Tag Archives: single parent

Sunday, Sunday

NB I wrote this over a week ago but was too tired to post it – quelle surprise!!! Here its is anyway.

So, I made it through my first week back at work unscathed – well it was fours days really. Work itself was fine but on Thursday lunchtime I got the phone call from the school every parent dreads ‘your child had fallen off the climbing frame and banged her head’. These things are sent to test us, so my mum was dispatched to collect her and I jumped on train from London and met them at home. Lucia had a nice big bruise but after the ‘can you tell your name? do you remember the accident? Can you count to 10?’ she was deemed ok and so spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Ipad and eating ice cream. Phew.

I was so exhausted by then that I went to bed at 5pm, woke up to eat dinner in bed and then fell asleep agin, I woke for work at 6.30am and felt like I could sleep for the rest of the day. Getting up was hard, really hard, the exhaustion and the constant pain in my wrist, hands, arm and neck are tiring in them selves. But I did it and that’s the important bit. It made we worry though, I had been back at work effectively for 2 1/2 days and I was a physical wreck, this is not boding well.

IMG_0087

However, when I got home on Friday my Tens machine had arrived, all that hope I was placing on a tiny little item, surely I was heading for a fall? but no, I love it, it is amazing, I’m still taking the pain killers but the machine is so effective on my hand and wrist that I am quite amazed. How could something so cheap be so effective? I don’t know and I don’t care, all I know is that it is and I love it. People will stare, but that is not the sort of thing that bothers me anymore, believe me it really used to and that was when I was fine and well! Age and illness frees you somewhat from those thoughts, for me anyway. The machine sends little electrical currents through the pads stuck on your body, it does feel odd, a bit tingly, and sometimes it can be uncomfortable so I turn the strength down but goodness is it effective, I cannot recommend it enough. I have the wonderful @curlyb56 to thank for pointing me in the direction of tens and to this particular machine, she is fast becoming my ‘go to’ gal for all things chronic pain related so massive thanks and kisses to her.

IMG_0090

I spent all of yesterday in bed resting, watching Netflix and just ‘being’, but feeling really really grumpy, in such a bad mood, just looking for something to screech about, my poor mum she gets the brunt of it. She stayed to look after Lu for me and brought me dinner in bed again, she is lovely and kind but does drive me mad.

Today its just Lu and me, so far we have watched endless Youtube videos of Lu’s choice, mainly involving disney princesses while the puppy continues to teeth and chew everything that isnt above waist height but the sun is shining, sort of and I must take them both out for a walk soon. A new week looms and the fear I have re exhaustion remains but I know I am doing everything I can to ward against it interfering in my work life but that in itself makes me worry, what if my best isn’t enough????

 

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I was brought up by my mum and my grandma, they were strong, loving, affectionate women, very different to each other but I always felt safe, secure and wanted.

 

My parents separated when I was 18 months old, and I have no re collection of having lived with my father at all, my mum  and I loved back to the UK and he remained in the Middle East. I saw him very infrequently during my childhood, maybe once every few years, a phone call every other year and absolutely no financial contribution to my up bringing at all. We lived in a bed sit when I was very young and eventually got a flat with social housing, but the lifts always broken and carrying a three year old up 24 flights of stairs, occasionally in the dark, can put a strain on you! My poor mum.

IMG_1600

The lack of financial contribution may not seem unusual but he is an extremely wealthy man and it seemed rather cruel of him. My mum worked as a cleaner to support us, food was scarce on occasion, but my mum was the one that went without, never me. The only furniture we had in our first flat was a chair and a mattress, in our second we had no cooker so used a primus camping stove ring, all very exciting for a city dwelling child – felt like ‘camping’ indoors. We had the gas and electric cut off a few times, so out came the candles and battery powered radio, rather romantic! I remember the day the men came to take our sofa and armchair away as we couldn’t afford to pay the monthly amount, that was the first and last time my mum ever got any thing on credit, she still doesn’t have a credit card. ‘If you don’t have the cash then don’t buy it’, she hated owing ‘the man’. And yet my father still refused to contribute, he would turn up on occasion to our flat, stand around in his expensive suits and remark how disgusting it was, how disgusting london was and that I (me) could have a lovely life if my mum just sent me back with him to live but she always said ‘ no’, thankfully. Essentially my father is not a nice man, as I hit my teens when ever he would show up he would call me a slag or a slut for wearing a summer dress above my knee, he would say London had made me dirty. See, what a charmer! Incidentally, I hadn’t seen or heard from my father in many months when I had gone to the local Sainsburys in Hammersmith during my lunch hour in Sixth Form, and there on the magazine shelf was was dad – on the front cover of Hello or OK magazine at the races with Princess Anne, at least I knew he wasn’t dead. He, of course, couldn’t say the same of me.

