14 years is a long time.

14 years is a long time…

14 years is long time without you…

14 years is not a long time in my heart. My heart still feels all the feels and every raw painful emotion when your birthdays fall. My heart still aches when I hear your names called by a stranger on the street, or one of your songs on the radio.

But it’s been 14 years, that’s what I tell myself.

But it’s been 14 years, That’s what other people will think!

After 14 years, I should be over it. That’s what some people will say.

The cold hard truth is I’ll never be over you. I allow myself a few days every year to remember the grief that I was dealt 14 years ago. I allow myself those days so I can live the rest of my life the best way I can without you both in it.

I want to tell you that I’ve spent OH so many years trying to fill the gaps in my life that were left when I lost you both. Fill the emptiness I felt, and could see all around me. I often believed it would be filled by having more children, and until about a year ago I still believed this to be true.

The reality of this is whilst my mind and body is fulfilled and busy, distracted and refocused on life. My heart still has an emptiness, and I’ve come to realise that this will never be filled. It’s another burden that’s bared when your struck with the unthinkable loss of your child or in my case, children!

This emptiness lives within me, in replace of you.

The realisation that I was fooling myself into believing that it would be, or could be as simple as continuing to have children was both a feeling of overwhelming sadness and resolve combined with, what I suppose is peace!

Its so hard to explain in my letters to heaven what 14 years of ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s and 14 years of broken dreams and aspirations can do to a broken hearted mother. I don’t dwell in a pit of sadness anymore but I think of you often. Everyday in fact. Sometimes for just a nanosecond of thought but nevertheless your still very present.

14 years on and I’m very accepting of what’s happened. But some years it stings more than others. This year is one of those stingers. So much change and growth within the walls of our home and within your siblings.

Today, Year 9, you’d of walked to school with big bold tacky flashing birthday badges (forced onto your blazer by me) both of you elated with your new phones, taking selfies with your sister who confidently strolls into year 8 without a second thought and with your younger brother, baby faced, young in mind, immature for his 11 years in an endearing way, and looking so …. fragile and nervous as he embarks on year 7! Boy oh boy could that younger brother of yours do with a big brother or ‘two‘ right now.

I imagine all the laughter, all the banter, the teasing, the absolute hellish chaos, the endless filtered birthday and ‘back to school’ selfies taken on the new unbroken phones with their perfect shiny screens. Photos filled with the sort of love and security that only ‘family’ can offer.

The photos I’ve taken these last few days are beautiful, and they fill me with such pride but they will always have people missing from them and those people are you.

14 years have passed.

14 years I have missed you.

Happy Birthday my angels. I’ll miss you forever.

Love always – The Mothership

I’m guessing your too old at 14 to call me mummy!

And I’d imagine you’d have some nickname for me…. so this feels rather apt as I try, with my all, to supply love, guidance and nourishment for a number of small vessels called LillyElla Toby Isla and Esmè!

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Words of Wisdom to my younger self.

Whether it’s a drunk night out with friends or reminiscing with family I bet at some point in your life you have been asked the question, ‘So what advice would you give to your younger self?’, and after watching Joe Wicks The Body Coach insta-story today about a letter he wrote to his 25 year old self on a podcast with Holly Tucker and it got me thinking… what would I say to my former self?

‘One day you will be older, which means less collagen and more wrinkles. It means more fat as your speedy metabolism slows down with age; well, that will be the excuse you will use when you bin the tailoring for all things lycra. The truth of the matter is you eventually learnt to drive and chose driving over walking 200 meters and ate way too many carbs, despite the dietary choices you will be much wiser and give far less f**ks about most things in general and that in itself is entirely liberating. You will look back at old photos of your younger self and wonder why the hell you had so much self-loathing but you will continually struggle with your hair! Hair will defeat you so embrace it early on, and don’t ever allow the way you look to become the battering ram for other people to bash you with. If they do, remember this says more about them than you!  Very briefly, and because I am a grown up (sometimes) and have very little time to waste on people that mean so little to me that I wouldn’t even flush them! To all you weedy little limp dicked bully bastards at my secondary school that called me ‘gorilla girl’ and made my school life a misery, I hope the fleas of a thousand camels crawled in to your arse and your arms were too short to scratch it. I hope at some point in your life someone called you out on being an arsehole and that in turn made you into a better person.

Life will be an emotional ride,  you’ll experience pain and heartache and all the name calling and bullying will seem like nothing in comparison but you will come out of it the other side, stronger albeit a little bit broken, just like a shattered vase that’s been glued back together, it still fulfills its purpose in life but it’s never quite the same. But just know, you’ll be alright as long as you keep talking. Talking is life’s free medicine, choose your ears wisely!

