Saturday, 22 May 2010

Life is What Happens When You’re Busy Making Other Plans

Nineteen months ago my husband and I were idly watching tele with a glass of wine late one Friday night when we received a phone call. We were told that my husband’s best friend, who lived in Ireland, had died very suddenly, on a football pitch as he was training his youth team. He was fit, he was healthy, he was the life and soul of the party. He was forty seven and suddenly he was no more.

We were devastated.

My husband had known his friend since the first day at high school. They had shared everything. And despite the fact that they lived quite far apart he was closer to my husband than some of his own relatives.

In Ireland funerals are supposed to happen within 48 hours, so plans were quickly made to travel and my parents stepped into the breach to look after our children. The funeral itself was the was most emotionally traumatic experience I have ever encountered. And then during the wake I phoned home to check on the kids, only to find out that my youngest son (4 years old) had been playing football at school and had broken his arm.

My baby was out there, in pain, needing me and I wasn’t there. The only thing I wanted to do was to get on a plane and get back to him. But I couldn’t. My only consolation was that he was with my parents - if me or my husband couldn’t be with him then as far as I was concerned they were the next best thing.

Those were a bleak few days and to be honest I almost became afraid to get out of bed because I was wondering what was going to happen next - they say things come in threes.

We were due to go on holiday to Egypt a few weeks later. Then we were told that the break to his arm wasn’t a clean one and he would need a full plaster cast which would prevent him from flying.
We cancelled the holiday.

We never got to Egypt but in retrospect, we were both grieving and I’m not sure we could have coped with being together with two children twenty four seven for a week so perhaps it was for the best.
We’ve been on holiday since and had a great time, so we were really looking forward to the holiday we’ve booked for 12 days starting next Saturday.
Today the boys went to a friend’s party at his house. Two hours after I’d dropped them off I got a phonecall - my youngest had hurt his arm playing football. Deja vue! The hospital confirmed that he has broken his arm - the other one this time. Not as bad as the last but I won’t find out until the day before we go whether or not he is fit to fly. Thank God he is OK that’s the main thing but the phrase “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” keeps running through my mind. I think it’s a lyric from a John Lennon song, but today as far as I’m concerned its particularly resonant.
I'm trying to be positive. - worse things happen at sea and all that, but it's stirred up alot of questions and painful memories.
Take care everyone out there and be safe - you never know what's going to happen next.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Five Years and when life gets in the way

Don’t you just hate in when real life gets in the way of doing the things you really want to do? That’s what my life has been like recently. My head is so busy trying to remember the things I’m supposed to be doing that I can’t seem to clear enough space in it to write about anything in fact.

So thank you to the lovely Jayne from A Novice Novelist who tagged me with five years and who has given me something to blog about. I don’t think my answers are very original but they may strike a cord with all of you jugglers out there.

Where were you five years ago?

1. In the same house and in the same job

2. Looking after a one year old and a three year old and spending most of my wages on childcare

3. Watching Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder (so some things have improved – actually I quite liked the Thomas stories, I’ve got a thing about model railways – quite keen on miniature everything in fact – always wanted a proper doll’s house too).

4. Trying to write short stories and my first ever novel (now in a draw where it deservedly belongs to be) in my spare time which was limited.

5. Falling into bed each day exhausted with the thought of facing another day on the hamster wheel.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

1. I would like to work from home making my living from writing. Not asking for mega fame and fortune, just enough for me to be able to get by.

2. I would like to have sorted out my work/life balance a bit better and have more time to myself to do what I want to do and not the constant round of tidying and cleaning up after other people.

3. I would like to have visited more of the places of interest and historic houses in Cheshire which I keep meaning to go and visit.

4. I would like to have a revamped my garden so it’s a nice place to sit and read or write on sunny days.

5. I would still like to be with my husband and have a good relationship with my kids who will then be approaching dreading teanagedom.

What is on your to do list today?

1. Work

2. Having son’s friend round to play and for tea

3. Exercise – going on holiday in two weeks and need desperately to get rid of the flabby bits (Ha ha dream on! Will probably end up covering them up.)

4. Gardening - garden is a shambles – especially at the front and feel like we are The Clampitts compared to our neighbours who all have immaculately clipped lawns and hedges. (Kind of hoping it will rain which will give me a good excuse not to do it.)

5. Watching Midsummer Murders – I do like a bit of cosy crime

Oops left out writing – will have to squeeze that in somewhere in between – as ever

What five snacks do you enjoy?

1. Crisps

2. Cheese – Grommit

3. Chocolate brownies

4. Flapjacks – especially sticky gooey ones.

5. White chocolate chip cookies – extra large from Sainsburys.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

1. Give some away to local charities – somewhere where I can see that it has made a difference to people’s lives rather than filtered into the pockets of institutions less deserving.

2. Put some in trust for my kids but not hand it to them on a plate

3. Share it around the rest of the family and friends but not so that I’m seen as a soft touch and only good because of the money.

4. Buy a large ramshackle house by the sea and do it up and buy another house aboard in the sun to escape to.

5. Get a housekeeper and gardener so I don’t have to do the chores anymore!

So there you have it my five years. I’m not going to tag anyone but if anyone wants to take up the mantle please feel free – and let me know so that I can read your answers.

Now I’m off to my to do list. Going to have a relaxing weekend with the family this weekend a) because I’ve earned it after the week I’ve had so far this week and b) because its my birthday on Saturday– and if you can’t lounge around on you birthday when can you?