Category Archives: Families

You Never Know

You don’t, ever.

Things and people you thought of as “forever” can disappear in the blink of an eye, often leaving a wake of hurt and devastation, whilst some quiet, unassuming folk can offer a strong, tender pair of arms to help and shelter you just when you need it most.

The older I get the more I seem to hear myself say, “But I don’t understand,” feeling both foolish and childish simultaneously.

Life is just too short, too precious, to spread so much hurt and annoyance.

I don’t understand.

So what do you do? What can I do?

I carry on. I hurt, feel sad, can’t be assed to do stuff, but I keep carrying on. The alternative is grim.

I start, very slowly, with something or someone in my life who warms my heart, and remember why it is good to be alive, even in the crappy times.

Time Saving….

For what?..

I was cleaning my dishwasher earlier, remembering all the expert tips I have read on how to have the “Perfect” home and, funnily enough, bitching away as I was doing it. I reckon it took me as long to clean this bloody machine as it would have taken to wash the rotten dishes for the last week.

Anyway, it got me thinking. There are so many tips and tricks everywhere on how to save time that I got to wondering as to what we all do with this time.

Can you actually “save time”?  Doesn’t it just pass anyway? You can’t put it in a box and take it out later when you want it back again. It’s like my Weight Watchers Pro-Points; you can’t carry them over to the next day!

So make the most of it.

I prefer to take the same attitude to my time as I do with my money……spend it; spend it laughing with friends and family, reading great books, listening to heart-lifting music, watching the little birds and their antics in my back garden.

Time spent happily is time spent well.

Our Children

I hadn’t intended to do another blog tonight, but I have just watched one of those short films on FaceBook that made me think about the subject matter of my earlier blogs.

In the film a child is complaining( some might say whining) at her mum. The mother attempts to still the child and this resonated with me.

Is this when we start teaching our children about negativity? Is this when we start to instill the “glass half empty” mentality?

“Don’t go out in the rain, you’ll get wet.”

“Don’t speak out, people may be listening.”

Don’t, don’t, don’t!

Well then, they won’t, won’t, won’t.

They won’t try in case they fail, they won’t laugh in case they offend, they won’t ask for help for fear of anger.

Children are sponges for everything around them; their environment, their family and their friends are key in influencing their outlook on life.

Why not break the chain of negative reactions in a child’s life somewhere?

Show the children you know the good in life, the positive in life and invest in the healthy mental attitudes of tomorrows adults.

Would You Believe It?

The news is full of stories illustrating “mans inhumanity to man”, but rarely do we get to hear about those moments of inspiration that so perfectly show what the power of many can do.

Last week approximately one hundred passers-by rushed to the aid of a cyclist trapped under a double-decker bus in Walthamstow, London. Together, they lifted the bus enough to allow the injured man to be pulled clear. Their behaviour flies in the face of the theorists that say, when we become part of a crowd we are slow to react, electing to stand back and wait for “someone else” to take charge.

I doubt anyone there stopped to check out the person on either side of them, to assess whether they would ask them round to theirs for tea on Sunday; they just took a place beside them and, together, their joint strength and will moved, not mountains on this occasion, but a huge, heavy bus and for the benefit of one.

This happened three days ago and I have been wishing ever since we could work like this on a larger scale, politically and socially.

Well, to-day it is wonderful to find that we have.

The news of the breakthrough in the treatment of cancer is nothing short of spectacular. This result is not only the amazing work of the scientists involved, but of every charity collector in the street, every mini-marathon runner, every patient that has taken part in clinical trials and every man, woman and child that has donated time, money and energy to find and fund a cure.

Our own future health is a mixture of good diet, reasonable exercise, genetics and luck, but the vast majority of people I know have invested, in some shape or form, in this research, without waiting to see if they are going to benefit from it personally and without wishing to monitor those that may benefit from it.

We have the power to do wonderful things when we focus on the hope that unites us instead of the despair that divides.

Just Doing What Comes Naturally

How many times have you heard this? Does it usually spring up at the very moment someone is about to attempt to justify the unjustifiable?

Mmm, me too.

“It’s only natural,” is as bogus an excuse for bad behaviour as it is in the labelling of a lot of snacks and convenience foods. In a civilised society we are supposed to temper our “natural” inclinations, to take into account the feelings of others and the impact of our actions on our environment.

Pity then our children trying to make sense of a world where the media makes much of those that shout loudest, stomp on the weak and celebrate/revere the rude, crude and thoroughly undignified.

I feel bombarded by media showing the monetary success this kind of celebrity can bring and, even at my age, have problems processing the quantity and quality of the information, so how on earth can we expect young people to make sense of it, or to be able to filter the myth from the reality.