Don’t chase love, lust, friendships or companionship. Those things ARE important but should be organically grown from a place of confidence and knowing your worth. When you understand your worth you become like ‘bees to honey’. People will be drawn to you for ALL the right reasons. Not because you’ve paid them in kind, kindness, fags or snow. Don’t get me wrong being confident and knowing your worth is not AAA; Armour Against Arseholes! You’ll still meet, snog and sleep with a few of them along the way, but trust me if you build that stability from the bottom up, build yourself, layer by layer from the feet up into a confident, strong and uniquely independent woman, in time you’ll be able to spot the arseholes a mile off.

When your young you’re in a race with yourself to get to 16, 18, 21 as quickly as possible, so much so you prematurely loose your innocence. Be young, dream big and be a child with ambitious dreams, be a kid that won’t pick dandelions in case you wet the bed a few years longer. When your older you’ll be clawing back those years you wished away. You can’t race time, time is not promised it’s a gift that comes with an expiry date and none of us know how long we have been gifted.

Spend more time with your family. That time is precious time, you won’t think that at 11,12,13 or even 16 years old but remember I am you, a few years later with my own children, grasping on by my fingertips to the last stages of childhood and wishing they could see what I see, and know what I know now. Family time is where the memories are made, kept and treasured and where you will always be unconditionally accepted as YOU without even trying!

Laugh hard at all the shit, take no shit, don’t talk shit. Don’t be a twat, don’t sleep with twats. Hold on to your V-Plates like you will ‘hold on’ to the words of ‘THAT’ Wilson Philips song, hold on to your virginity like you hold onto the hope that ‘Oasis’ may reform and that ‘Heather Shimmer’ comes back into fashion and always remember to count to 10 it will save you…being punched in the face!’

See you in future. Wiser, fatter, and giving less fucks!

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect…or not?

A message for my children: I am not perfect, and I am OK with that. Please don’t live a life searching for perfection it’s unrealistic and makes you feel like a piece of dog shite. Perfect is not factual, it is what the onlooker deems it to be – its ambiguous, everybody’s perfect will differ.  I am OK with not being perfect to anyone else, and so should you be, because I, as are you, are perfect to me (I know that sounds like a song! And I bet you sang that bit…)

I am like the WONKY vegetables being sold in the supermarkets and farm shops, with one tit bigger than the other, a few crooked teeth, and a little rough around the edges.

Embrace the wonkiness it will keep you grounded.

 I mean just because you buy a wonky carrot it doesn’t taste any different.

More so than ever we seem to be living in a world of photo shopped fakery, filters and lies. We have created a fake ass world making it impossible for you to aspire to. So, in simple terms, DON’T!

You are, and always will be ‘perfect’ to me.

Remember it’s not about what you wear. Be a boy in a dress, a girl in a suit, be a hippy, a boho goddess or emo, wear what you want but always wear a smile on your face, be happy and wear that proudly because being a ‘Helena Bonham Carter in a world of Kardashians’ or being a ‘Superhero in a class of Princesses’ is a path I crave to see more of. You don’t need to dress to impress anyone but you! You don’t need to follow the crowd.

We all come in different shapes and sizes. Guess what? That’s OK too. Long legs, little legs, hairy legs. Big hair, no hair, ankles or cankles. Big boobs, no boobs, limp or firm (handshake; of course) AND we have all got rolls, some of us just have a few more than others. Even the ever-ready six-pack gang will have a roll, granted, it’s a mini roll as opposed to a sub-roll, but it’s a roll all the same.

If you want the ABS, work for the ABS they don’t come for free. Equally if you want the cake, eat the cake because you’ve earnt it but be-warned you’ve probably got my metabolism so you’ll own a muffin or two if you eat ALL the cake.  That’s OK with me and it should be OK with you. Life is short if you want to eat the cake then buy the bigger dress or do a few extra burpees, because at the end of the day we all take comfort from different things at different times. Sometimes it will be chocolate and wine other times it will be ……. probably more wine but it’s about balance and making sensible choices, every choice you make will have a consequence.

Sometimes we will want to blend in, but my advice to you would be to never just fit in, especially just to blend into the crowd. Be a voice, be heard, don’t be scared to have an opinion, have it, own it and speak it respectfully as you don’t need to shout. It’s not always those with the loudest voice that is heard, it’s those with the wisest words, executed well, so stay educated!

Love every part of your body, it will serve you if you care for it. Your feet will walk you to places that you cannot drive to, your eyes will see both pain and infinite beauty, look further then you can see because the further you look the more clarity you will have. Your heart will beat, it will also break and that will hurt, it will be a pain that’s indescribable with words alone but you will feel it, however that doesn’t mean live a life so fearful of this heartbreak you don’t live at all. Our arms will hold people near, embrace the people you love unconditionally, a hug can help heal your broken heart so don’t be averse to the human touch! Your hands will write words, words that you didn’t know you even felt if you can connect them with soul. Your tongue will be your biggest problem, as it is mine, tame it, reign it in, somethings are better left unsaid. The tongue has no bones, but believe me it is strong enough to break a thousand hearts. I’m not saying be silent. I am saying speak freely and as you wish, always speak the truth but except that sometimes the truth hurts. Your mouth will feed you, so feed it well, remember you are what you eat. Choose more wonky carrots and a little less cake. Fat jokes aren’t funny when you’re the brunt of them. Your head will cloud your judgement from time to time so follow your gut, that intuitive feeling is never wrong. Your mind, now that’s a fucking powerful tool, but like all tools they need oiling. Oil it with love, you owe yourself the love you so freely give to others. Self-care will change your mindset which should never be underestimated, if you tell your mind you can do it, then you will. Tell it you can’t then you won’t.