 

IMG_1599

Now, where was my mum in all this glorious father/ daughter bonding I hear you ask? Well, my mum had her own issues to deal with and so, for her own reasons, she never stood up for me. When he would telephone when I was little and I would cry and ask why he never remembered my birthday or bothered at all with me, he would start shouting and call me disrespectful, my mother would then shout at me telling me it was my fault that my father was shouting because I had upset him, thats hard for an eight year old to hear. I shall now divulge two rather sad things that could only come from the mind of a child; firstly, I thought that my flat must have TV cameras in so that my dad could see me because surely he couldn’t go for so long without seeing or contacting his child? I imagined him watching over me during his busy life. When I figured that wasn’t true I thought that I must be adopted, why else would he treat me so differently to his other children? Because they come from a different mother I hear you cry? well, no, I have an older brother and sister that stayed with my dad and that my mum didn’t see for sixteen years despite all her efforts, see? a cruel cruel man.

 

Between the ages of eight and eighteen my mother forced me to spend at least a week a year with him and his family, at last count he had seven children, all living with him, or now I suppose, holidaying in one of his properties in Switzerland, or Vienna or Morocco or Dubai or London. I’m not sure any more as the last time I had any contact with my father was more than ten years ago. I telephoned him, one day, thought I’d give it another go, he answered and  asked who was calling, I said to him ‘Miriam, your daughter’ and he hung up immediately, never to be seen or spoken to since. How to win friends and influence people!

IMG_1601

Those weeks I spent with my father in my childhood were awful, mostly spent living in a bedroom, I couldn’t understand what people were saying and I was homesick, no one ever actually spoke to me, it was as if I didn’t exist. Those experiences took a big toll on the relationship I had with my mum which has never really recovered, and yet she kept sending. In her her mind if something happened to her I would have to go and live with my dad and she wanted me to know him. When I went to stay with him in the holidays I saw him for maybe five minutes in total as he was often away working or simply had no interest in seeing me, neither did anyone else for that matter! I would have preferred to take my chances with my mum’s family had something happened to her. Well, the irony is that out of all my fathers children I am the only one who looks like him all, my siblings look like their mum, and I don’t look like my mum at all, my older brother and sister look quite like my mum. So, everyday I look in the mirror and I see the features of a man I really dislike,  a man who has treated me appallingly, left me emotionally bereft and feeling worthless, big stuff for a child to try and dissect and deal with. I used to worry about how unpleasant a man he was as I had half his DNA in me, that somehow I would turn out like him, I’m hoping I haven’t -selfish, spiteful, cruel and mean – but that up to other people confirm!

 

 

 

You Are Enough

Lulus father left just after her second birthday, I had never factored in being a single parent. I won’t lie, the last two years as a single parent have been challenging, ok being entirely honest, they have been damn hard. Suddenly I found myself responsible for everything, getting Lu to nursery and home when I work full time in London, Lu wasn’t sleeping through the night ( she rarely does now), she was still in nappies, still teething, the only family I have is my mum who lives in Greenwich, south London which is as far away from me on the tube map as you can get. And I was sad. The man that I loved had left me for no apparent reason, well nothing he was prepared to verbalise to me. Not only had he gone, but he had moved far away.

My mum was a single parent, my grandmother was a single parent to seven children to all intents and purposes (my grandad was alcoholic) and I really really tried my best in all my decisions to ensure that my baby would have two parents who stayed together. My dad abandoned me entirely when I was 18 months and the irony that my husband left when Lu was two was not lost on me.

I was brought up by my mum and my grandmother, both of whom were strong, tenacious and brave, though they had entirley different personalities. My mum is quiet while my grandma was loud, verging on bolshy. I’m more like my grandma than I am my mum. And while my grandma has pass on her influence on me is ingrained.

8bea2f342d8c11e382fd22000a9d0df2_5 10005372_641117225943729_632008284_n 10413248_412808388859043_560690504_n a27bd8e8279b11e3aba722000ab6839f_5

So when I became a single parent I never worried about my ability to bring up a well rounded happy child, I worried about how I could fit in all the practicalities that had previously been shared between two. My mum stepped in (though she drives me insane, ‘why don’t you..’ ‘if I were you…’ arrrggghhh) to help with nursery pick ups, she did the laundry, she read lulu bedtime stories, she cuddled me when I cried and it all felt too much. But the thing that helped the most was that she had complete and utter faith in me, every time that I had a wobble she would say to me over and over again ‘You are enough’ ‘You are enough’ ‘You are enough’ and now I know that I am, indeed, enough, that I can cope well with the grown up stuff, getting a mortgage, arranging my own divorce, and that I am a good mum to Lulu.

So to my mum and grandma (wherever they sent you!), though Mothers Day has been and gone, and I think that you mither too much mum, I wanted to say thank you, for making me me and I wanted to tell you that I am not frightened anymore. I know that Lulu and I will be okay.

So to anyone having a hard time let me tell you this, You are enough, You are enough, You are enough, You really are enough…..xxxxxxx