blend with the scenery (damn contemporary homes with their plain walls!) But I was only trying to help. Cass’s husband was taking half the house along with the TV to the party (the footie was on!), which meant they had to take two cars, but Cass had said she wanted to be able to have a drink at the party and didn’t want to drive. So I thought I was being helpful when I offered to take some stuff up for them.

Apparently not. It seems Cass and her husband were going up an hour-and-a-half in advance to set things up, but I couldn’t get up there until half an hour before the party. When Cass said that was alright, her husband wanted to know why he was being dragged up there so early if they could do so much at the last minute. In turn Cass told him to forget it, she wouldn’t have a drink. And so the argument began…

And when I wasn’t causing discontent among my friends, we attended the school fête. Thankfully we only had half an hour free, and after waiting to get a parking space, even that was cut short. Phew.

We also went to see a house this morning, between the swimming and ballet. We’re not really looking to move, but I saw the opening viewing notice in the paper last night and the house looked interesting. It was, and I was very taken with three staircases and the prospect of having enough rooms that there would even been one left over! But it needs a lot of money spending on it. And the location isn’t as good or as private as where we live now. And the garden was huge, but not pretty or practical. So even though it comes with a title we won’t be offering a tender. Good thing really, as our present house isn’t actually finished yet. But I can’t quite forget the potential…

R is also out tonight, staying over at a party. Heaven help us, they’re camping in a back garden and will probably stay up half the night, which in turn will mean he’s foul tomorrow.

But at least tomorrow should be a quiet day. I hope, I really, really, hope!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sunshine on a rainy day

It hasn’t rained this week, guess I might even be brave and call it summer. The rain’s been inside, as in me. I’ve been a totally miserable mare all week. Even the BH commented yesterday that he rarely sees me smile anymore, and one of my friends keeps telling me she’s worried about me. But nothing is different to usual, guess miserable must be my normal.

But I’m not sitting here to moan! Oh hang on, yes I am. Have you heard, the world cup kicks off in less than an hour? Ugh. Four weeks of crowd noise, flag waving, and in depth mind-numbing drivel about men kicking balls. Suppose I should be grateful it only happens every four years. Four years? Can it really be four years since I went through last time?!

The BH has also come up with an idea to enthuse me, get this, he suggests (with a grin!) I find out who’s playing on what day, and then I can prepare a meal from one of the countries playing. Umm, don’t think so somehow, what the heck do they eat in Paraguay anyway?

Let’s move onto to other distractions. A lady woman drove into me at traffic lights the other day. Not a big deal, it happens, and as the damage was minimal I wouldn’t have cared a jot…but for the first words out of her mouth, ‘You must have come backwards!’ On a flat road, when my car’s an automatic? No love, I don’t think so. Bloody impossible if you didn’t know! She managed to wind me up big time, but I walked away grinding my teeth and muttering about ignorant people who can’t face saying the word ‘Sorry’. Bloody, bloody, bloody, never mind.

What else has happened? Oh yes, the BH brushed his teeth last night, thankfully that part isn’t unusual, but he returned to the lounge moaning about the kids playing in the bathroom and soaking the tootpaste tube in mouthwash. Except it wasn’t the kids, and it wasn’t mouthwash. I could have left him in ignorance, but I can’t help but be honest. So I confessed. The tootpaste had fallen into the bath. He didn’t look thrilled and pulled a face, but you should have seen his face when I added it was when I was bathing the dog. Umm, maybe I shouldn’t have owned up.

And talking of the dog *heavy sigh*. I swear that dog gets more stupid each day. The peeing and pooping inside the house is getting worse, not better! My house smells, and when it’s not offensive, it’s bleach. And my car. He hates the car, and ALWAYS poops within minutes of getting in. It’s driving me bonkers. So most of the time Kobi gets left behind. But only most of the time, because he has to get used to the car, plus we’re now attending puppy training. He’s not bad at that, in fact last night he was the star of the class (but that’s only my opinion ;o)).

The girls have also been getting plenty of attention this week. J threw a tantrum on the way to school the other morning when I said I wouldn’t buy her a new skipping rope until she’d tidied her room. I got through the embarrassment of walking into school with a sobbing [obviously spoilt] child, by ignoring it. But then S caught onto the idea, and so proceeded to do the same. I could’ve killed the pair of them, though only figuratively of course.

I also caught a few minutes of Real Desperate Housewives last night. One woman in particular stood out. A career mom, who gave it all up when her second child was born, but nevertheless within the year she’d locked herself in her bedroom for a month and refused to see anyone. Sounds like bliss to me, if I could just be sure someone would take the kids to school.

But I guess if I did that, I’d miss my job. As sad as it is, I really like my job. And my boss thinks I’m good at it too, and even told me so today. In fact he was super nice and was so complimentary my mood has improved greatly. Except I know that’s kind of awful, to get such a boost from someone saying something so simple. Makes me wonder about my balance of sanity.

Oh and I’ve checked about the cat. It was a He, and he’s being claimed! I’m so pleased! Apparently his owners live a good distance away and he’d been missing a long time, so I did enjoy a big smile with the thought of their relief.