You are only what you tell yourself. With that in mind.

SAY IT WITH ME.

I AM PERFECT – TO ME!

 

 

 

 

Grief and Mental Health

I read a post titled ‘Grief isn’t your Mental Health’! Whilst I agree with the factual aspect of that statement. I think it’s a little condescending to someone who maybe on the roller-coaster of grief right now. I’m not sure I would have reached out if I had read it.

Alcoholism and substance abuse isn’t your mental health – it’s addiction. Exhaustion isn’t your mental health it is an emotional state of being.

BUT … Alcoholism, substance abuse, exhaustion, and many other types of illnesses, these things ALL have an DIRECT CONTRIBUTING EFFECT on our mental health yet aren’t your mental health! Mental Health is your psychological and emotional well-being, it effects how we think, feel and act. Its a side effect of a deeper rooted cause.

Grief is something that can effect this, grief is a massively unpredictable emotion, its more of a sickening rollercoaster ride you can’t get off! I actually thought I was going mad when I was grieving!! I didn’t recognise myself, I became so detached from myself and my children. I felt trapped, suffocated and I felt stupid for feeling like this especially once I had reached that one year point! After a year everyone around you thinks you should be OVER IT, everyone else has moved on while your still in your deep dark pit of grief!

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, there is no time limit on grief, it’s ruthless, it cares not about time and cares even less about the grieved. At the end of the day, grief is a trauma, an emotional and mental trauma and if you broke your arm or leg, you’d go and visit a doctor. If you metaphorically break your heart, who fixes that! It’s not like a typical medical condition that you’d go and see a doctor for.

I went through some of the darkest times of my entire life when I was grieving. Despairingly dark at times. I felt so alone, I felt guilty, I felt complete self loathing, I felt angry and I drank  alcohol and took drugs to mask the pain, an irrational conclusion that it would make me feel better, or ‘NOT’ to ‘feel’ is more appropriate. They wore off? The come down and hangover kicked in and the cycle repeated itself. It was a vicious circle. I was self medicating and I didn’t know who to reach out too, or even if I should and if I did would I even be taken seriously.

I mean there are people out there that contemplate suicide after bereavement, not directly because someone has died and they are grieving for the person they’ve lost, but because grief has effected their mental state of health. It’s important people are helped to navigate their emotions and find solace, acceptance and peace with their loss. Helped to deal with their anger associated with loosing someone they held dear or maybe even heavily relied on.

One of the main problems I have found is people don’t know where to go to access bereavement facilities, people don’t know how to open the right doors to the right avenues to exorcise the ghosts and I think a contributing factor to this brick wall effect is grief being ‘downgraded’ because of it being an emotive state. Emotions are clearly important, its what effects your metal health at the end of the day so taking care of your emotional well-being is massively important to aid and maintain your mental health.

So no … grief isn’t your mental health – per se! BUT it sure as hell effects your mental health! If your grieving and feel like I did, DON’T be alone, google ‘bereavement help’, talk to a neighbour, a friend even your doctor. A few words is all that is needed to open up options and possible solutions, with-holding anger, hurt or pain, steal your energy and keep you from love.

However … THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION.

A letter to my Christmas Angel

Dear Elliot, my beloved little soldier.

Life feels particularly cruel this year, I’ve lost so many people emotionally and physically and I’ve wrote more letters to people whom have passed over to the other side than to those that are here on earth.

This week I have been busying myself while mentally torturing myself.

I don’t know why? I still don’t understand how grief can still affect me so unpredictably after six years.

But I suppose when I lost you it was unexpected, it was sudden, it wasn’t supposed to happen, we all never ever want to be THAT parent that buries their child, I still feel an overwhelming sense of injustice. It’s emotionally exhausting and equally devastating. Reality is, I didn’t just lose you, or your two brothers before you, I lost potential ‘being’, unfulfilled dreams, and a lifetime of memories, I also lost a vital part of my own identity and in return I received senseless suffering with the relentless associated guilt that I batter myself with. So, with that in mind I suppose it’s entirely acceptable to be in this back and forth emotive state of grief.

In my rational state – I know – IT’s just life… IT’s just ONE of those things that happen, and most of the time I am OK with that. I know you’re at peace, I know that a life on earth, for you, wasn’t meant to be.

