Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Humming Holidays

It's beginning to be a struggle to think up titles for these blogs. Can anyone tell?

Anway, the school holidays have been good so far. It hasn't been as difficult as usual to find a balance between not doing enough and doing too much - thanks to Miss Puppy Dog. I don't like to leave her for more than three hours, so the days have naturally become more measured. So, for example, this morning we went for a long walk, then this afternoon I felt quite justified in taking the kids swimming and leaving her at home alone.

I still leave her in her crate when we go out - she has plenty of space in there, and is safe and happy. She is probably more comfortable than any of us - I bought her a special mattress which was supposed to be for dogs recovering from operations - made from foam that adjusts to the pressure of the dog or something - it was just so soft that I couldn't resist it. I was telling my friend, who has a dog, about the mattress and she said I should just get a cheap one next time. 'Why would I need another?' I wondered. She found this hugely amusing - apparently dogs constantly need new mattresses, furry bed things and so on. Well, who would have guessed?

Took the puppy to training class tonight for the first time, and I was very proud of her. She did most of what was expected - she is much better behaved when she is out than she is at home. I mostly wanted to learn how to stop her pulling on the lead, and I made some headway, so I am pleased with that. The key was to give her lots of treats - she is very food orientated and would do anything for a titbit. So I will remember that at home, and practice lots.

I have been feeling a lot better in myself - more relaxed. I knew I would, without the pressure of the school run and trying to keep up with all the other mothers. But also I am feeling more confident. I had a kind of epiphany the other day (I have no idea if that is the correct term as I have no dictionary to hand). I have always carried around such a burden of worry, and kind of guilt and shame, all rooted in my awful childhood. And although I have known for a long time that it was irrational I could never shift it, or not for long.

But having had a family of my own for more than ten years now, I have been healing gradually. It feels so good to love and to be loved. I am still insecure - but I have so many reasons not to be now. For example, I asked my eldest the other day whether she loved me - I know it is not a 'Proper' parenting sort of question and I can't remember what was in my head at the time, but her answer was so perfect I will never need to ask her or anybody else again. 'Of course, Mummy,' she said. 'Who couldn't?'

Anyway, about a week ago I felt my 'burden' lifting - this was the epiphany I just wrote about. There was not exactly a moment when it happened, just a realisation that I have no need for guilt or shame - these are just a hangover from childhood and can therefore be dismissed now. I think this it is linked to my new family too - as the mother of a ten year old I can see that anything she does or feels or thinks is innocent, and that she could never do anything that I could not forgive. If something went wrong in her life I would never blame her, I would just try to make it better.

So, my ten year old self is just the same, or was - I was a child too. It is difficult to explain myself here - I am not talking about any specific event that happened when I was ten - but what I think I mean is that my own 'inner child' which was never nurtured, grew up damaged. Which affected my whole life beyond belief. And now it is finally healing, through my own children and the love I feel for them, which I have extrapolated to apply to me as I was when I was young. I mean, if I had been loved, I would have been whole, and it is not too late for that to happen now.

Recently I have begun to forgive myself for having been mentally ill too. Yes, I made mistakes, I smoked cannabis, I was flighty and couldn't settle - but I could have done a lot of worse things. Really, I did amazingly well just to survive all that happened to me. The illness was just my mind's way of reacting to some really bad circumstances - things I couldn't cope with, that nobody could have coped with, that my mind therefore just took flight from.

As an adult I have often felt inferior because I have been mentally ill in the past, but now I feel differently. Again, I wouldn't judge anybody else because they had been in a mental hospital. I might be interested in their experience, but I wouldn't condemn them for it. So I am not going to condemn myself - what happened has gone, I am now in a good place, and it is time to feel proud of myself for surviving and to move on.

By the by - I went to visit the GP the other day for a very unglamourous condition - corns, if you must know. I went into his office and the poor man looked really weary. It was about half five, so I suppose he had nearly finished for the day, and he seemed as though he had really had enough and was absolutely worn out. I felt sorry for him. And I thought - actually, has he got a better life than me?

I have always envied GPs - to be together enough to do a job like that has always seemed to me to be an amazing feat. I mostly envy their confidence and the respect that their position commands. But actually, I have a lot more freedom, day to day (thanks to my lovely husband). That GP looked as though he had been pulled through the mill. The poor man has another twenty years or so to work (maybe less, I have no idea how old he actually is). My heart really went out to him and I had a revelation - I realised that I don't envy all that responsibility any more, even if it does come with a lot of respect from others. It is certainly not the career for me, and although I have often jokingly (but with a more than a germ of truth) said that I would like all my children to be doctors when they grow up, suddenly I am not so sure.

I am going to respect myself for what I do from now on, and hope that what I do (write) continues to improve and grow. I was going to write 'exponentially' after 'grow' then, but I would have to find a dictionary to look that one up, and it is really too late now. Anyway, even if it were to prove to be the correct term it sounds a bit pretentious.

Ciao for now. I hope you are all thriving and enjoying life as I am just now. X.

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