Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today is 'If Only You Knew' Day

Out from now, in all good bookstores and on Amazon and from Poolbeg.
Read, enjoy, be nice.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Let's go round again

Well that time of year has come again when, despite my best efforts, I have to put my hands up and admit I need a little help. So I'm back on anti-depressants.
It wasn't an easy decision... well, I say that, in the end it was an easy decision. I had started to feel so low, and so anxious and the scary thoughts were starting to nudge their way back in. But I had resisted it for a while, thinking if I can get through this week, I'll be fine. Or just this month, I'll be grand. Or if I can get this book launch out of the way, things are bound to calm down. But the truth was, I was reaching the stage where I was looking "forward" to the book launch with more fear than excitement. The thought of going to Dublin, speaking to people, being out of my comfort zone was just too much.
I wanted to run away.
And then I got sick - all achey and fluey and I'm pretty sure it was a result of the stress I was putting myself under. So I slept, for about 40 straight hours and still felt anxious and horrible and I knew it was time.
Having been on antidepressants for the lion share of the last 9 years, I had thought I had gotten over the feeling of being somewhat broken or wrong by admitting a need for help. But I'll admit in the last six months, when I wasn't on antidepressants, I had felt a sense of relief or pride to be able to say "nope, not taking them at the moment".
I was a pretty fecking miserable cow though, with an exceptionally short temper and an increased propensity for panic attacks.

I feel I've made the right decision now. Only talking it through with my lovely doctor did I realise just how depressed I have become again - how how I'm feeling is not right. I have realised I have pushed so many people away over the last year because depression has made me feel not worthy. (Not to be said in Wayne's World type voice). I fear some friendships are unrepairable and that is something I will have to come to terms with.

I went to bed last night and my mind slipped back to a passage I had written in Rainy Days and Tuesdays, when Grace writes about how she has pushed people away when all she has really wanted to do is pull them close, and hold onto them and tell them how much she loves them. It is ironic, five years after I wrote that book, I'm feeling kind of the same.

But like Grace, I've got help. I'll get better. Please God, I'll start to enjoy life a bit more. And as for today, I'm going to take the girl to Jo Jingles and revel in her loveliness and then I'm going to sing my heart out with Encore Contemporary Choir and when I get home later, I'll pop my little white tablet and hopefully the darkness will lift a little.

A few weeks ago I had my tarot cards and angel cards read by a very lovely woman. She looked at me and said immediately "You don't need to go into the darkness". No, I don't. And I won't.
She added "When the sun shines in your world, wow, it shines bright!".

And she is right. So I'm letting the sun in a little. And I'm going to enjoy life, because there is so much to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Random conversations with the girl

C: Can we go to granny's? My want to see granny.
Me: No, honey, granny is sick today.
C: Ach, why? (standard response to most things these days... complete with Ach first).
Me: She has a wee bug in her tummy.
C: Ach why she have a wee bug in her tummy?
Me: She just does. But she's getting better.
C: Why she have a wee bug? Where did she get a wee bug?"
M: She just did pet.

C wanders off a little confused and comes back later.
"Mammy, why does granny have a wee caterpillar in her tummy?"

Friday, September 09, 2011

Growing up too fast

So, the deed is done. My son was deposited back to school, shoes polished and hair cut into a neat and respectable style. His new, slightly too big, uniform was pressed to perfection and his schoolbag was stocked with new HB pencils, a collection of sharpeners and rubbers and some brand new colouring pencils.

He was excited to go back. He jumped awake at some time around 6.30am and declared, with a punch of his hand in the air, that “Yes! It’s a school day”. I spent the following two hours trying to convince him that we had plenty of time and no, there was no need to leave just yet.

He did hold my hand a little tighter as we walked through the school gates but he had no sooner set sights on his group of friends than I was dropped like a cold snotter and left to walk back through the gates to the car alone.

I’ll admit it. I felt a little emotionl. Actually I felt a lot emotional. Even though this was the fifth time I had left him at the school gates, surviving the emotional upheaval of nursery school and everything after there was still a part of me which realised we had reached another milestone.

He’s in P4 - officially out of the infants section of the school and officially one step closer to being one of the proper big boys. He’s put aside a lot of his childhood things already. His toys, the bits of plastic he couldn’t live without for years, are lying in their drawers replaced by a Nintendo DS and a football in the garden.

His spaceship themed bedroom - which we considered to be his big boy room - has been repainted in red and white, in honour of both his beloved Liverpool and his beloved Derry City.

He rolls his eyes when his baby sister wants to watch CBeebies, changing the channel to Sky Sports News at every opportunity. He no longer needs mammy to read him a bedtime story and wriggles about in an embarrassed fashion when I remind him of all the nights sat on the rocking chair reading ‘Bunny My Honey’ or ‘Guess How Much I Love You?’.

He turns scarlet with embarrassment when I remind him of the songs I sang to him as a young child and when his sister and I launch into a chorus of ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’ he declares it dumb.

He’s most certainly not my baby boy any more. When he looks at me I see a young man stare back at me. His baby features are all gone. His face is thinner, his features growing more manly day by day.

His gapped tooth smile - a mix of tiny baby teeth and adult teeth which seem too big for his head, smile back at me. There’s not a hope of getting him to wear any clothes which are not football related and when he goes for a haircut he demands wax and wants to style it like a footballers.

I still remember when his hairstyle could only be described as “ frizzy curls” and when his baby face would grin up and me and no matter what I did, or said, or sang I was always the coolest mammy in the world.

Time, I feel, is just passing too fast. So when I dropped him off and school, and skulked back to the car - my hand still warm from where he had held on - I felt myself choke up with emotion and had to fight the urge to ugly cry right there and then amid the hoardes of other parents dropping their wee ones back off for the first day of term.

Of course I know that he will always be my baby - and that is especially true of a Derry son and a Derry mammy. We’ll always have that link - but there are times when I wish I could press the pause button for just a bit. Or even the rewind button to relive those moments I wished away when he was smaller.

I’m tending to take things at a slower pace with his sister. I’m tending to savour the moments more and not crave the milestones. She still, much to the horror of my health visitor and many right thinking yummy mummies has a dummy when she is tired or unwell. She still drinks her bottle of milk at bedtime. The potty training is coming along well, but part of me looks at the nappies with a certain (sick) affection and feels not ready to let go of that particular vestige of parenthood.

I’m already mentally counting down in my head to next September when I’ll hold her hand and walk her through the gates to nursery school. There is a fair chance they will need to sedate me on that day.

A friend very wisely said to me last week that while childbirth is agonising, it’s nothing compared to the pain of letting your children grow up and do their own thing independent of you. It’s a curious feeling - pride at how far they’ve come, overwhelming love, of course, and an almost uncontrollable urge to pull them back to you and hold their hands for ever.

Aged about 2

First day at Primary One, aged 4

Summer 2011, Aged 7 and a half.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Did you miss me?

It's been manic - like never before manic. The rewrites are done - the book is being typeset as we speak. Only one further step - proofreading - stands between me and publication in just over three weeks time.
It is all go.
So I'm sorry if I have not been around - but seriously, I've not even been there for my own children and blogging is not quite as top of the list of priorties as that.

Well, what can I say about the last few months... to sum them up in short phrases...

potty training
more editing
a bit more editing
realising there was more to be done
stopping the celebrating
more editing
shopping ( a little)
reading (not as much as I would like)
eating (have put on lbs in editing weight).

But I'm back... and ready to launch myself on the world again.
Did you miss me?
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