In my irrational state – I STILL blame myself. I go over and over in my head the series of events and the inadequacies in my own actions that unfolded before I was told you had died on the 5th December 2012.

I do often think of you and what you’d be like now? This time of year I will often stand and stare at the toys in the boy’s aisle and wonder what I would be choosing for you? I wonder what you would be in the school nativity and whether you would be like your sister who thrives on dramatics, whilst still trying to fathom out what kind of attention she’s actually seeking, she’s trying hard to find herself as a seven-year-old girl, she’s trying hard to find her ‘FIT’!

Or would you be more like your brother who will no doubt hide behind the tallest person so as not to be caught by camera or film. Singing, but not entirely embracing the whole festivity. A reluctant cast member, finding the limelight a little suffocating unless its on his own terms and then playing the ‘joker’ is perfectly acceptable.

In your memory, on your birthday tomorrow! I will put up the Christmas decorations as I do every year. I will place your special star on the branch and wish things were different…then I will accept they aren’t with bitter sadness. I will also be attending your baby sisters first Christmas play and this time six years ago I attended a Christmas play, bereft and with empty aching arms, I should have been there with you.

Anyway, she’s a camel – YES! A BLOODY CAMEL! … and boy oh boy she’s had the ‘HUMP’ about that!! ((I am imagining you belly laughing at my pathetic ‘pun’ and of course your sisters utter disappointment with her casting))

Whilst I feel an angel would have been better suited to the beautiful girl with golden curls and ‘Hope’ in her name…. I guess there is only room for ONE Harris Angel in the room tomorrow and I am without any doubt, that angel, will be you! My sweet boy Elliot!

My hearts still breaks and my soul still aches but that’s a mothers price for ‘unconditional love’.

Until we meet again. Happy Birthday to ‘MY’ very own Christmas Angel.

Mummy XX

I haven’t showered alone in 12 years.

Some would say becoming a parent is the most precious gift ever, and indeed it is, but it comes at a cost to your body shape, vagina, sanity and privacy!

Today I showered. I made that sound like a one off experience so I feel I should clarify that I do actually shower everyday.

However, whilst I was in my glass house, warm water cascading over me and the door to the vault aka the Ensuite was unlocked but closed. I still managed to hold four conversations and end a war whilst soaping up my loofah. I am now entirely convinced I have parliamentary qualities and I’m considering running for prime minister and taking hold of Brexit by the balls!

My kids have a inbuilt honing device that kicks in when I’m on the phone, in the shower or having a shite! It cares less for neither option the interruption levels are the same. The line of questioning is often ruthless and unashamedly brutal! Demanding an answer for each question, and continually repeating the question until I answer …

Mummy are you doing a number one or number two…. Mummy are you doing a number one or number two…. Mummy are you doing a number one or number two…. Mummy are you doing a number one or number two….

In some instances they even answer the question for me… which I find even more humiliating.

“Mummy’s doing a number twoooooooo!!!!!” Expelled from a small child at maximum volume to ensure even the neighbours can hear!

Take this morning for example, I didn’t even tell them I was nipping off to spring clean the lady garden. They were all occupied, the two youngest engrossed in YouTube clips of slime, play doh and of course the eggstravagant kinder egg opening!

The eldest was getting ready whilst pop music was playing out on her portable speaker, and my son was tuned into cyber space which generally means I’ve lost him to a ‘hype’ phenomenon which has him ‘pop locking’ and ‘boneless’ dancing!!! Yep DANCING! The kids got some seriously odd moves. Moves that are ultimately questionable and somewhat annoying when every conversation I have with him results in him having what looks like an epileptic fit in front of me.

All four occupied, a perfect opportunity to have myself a selfish 20 minutes of home pruning!

5 minutes into my shower, I’m lathered up, enjoying the alone time, and I bend down to pick up the razor and there it is, pressed up against the glass is my three year olds crying face, squashed and snotty up against the glass trying to speak of the wrong doing that’s just happened to her. After some ingenious lip reading I think the tears were the result of a change of YouTube channel from slime to Barbies Dream House. Utterly Scandalous …

I calm her down from behind the glass, by using the ‘change of subject technique’, it had worked with all my children at this age. I Just throw in a few excited curve ball questions about a pending birthday or Christmas and all of a sudden the tears have dried up and I’m now listening to a list of gifts she wants for her ‘burfday’ being reeled off like an Argos audio book!

Moments later the wrong doer, comes bounding in with a face like thunder second guessing the situation and is already on the defensive pleading her innocence in the whole debacle ….

“Mummy I only pushed her in the face ONCE, because she tried to snatch the remote control from me”

… well that’s a new revelation…

Esme on cue, starts crying theatrically for a second time for some extra attention as she realises she left out THAT key bit of information. Isla is now looking at me through the steamy glass, shocked and shrieking “I didn’t touch her THIS time, I haven’t done anything, she’s acting!”