Well the sun is shining, and the BH is due home any minute to watch the first match, suppose I should make it look like I’ve done something around here today.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

7th June, again!

I seem to have surprised myself, as I never thought I’d continue this page for an entire year! Yep, today’s my blog’s first anniversary.

Not sure what to say about my year’s worth of waffle, though I think one of the biggest delights of this place has been the friends I’ve made. And if you’re wondering if I’m talking about you, then I probably am ;o) And even if you're not wondering, chances are I consider you special. The fact that you return to offer your advice and thoughts, whilst sharing your life, is a gift that’s surprised me and for which I’m truly grateful for.

And thank you also to the lurkers, I may not know who you are, but the fact that you come back day after day, hopefully means you find some delight or amusement here, and I take that as a compliment.

I also owe Doug a big thank you, who’s not only a friend but also the person responsible for me getting into this. If he’d realised he wasn’t allowing anonymous comments then I may never had signed up to Blogger, so thank you Doug, it’s mostly fun and definitely good for my sanity.

A whole year! Where do the days go?!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Exorcising a ghost

I often forget birthdays. No-one’s is ‘safe’ for me to remember, except maybe for three of the kids who were thoughtful enough to be born within four weeks of each other, and between that and their incessant reminders – so far I haven’t missed any. But everyone else’s, including mine own, can too easily be forgotten as I realise too late that the weeks rush past.

So why then, do I remember hers is today? In fact I know last year it played on my mind so much, it was a prompt to begin blogging in some hope of putting her ghost to rest. Some years I wonder if I would remember her birthday, if she was still alive. I can’t even remember her exact death date, though I know it was the first Tuesday of January when I was pregnant with P. He’s eight this year.

And though I was upset at the time, I’m glad she’s gone.

She wanted more than I could give. When you’re adopted, you’re told to be careful when searching for birth mothers, as a lot of them aren’t necessarily thrilled when you get in touch. It's what I expected, but not what I got.

My quest to know where I had arrived from began when I was twelve. I was in a restaurant with my parents on a boarding school exeat, when I told them I wanted to change my name. With some daft belief that they might take me seriously, I had just informed them I was now to be known as Michelle. My mother burst into tears and ran from the table whilst I was left with my father shouting at me about what a stupid girl I was.

Turned out Michelle was my first name, the one she’d given me.

I could describe the years of teenage moodiness and try blaming them on her, but in truth, I never much cared that I’m adopted. I’m of the belief it takes a darn sight more than giving birth to make you a mother, and my adopted mom feels like my mom, and though my curiosity demanded I find the woman who had given birth to me, I didn’t particularly want an ongoing relationship with this stranger as I felt no real loss or void in my life. Though I also can’t deny I imagined some romantic scenario or two, where I would find some noble reason as to why I had been cast aside with the possibility of a fairytale ending.

For several reasons asking my parents about her was difficult, and even when I dared, their answers proved fruitless for any definite facts. So I considered going to the adoption services and asking if she’d been in touch, wanting to know how I was. But that was tricky too, as firstly if the birth mother didn’t want anything to do with her child – I had no recourse! All the answers I wanted depended solely upon her whim and I wasn’t in the mood for that, and then the next step was even harder. If the birth mother agreed to meet with me and talk, the adoption agency would first want my parents and I to go through counselling to make sure it didn’t have a detrimental affects on us. Ha. Detrimental would have been an under-statement, it would have destroyed my father. And then there’s the age thing, I wasn’t yet eighteen.

So armed with knowing where I was born and knowing I’d been given Michelle as a first name, I hit the Birth, Deaths & Marriages register. It should have been impossible I suppose. But it wasn’t. When I left after just one day of work I knew my full name, and more importantly, her name. Of course it was no great surprise to find I didn’t have a father.

It was a couple of years before I dared to act but my first call, some two years later, was at the address she’d given. Unfortunately no-one was home, but luck was on my side as it was a row of terraces complete with nosy neighbours. She hadn’t lived there for over fifteen years, and all they could say was her father had been a Headmaster who then became a social worker.

Just finding this sliver of information carried me until I turned twenty-one. And anyway, it had taken me some time to figure out what i could do next. I went through every phone book for the UK and copied out every phone number listed with her then surname.

I remember sitting at the dining room table with the pages of numbers in front of me, daunted by the length and wondering how on earth I was going to find the needle in the haystack. Figured I’d start at the bottom, had to be last as life likes to be a bitch and watch you pull your bloody hair out before letting you get to where you want.

On the third call I spoke with a girl who thought I might be trying to find her aunt, but she was young and couldn’t tell me this woman’s number or married surname. But her Gran was due any minute and I she said to call back in half an hour.

That was scary as it was the old woman who answered the phone, and she wasn’t giving out her daughter’s details without knowing who she was speaking with. I’m not a good liar, but even I can surprise myself sometimes and I spun her a line about living in their old road and going to school with her. It worked and the old woman gave me her contact details.

Then I did nothing for two months.

It was 14th February and when after a few questions, I said it was Michelle calling. She dropped the phone and began screaming. I could hear her running from the room and shouting at someone that it was her baby on the phone.

