Friday, 30 March 2012

Wotsit's views on parenting skills

Collected Wotsit early yesterday so we could watch Pickle's Easter Service together.  Loved the conversation we had on the way:

Wotsit:  I hope they do Away in a Manger
Me:  Unlikely darling, they tend to only sing that at Christmas.  

Wotsit:  Will Baby Jesus be there?
Me:  No sweetheart.  Christmas is when people celebrate Jesus being born.  It's coming up to Easter which is when people remember about Jesus's death.

Wotist:  I'm not going to die Mummy.
Me:  Everyone dies sometime darling.  Not usually until they are quite old though.

Wotist:  Beckly's old Mummy (Becky's 20!).
Me:  Laughter

Wotsit:  She's definitely old mummy, she's older than you.
Me:  Why do you think she's older than me darling?
Wotsit:  Because she's better at looking after me. (Ouch.)

Me:  Why's that Wotsit?
Wotsit:  Because she lets me do whatever I want!!!  (That's not strictly true).

Wotsit's last day at nursery today.  Becky and I haven't been able to look at each other all week for fear of crying.  I'll be taking the tissues with me to collect him later.  But I'm pretty sure there'll be laughter on the way home...

In Pickle's own words

Goodbye (proper) work.

Well it certainly was an emotional week but maybe not quite as tearful as I thought.  Thursday night was lovely and managed to get through Friday without falling apart.

My bossfriend did a fabulous leaving presentation and even managed to shed a tear himself.  He'd managed to find my graduate application form from 1996!  I'm not sure how, on the basis of that form, I even managed to get an interview. (The person I admired most...  Nelson Mandela.  My biggest achievement...  saving up to go to Australia.  Example of influencing people... during my teacher training degree (which I dropped out of) I often had to influence the children to do what I wanted to them to!).  He also read out snippets of my performance reviews from years gone by.  They were lovely to hear and at the time I believed I was doing a great job.  Not sure when that feeling stopped - think probably when I had the boys and I couldn't give the job my all and maybe when I started working with people who were a lot cleverer than me!  I had some beautiful gifts and the whole thing was topped off by a delivery from the Milk Tray man (aka one of my team (very handsome Portugese boy/man) in a black polo neck jumper!)  I held it together throughout and only lost it a couple of times later in the day.  Hardest of all was saying goodbye to those people I probably won't see again.

Whilst I'm pretty sure I should be measuring my success over 16 years based on customer retention or profitability.  I hope what I achieved was to make a difference to some of the people I've worked with in the same way that they have done for me. 

To top it all off I went to the opera and intermittently fell asleep!

Goodbye (proper) work.  Goodbye salary!


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Let the tears begin...

The week ahead will be my last week at work after nearly 16 years there (with a few maternity leaves in between).  The week after that we're moving further south.

Up until last week I was still convinced that this was the right thing for me; for us.  And now I'm starting to wonder.  To be honest, I think leaving this job and spending more time with the boys whilst doing some freelance work from home is the right thing for us (if we can afford the mortgage!).  But I will really miss the people.  Not my good friends; those I'll stay in touch with both virtually and really.  But there a lot of people who mean more to me than they realise - individually and collectively.  And I'll miss them.  And I'll miss the challenge of my job too (some days).

I think by Friday, I'll be a complete mess (and not just because of the cocktails I think it's highly likely I'll consume on Thursday night).  I've wobbled 3 times already in the last 2 days.

Wobble 1:
A colleague in the department left on Friday - early retirement.  He walked the floor with a hug, kiss or handshake and kind word for everyone (how I wish I could do that).  He sat at my desk and we talked about what was in store for both of us.  We talked about our upcoming house move until I could talk no more.

Wobble 2:
Husband's family here for the weekend.  As my sister-in-law was leaving yesterday, she said goodbye to the house.  And I wobbled again.   This house and all that has gone on it means the world to me.  I know it's the people and not the house but it's been a happy home (even when it has been sad) and it is the last place that Monkey was.  And however much I tell myself that he is not here; that he is with me, stuck in my heart forever.  A small part of me feels that I am leaving him behind.  I have not yet written down all my memories  like I said I would.  The memories that I can feel when I am here as I wander around the house.  And I'm running out of time (although blogging is proving a handy distraction from packing).

Wobble 3:
This morning my mother-in-law told me that when she collected Pickle from school on Friday, she stopped at the church.  To be honest, it didn't occur to me that she'd go there which is pretty rubbish of me really.  She said she thought that I was being very brave and tried to hug me.  I mumbled through my tears that 'he's not there' and pretty much ran away to sniff out and squeeze a child.

I knew that leaving work and moving away from the area a week later was going to be tough.  And I know we are doing it for the right reasons.  But boy, I'm packing the mascara tonight as I think wearing any this week may be reasonably pointless.

Wish me luck.  

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


I have thought about writing this post many times. 

I don't think it's my fault that Monkey died.  Not really.  Hindsight's a wonderful thing and maybe I could have prevented it but you don't live your life like that do you?  It doesn't stop me feeling guilty though, about so many things.

Guilty that we didn't persist in asking for a sleep system which might have meant you'd have been better positioned the night you died; you might not have rolled over.  Guilty that you didn't have a breathable pillow - that it didn't even occur to us that you might need one.  Guilty that I put you to bed that night and left you when I knew you were uncomfortable.  Guilty that your monitor wasn't near to me.  That I left you in the house that night for 5 minutes - your dad was there in the garage - and went to look at a house in the village.  That I didn't check on you sooner.  Guilty that I once read a post from a Mum whose severely disabled child had died and wondered if that might not be easier in the long run.  Guilty that I didn't pay you more attention when you were here.

When I first saw the bereavement counseller, she asked me how I felt.  "Guilty" I said.  "Perfectly normal" she replied "as a Mum it's your job to look after your children; to keep them alive".  I'm not sure it made me feel better but I was very grateful to Judith for her straight talking and for letting me know it was okay to feel guilty.

Rationally, I don't blame myself.  We don't even know for certain if that's why you died.  I know that had I had a monitor with me, I probably wouldn't have heard anything which would have made me come in to you (you made lots of noises).  Perhaps that would have been worse.  You were often uncomfortable.  Waiting until you were comfortable could have meant not leaving you at all. Popping out the house made no difference to when I came to see you and your dad was close by. The other things?  I think they are human nature - it was hard to play with you all of the time and I definitely didn't want you to die. It was just sometimes hard being your Mum.

I loved you Monkey, more than anything.  And I'm sorry.  I tried my very best.

Skyping Heaven

"Mummy, can we Skype Grandma please?" We try Grandma, she's not there. "Can we Skype Granny S?" She's not there either. "Mummy can we Skype heaven and talk to Alex." Now there's an idea...