Attempting another distraction tactic I ask them both to brush their teeth, the tears stop, and off they trot to the bathroom across the landing. Alone again….. BUT only for a moment as they both come back into my bathroom after collecting their toothbrushes to brush their teeth in the tiniest room of the house with me!!

Toby appears at the door, flossing at an impressive speed and chatting shite to me about his latest conquest on the game he plays.

LillyElla is now behind him asking me what top would look better with her black ripped jeans… mustard or khaki???

Between gritted teeth I mutter ….. mussssstard br quite frankly either would do.

Toby’s floss has evolved into something a little more frantic and he unintentionally wallops Isla in the head, she almost chokes on her toothbrush and turns to shove him, he falls into the door, she looks scared, he looks angry.

LillyElla defends her brothers accidental spaghetti arms and Isla lunges herself at them both like a zombie child with foaming toothpaste at the mouth!

I step out of the shower.

Half shaved.

Angry.

Half washed.

Sweaty.

Ranting like a mad woman.

I bend over, to pick up a towel off the floor to at least cover up the wobbly bits whilst I rant and offer them a free lesson on personal space, however the ensuite is no mansion, there are currently five people in it, so it’s almost expected that Esme ended up with my bare arse in her face to which she yelled …..

“Mummy’s bummy in my face!” And proceeds to smack my arse with her tiny hand!

Isla laughs out loud and says “her boobies are almost in Toby’s”

He recoils in disgust making a gagging sound and runs off which I can only assume is to be sick.

I feel perplexed, undignified and somewhat giant sized while squashed in a confined space with my mini army who are now having great fun at my expense pointing out ALL of my flaws.

Have kids they said.

It’s a gift they said.

The gift of life! It’s a wonderful thing.

IT HAS BEEN 12 YEARS SINCE I SHOWERED ALONE.

IT WILL PROBABLY BE 12 MORE UNTIL I GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO AND THEN MY HUSBAND WILL PROBABLY WANT TO GET IN WITH ME….

I fear I’ll never shower alone again.

All in moderation…

I have been thinking about my dad a lot lately. Despite my efforts, he’s never far from my thoughts. You see, my dad is an alcoholic, he is 62 years old and I have very few memories of my dad that doesn’t involve an alcoholic drink. My children will always remember their granddad drunk, fragile and unpredictable, nothing like the man he was before the alcohol took him.

Did it take him, or did he go down this path willingly? I know he started willingly, we all have a choice to make, and it’s a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the beginning. I say ‘yes’ along with a majority of the population but I am in control. For my Dad, it’s far more complicated than just making a choice now. I think the time has come to accept that my Dad is beyond help, he is fully alcohol dependent meaning he simply cannot function without it! That’s the crux of it, if you can identify and differentiate between casually socially drinking to needing a drink as much as you need to breath the air around you then you are in control, control is lost the moment the poison your drinking becomes as natural as the air your breathing!

It’s been nearly 200 days since I last spoke with my father, his latest stunt was changing his mobile number and not telling me… that’s kind of a big hint that he’d rather have nothing to do with me or mine. Maybe him not telling me is his way of protecting me. We do this, us humans! We make excuses for our loved one’s bad behavior, we try to reason it out with logic to take the sting out of the truth, when the truth is…. sometimes people are arseholes. They don’t mean to be arseholes but it’s a product of circumstance.

‘Arsehole-itous’ it is a common side effect of alcoholism, an addiction of which I am continually making excuses for, undecided if the excuses I am making are for my father or for my own benefit in an act of self-preservation. Everyone shames my dad. Everyone says he’s a waster, he’s changed, he’s a wanker for treating his kids like this, no wonder his wife/wives left him. The people saying these things, don’t get it, don’t get the addiction, don’t understand the illness. Like everything there are various degrees of alcoholism, there is a vast difference between ‘harmful drinking’, which is like bingeing on a bottle of Jägermeister leaving you vomiting over your best friends’ new frock to being alcohol dependent . Just be careful your bingeing doesn’t become a habit your addicted to!

My dad has had so much help offered to him over the years, I have helped him countless times. I have begged him numerously, sobbing my heart out as a young influential teenage girl when he had almost caught himself on fire in the house we lived in having fallen asleep in an intoxicated state in front of the fire with a lit cigarette in his hand that had slowly began to singe the rug he slept on.

I have begged him on my hands and knees pulling out of a ditch in the pouring rain after searching for him for hours, then finally finding him in a hole in the ground where he’d fallen through the safety barricade, inebriated and incoherent. Just two snippets of many stories I could tell – It’s a wonder the man is still alive if I am honest.

I always felt that I should have been enough.

He has rejected all the help he was ever offered from anyone. So how do we help someone who is not ready, willing or understanding of the fact that they need help?

Simple answer: You can’t! … and the reason is just as simple. You have to WANT it, you have to want to be open to accepting help, as much as you need the air to breath.