It was awful. She was so happy, so pleased I had found her. She was so sorry, and she’d never stopped thinking about me. Fate had been cruel and she couldn’t have more children, she waited for me.

But I didn’t want her and some huge emotional outpouring. But I also couldn’t tell her that.

At first I played along. We met and I stayed with her. I got my answers. No fairy-tale, just boring and sordid from a woman who had once been a silly teenager with some daft notion of taking another woman’s husband.

And the guilt. She felt so guilty. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to tell her it was all okay, I wasn’t angry or resentful at her for her decisions and there was nothing to feel guilty over.

But she never shut up, always the same going over and over why she’d done it. How it wasn’t her fault. In fact it was everyone’s fault but hers. I listened as she said it was her father who taken me, it was his fault, but her mother had let him, so it was her fault, then there was the drunk Granny screaming ‘Get that bastard out of this house!’. But ultimately, it was his fault, the man she’d loved. He’d said he’d left his wife and kids, and she wasn’t the only woman to believe him, oh-no his secretary had also been left holding a baby when he’d returned to Europe to spend Christmas with his family.

And he’d made himself quite clear by taking everything when he went. And I mean everything, she didn’t even have a picture of him. Still, I got his name.

For a couple of years I managed to make her happy while keeping her at arms length, but I could never be sure how carried away she’d get and had to lie about where I was getting married for fear she’d show up and cause a scene. Because there was one small detail I haven’t mentioned, she was a drunk. I didn’t actually realise it at the time, at the time I figured she felt less guilty when she had a drink before calling me, and maybe that’s why she was always getting hysterical and teary. But it was only after she’d died that her husband told me she’d been reliant on alcohol since before I was born. Though chances are, the existence of me made it worse.

During the last six months of her life we didn’t talk as often, this was after we’d had a row the summer before. She kept calling R her grandson, and I kept asking her not to. In the end I lost my temper and reminded her what giving up a baby meant. She asked why we stayed in touch if that was how I felt, and I told her it was because she had managed to make me feel guilty for not caring enough, and because of that guilt I stayed in the hope of alleviating hers.

Things were never the same. We kept in touch and she knew about me being pregnant with P, I remember like my father, she hoped P was going to a girl; but she didn’t really talk anymore. I suppose she’d given up. She drunk herself to death. Her husband told me she knew what was happening to her body but carried on ignoring the doctors advice. She didn’t tell anyone, and swore her husband to secrecy. It was a shock to her family as well.

Her husband was good to me in retrospect, and I’ve always supposed she didn’t tell him about our row as I imagine he would have been angry with me for hurting her so.

Over the years I’ve swung back a forth about how I feel about her. We were different, too different to ever be friends. And I never felt any connection, in fact she irritated me a lot. But my guilt has stayed strong. I meant everything to her, and all I wanted was some answers from her. As a baby I ruined her life once, and finding her again just seemed to cause fresh wounds. I figure I pretty much killed her.

And when I’m not feeling guilty, I’m glad. Not for her death, I never wanted that, but that’s she gone and I don’t have to deal with her anymore. But then her birthday arrives and I feel bad, like she should be here so I could send her a card or something. Ironic really, as I bet she felt like that on many of my birthdays too.

Today and she would have been fifty-eight.

P.S. I've never told this story in full before, and I'm not yet sure I feel better for it. And having just read it though, bet you're thinking you wish you hadn't stopped by! Turns out I'm at least glad this one's finally written :o)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

More than you wanted to know…

Thanks to Kirsty, I’m getting to do a meme on six strange facts about me. Personally speaking I consider this a hard task (to come up with six), however the BH has arrived home from work and is busy reeling off suggestions (though by now, he should know when it’s a good idea to stop!)

1. I believe the earliest memory I have is of the pre-adoption centre I was placed in, at just a couple of months of age. Didn’t realise where or when the memory came from until I described it to my mother and she recognised the things I recall.

2. I can remember my last death.

3. I fell in love with my husband at an exact moment and knew that I would marry him, but it was several more days before he kissed me (I can be nice, as he’s finally shut up talking about things he thinks are strange about me!)

4. When gazing at the heavens I enjoy feeling insignificant and minute both in time and space. Didn’t used to when I was younger, but the feeling is a comfort now.

5. There is no physical type I’m attracted to. Though wide strong forearms are a favourite of mine, and tight curls are not, beyond those, anyone may appeal. (And even they’re not set in stone ;o))

6. Today I want to cry. Lots, and without reason.

You know now I’m doing this I can think of a fair few more (though I’m ignoring the BH’s suggestions which include daft things like my dancing, running, and ability to reverse!) but I’d better obey the rules and stop here.

But I do get to pass along the joy to six others! I chose Tim-tambolini, rdl, Dave, Sam, Daisy, and Karen.

And whilst I’m mentioning Daisy, I’d also like to say a big thank you for sending me a sexy* postcard when away on your hols (I think she knows of my like for wide forearms ;o)) Looks like a Brit abroad!

* Daisy's own word! I swear!!