When you know and accept this knowledge, it makes it even harder to accept that when we have a loved one, like I do in my Dad. I want him to love me enough to trust me to lead him down a better path, I want him to love me and his grandchildren enough to want more for himself than the life he has chosen. I want him to understand why drinking became so important to him, that everything and everyone else he loved mattered less. I want to be enough. However, I am not and I never will be enough, but that is no reflection of me.

That’s the truly sad reality of alcoholism. I think the point many of us miss with alcohol abuse is it’s socially acceptable to drink, the process from ‘all in moderation’ to ‘full on addiction’ takes hold so gradually its often missed before you realise you have a problem with it. You can drink excessively and its accepted because its socially acceptable to ‘rack em up and neck em’, I mean the local crack head ain’t going to rock up at the local supermarket, and say ‘excuse me, in which aisle will I find the crack?’ …

You can drink in social establishments almost everywhere in the UK, I took my little girl to the soft play center the other day and on the top shelf of the chiller cabinet, there it was all lined up, from cans of lager flowing into miniature bottles of chardonnay, shiraz and bubbles!! You can even drive within a certain number of consumed units which in my opinion is a bit like turning your car into a ‘bipolar hitman’! Let’s be more Scottish on this one guys ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’. Let’s not blur the lines with our beer goggles.

I bloody love a good knees up and enjoy the social aspect of drinking with friends, so writing this may seem a little hypocritical to most given that I also have had a love hate relationship with drugs and alcohol over the years. I fell into the trap of initially abusing alcohol because it was an easy escape from the pain I was feeling, I was drinking to numb my reality, rather than face my reality. It soon became my solace, it became my friend, my medicine to help anesthetise the pain in my soul.

I kept telling myself that its OK I’ll wait until the kids are asleep, until I was cracking one open at 4pm.

Then I’d say its OK I’ll just have one with dinner, until your having one after every meal including breakfast and having another bottle as a nightcap.

It’s OK I won’t drink tomorrow … but tomorrow never comes…

So, what’s the difference between me and my Dad? I was accepting of help and I trusted the people around me to have a little more clarity than I did, I took help before I was unreachable. Combine this with the fear I had of letting my children down, the fear that this was yet another trait of my Dads I had ‘inherited’ and I also would go on to let my children down as he had me. That hurt more than any shame I felt in seeking help. Whilst I was able to identify a reason for my excessive drinking not everyone drinks for a reason other than the enjoyment factor… and that’s what makes it so dangerously addictive. I think we live in a society where we want to find reason or blame for doing something, especially when its detrimental. To admit you are addicted to something because you enjoy it, doesn’t resonate or create the same empathy as someone excusing their drinking because of painful experiences or profound life changing events. Some of us drink for no other reason than for fun and that fun evolves into a habit. Whilst others use it as a tranquillizer to tranquility.

My dad says it’s in his blood, he says it’s hereditary (a debate that will be debated forever) he says it was a huge part of his youth, years of being the youngest son of the off-license owners in 1960’s London, drinking from the age of 11! It’s what he knows best, its peer-pressure and above all else it’s excuses. I firmly believe that we are all a product of our upbringing to a degree, not all of us have flawless childhoods but it is up to you whether you use it as a reason to do better or as a justification for your actions. That is a choice you do have.

Alcoholism is a self-destructive path disguised as merriment that leads you sometimes unknowingly,   down a path of loneliness, alcohol will make you friends by night and leave you alone in the morning, it will make you funnier than Michael McIntyre and then more depressed than your overdrawn bank balance, it will give you confidence when you have none, and leave you feeling ashamed when the confidence is gone, because what once was your enjoyment, is now your biggest secret as you lie to your friends about what you drank last night.

This isn’t a pity post, nor is it a patronizing post trying to tell you how to live your life, it’s a reality post and a warning that whilst enjoying a cocktail or three is great fun, be cautious and careful always. Especially if you have one of those addictive personalities that can’t say no to just one Hob Nob!!

Life Changing ….

There will be some things in life that will happen to you and these things will be life changing, a moment in time that will irrevocably change your life forever and things will never be the same again. ‘YOU’ won’t ever be the same after the event.

For example, marriage changed me – I went from single to married, from ‘I’ to ‘US’, from uncoupled to coupled.

The birth of my children changed me – I went from carefree, careless, prodigal, reckless, pint drinking, tit flashing female  with ultimate bladder control and a svelte size 10. To a nurturing, caring, selfless, sensible, gin drinking, spaniels’ ear, flashing woman who wets herself when she laughs and wobbles when she walks.

The death of my children changed me – I went from nurturing, caring, selfless, sensible, gin drinking, spaniels’ ear, flashing woman who wets herself when she laughs and wobbles when she walks. To a bitter, resentful, jealous, heartbroken, soulless shell of a mother who cries her self to sleep every night wishing things could be different.

From my experience not all life changing things are sad, not all life changing things are bad. Some are great, some are momentous. Some will teach you valuable lessons whilst some will make you and some ‘you’ll think’ will break you.

The death of my twins was 13 years ago, 13 years ago my life changed. I changed.

One thing about grief, which in itself can change you as a person, is that the grieved often feel like they need to be sad and bereft forever, because not being sad is like accepting your ‘over it’ which of course you never will be but in reality, as time passes it becomes easier to deal with but for the grieved this element is the hardest to deal with. For years I didn’t want the pain to leave, for years I tortured myself because I wanted to feel the heartbreak, because being present in grief allowed me to feel closer to them.

When it becomes easier, are we forgetting? Are we disrespecting their memory, for at least being sad and feeling pained and grief stricken in some way confirms our love for the people who have gone?

One of my all-time favorite quotes is Time moves slowly but passes quickly, and how f**king torturously true is that!

This September I have seen my eldest daughter start high school, in my head she’s still 2. I applied for my son’s high school place, my middle daughter became a junior, and not only did my baby start pre-school but I also had to apply for her primary school place! I’m barely accepting of the fact she is going to preschool let alone very soon will become a full-time reception student when to me she is still a ‘babe in arms. My baby. The baby of the Harris Family.

I combine these milestones with one of grief as I think of the two little boys born thirteen years ago on the 4th and 5th of September. The two little boys that established the Harris Family. The two little boys that changed me forever, probably for the better! The two little boys that taught me how to be stronger than I ever thought I could be. The two little boys that taught me that, to love, will also mean to hurt more than you’d ever imagine possible. The two little boys that taught me the true and exact meaning of unconditional love…

I haven’t forgotten them and I never ever will, but it is OK to OK with loosing someone.

I was born on the 13th, and I think numbers have a funny representation in your life for various spiritual reasons. 13 years old they would have been this year and becoming a teenager is such a life changing moment in itself, for the parent to embark on a new challenging journey of parenting a hormonal teenager and for the child, to morph into a know it all, cheeky gobshite pushing boundaries and the limits of even the most patient of people as a daily occurrence!

So to the boys I miss so desperately. I love you, I still do, and I always will.

I will imagine the do I or don’t I shave the four hairs off my chin dilemma

I will imagine the school boy crush that you’d both have on the girl next door.

I will imagine the acne breakouts and the overkill of a deadly deodorant and aftershave concoction.

I will imagine the football obsession and the competitiveness between each of you.

I will imagine one being academic the other cheating on his homework.

I will imagine that one of you is constantly late and the other one is frustrated by the lateness, but still never leaving his twin brother behind… ever.

I will imagine one loving cars and being a petrol head and one being the ocean loving surf dude, but somehow you both manage to combine the two perfectly, spending quality twin time.

I will imagine the cheek, I will imagine the answering back and the hormonal angry outbursts of testosterone as puberty hits.

I will imagine life with you both in it ….for a short while.

I will imagine you as inseparable in life, as you were inseparable in passing.

One thing I know for sure, is that you both changed my life forever and you taught me that everything in life is temporary!

Yoga-tastic….. Who even am I?

I’ve been regularly ‘working out’ for a while now, and that still feels a little odd saying that in a sentence, given that I am ‘that girl’ that would arm wrestle for shot of tequila and then run home via the kebab house!

I’m still not particularly fond of this new activity, however I’m beginning to feel and see the benefits and I’m really enjoying the feeling of accomplishment after I’ve smashed it! It’s not quite euphoric yet, but it’s certainly releasing something (aswell as excess wind and wee) that’s got me wanting to repeat the torturous process the next day!

Well the daily HIIT activity seems to have taken its toll on my aging bod, and I have hurt myself! Being a little shy of forty and trying to shove my arse straight into Joe Wicks takes it toll!

Quick rephrase there, just to clarify that ‘INTO Joe Wicks’ ‘HIIT sessions’ and not literally shoving my arse into the actual real life human ‘Joe Wicks!’

I’m an ‘all or nothing’ kinda a girl so I went for it big time, high knees, jump squats, squat thrusts, and burpees – and tell me? Why are they called that? I’d love an explanation if someone could enlighten me? I have thought about this for some time and I believe it’s because you burp and pee a lot whilst trying to do these at high speed!

I’m working hard at getting toned and trim, but it’s not easy! So after I hurt myself I decided to look for a yoga version of Joe! I did find it…. on instagram @thestrengthtemple. Something I could do gently, while allowing myself to heal! Some free online DIY YouTube videos and some healthy tips and advice – you know what I’m on about right!?

Why yoga?? Well! I wanted to continue exercising while I’m resting my creaky bones and aching muscles from the high impact shit that Joe does, less ‘flaps on fire’ and more ‘carve your core’

The more I read about the benefits from doing yoga, I have to admit it had me wondering why I didn’t start this years ago! You know, when my knees didn’t crack when going to sit down on the toilet.

I really ‘need‘ some in-tuned breathing in my life, being a mum of four I spend a lot of my time panting and breathing very loudly or hyperventilating as I watch a child narrowly dodge a collision with a bus on a balance bike because she’s throwing a wobbler over wearing the wrong type of itchy knickers!

I really ‘need‘ a solitary 20 minutes to regain mental clarity…. just imagine 20 minutes alone! With me, myself and I. Just to, to just…. just to be …. ME!

Who even am I!? …. I find women and mothers often spend so long dedicating their lives to other people and their children that they loose themselves along the way!

I want to be strong, I’ve always wanted to be strong! I’ve lusted after women with girl muscles …. I want to be able to do 20 chin ups, which to be fair I could do before I got fat, and I really want to have an ass so strong I could crack walnuts between my butt cheeks!! Now that’s gonna take a shit load of squats!

I want to be toned and most of all I want to turn my ‘play doh’ belly into a washboard…

Well that’s the dream… the reality would be to be a size 10 and not have my joints hurt!

So working with the latter I’m wishing I spent more time joining in with Mr Motivator and not bunking PE at school just to go for sneaky spliff to keep in with the ‘IT‘ crowd!

This recent research and enlightening insight into yoga has got me really excited. Yet again in traditional ‘Kelly’ style, my ‘all or nothing’ attitude is in full swing and I switch on the Amazon Fire Stick and scroll through various yoga-mentaries obviously skipping all the beginner ones, because clearly I can Cat, Cow and Pigeon as good as the 10yr experienced, slender and toned, six packed woman demonstrating it! I fast forward to a position I thought would challenge me a little …

It didn’t go so well.

I head butted my own knees, fell on the floor and I’m pretty sure I wet myself. I am so glad I do this sort of dumb shit at home, rewinding the yoga-mentary right back to the beginning and starting there ….just like all the normal people do. Who knew you could actually sweat by DOING YOGA!

Anyhow, while I work out ways to keep my underboob dry I’ll be sure to update you on my firefly and king pigeon pose!

Book review of ‘How to Keep Safe’…

Has your child ever feared fire, vast amounts of water, heights?

If they were subjected to any of the above, would they know what to do?  I mean, if Little Billy accidentally started a fire messing around with grampys cigar lighter, what would he do??

If Mini Susan becomes a ‘Lazy Susan’ and got her head in a spin and went and got herself lost, what would she do?

You see, I have a child that does exactly this … she’s the type of child that wander’s off while your having your melons sized up. Only to be found making friends with the mannequin in the shop window. Having been discovered by the security guard that was alerted of a missing child in the lingerie aisle. Your heart is pounding through the walls of your chest and a lump the size of a tennis ball is in your throat, making it difficult to breath or speak as the thoughts of your missing child run through your mind on a horrific flip reel.

It’s a fear we mentally don’t visit because the reality is too terrifying.

There are so many scenarios our children come up against daily that could put them in danger, and it’s our job as their ‘safe keepers’ to keep them safe! The best way to do this is to educate them. Helping to prevent fear and panic but instilling the necessary skills and tools they can use if ever they are faced with danger or get their spongey selves into a tricky pickle of a situation.

So; I’ve been reading the book ‘How to Keep Safe’  by Jo Fitzgerald with my children. She is the founder of Tiny Sponges Ltd and is an early years teacher, in particular she teaches wellbeing and resilience skills to children between the ages of 4-9. The book she has wrote is called ‘How to Keep Safe…. In a sometimes scary world’ and is aimed at this age group. Jo has successfully self-published this book and most importantly it has been launched by ‘Waterstones’.

It’s a thought  provoking book with simple illustrations that encourages conversation while enjoying reading time.

I liked the way the significant words are capitilised to highlight their emphasis around that specific sentence, and I especially like the parent conversation prompts at the back of the book. These really help you to open up those conversations and chat openly with your child getting those discussions bubbling.

This book is a parent and child guide to help young children deal with potentially worrying and dangerous situations.

As parents we think that we can protect our children from anything, We want THAT ‘cape’!

BUT the sad fact is, we can’t!

These ‘Tiny Sponges’ grow, and as they get older the less control we have over where they go and the friends they keep. So fully immerse those sponges and hydrate the mind from an early age with the fundamental basics of knowing about

The WHAT’s! The WHY’s! The WHEN’s! and of course…..The PLAN!

In the words of Jo Fitzgerald. ‘The chances are it will never happen, NEVER’.

BUT…

IF IT DOES … you’ll know what to do.

For £10.99 you’ll find Jo’s Book here….

Find Tiny Sponges Website here and soak up her knowledge.

This link takes you to page where you can view informative videos including, Jo, herself introducing her book, videos about getting lost, house fires, and terrorist attacks. You can even sign up for a useful eBook for FREE!!!

Thanks for reading ….

Just That Girl…. Kelly xoxo