Unfortunately, and very sadly for all of us, when they try to emulate their modern-day role-models aren’t they then,

“Just doing what comes naturally?”

Be Your Own Best Friend

Throughout my various blogs I have referred many times to the quote,

“Love thy neighbour, as you would love thyself.”

I have also gone over how I did not “get it”, for years, that you need to start with the second part of this before you can understand loving others.

The veracity and truth of this comes back to me so many times, that, each time it does I feel I get a better understanding than that first light-bulb moment.

Friends are wonderful and I am very blessed with mine, but until you learn to listen and respect your inner voice, your inner self, you will continue looking for answers to your problems from others. And no-one can fulfill that role, can know what is truly best for you, better than you.

The act of talking an issue over with a friend is great; quite often allowing you to hear the solution and the sense of it. It can provide a clarity and a comfort that comes with sharing and their loving support.But, ultimately, the answer was within your grasp all the time.

In being your own best friend you need the honesty that comes with this kind of relationship and also the same generosity of spirit you would show to that friend when needed.

Finding peace in being alone should not isolate you, but provide you with a strength of self-awareness and allows you to be a better friend to those you love.

Justice For Children

I have just finished reading an article from The Independent regarding the reduction in sentence of the convicted abuser of a six year old boy, from six years to thirty-eight months. To be honest I had to read it twice as I thought I must be making a mistake; but no!

These two judges reckon this SIX YEAR OLD BOY was “making a precocious choice of his sexuality” and therefore the abuser’s behaviour could NOT be considered, in legal terms, “gravely outrageous”.

WTF!

Apologies to James Rush from The Independent for lifting so much straight from his article, but I am still going back and re-reading it to make sure.

Oh, and another brilliant nugget from these two “Judges” (I’ll use that term for the moment); one of them has claimed in a radio interview that, prior to the childs molestation by the convicted abuser, the boy had been subjected to,

“the initiation by his father into the worst of worlds, leading him to deprivation.” ( From interview with Judge Horacio Piombo )

Is this how far we have come in protecting our children from sexual predators? Are we as a society going to allow an adult to claim that a child is in any way to blame for the abuse they have suffered?

This case took place in Argentina, but as we all know, this lack of justice for children is a world-wide issue and no country can wag its judgemental finger at another.

In an era where we examine whether children are fatter than they should be, how they have so much more “stuff” than is good for them, it would surely behold us to make sure they are safer than ever before from the vile attentions of perverts and, if the worst does happen to them, that they are heard and then shielded from further harm.

Activist groups in Argentina are rightly outraged and are calling for the removal of both judges from the bench.

However, we desperately need to understand how any interpretation of law anywhere allows a six year old child to be portrayed as the villain.

My Mother

My “issues” with my mother were brought sharply into focus when I found myself watching a particular episode of “The Sopranos”, the one where Tony attempts to suffocate his mother, Livia. Before I knew it I was cheering him on, feeling all of his pent-up hurt, frustration, anger and bitterness as it shut out everything else his conscious self had told him for years; how he should love, care for and respect this woman who had brought him into the world, indeed, given him life.

I looked at “Livia’s” face and saw my own mother.

But instead of feeling shame at my true feelings towards her I acknowledged them and the long path that led to this conclusion. I do not love my mother. I can’t.

Shame has been replaced now with acceptance, albeit an acceptance tinged with real sadness.

Mothers do not give their children life, nature does that. Our children’s’ lives are not our property, not ours to trash as and when the stress of life gets too much. We are merely the guardians, the caretakers (literally) until they can safely take control of their own destinies.

I am so far from being the perfect mother, or even the mother I had hoped to be, but perfection is not what being a parent is about.

For me it’s about loving my kids through all those bad times as well as good, with that same ferocious and undying love I felt the first moment I saw each of them. It’s about putting your arms around them when you really feel like kicking their ass.

And, most importantly, it is about those children growing up knowing, without question at all, that they are loved and lovable.

The reasons for where I am to-day in my relationship with my mother are many and painful, from my parents eventual divorce after years of hell for all involved, to her now obvious mental health problems, but in the end all of this is irrelevant.

I at least understand it is not my fault! It’s just what it is and that is all.

I have no magic answer for how I progress this. It’s just a day at a time.

The Pro-Divorce Scenario

PIcture this please.

Father and daughter are sitting in the garden on a lovely sunny day. Daughter is pregnant with her first child and starts to discuss the recent departure of her mother for sunnier parts, never to return ( or so it was thought).

Daughter asks Father, “Dad, when did you know you had made a mistake marrying mum?”

Father pauses and then replies , “Well, about a fortnight after we married I think.”

Daughter is stunned and says, ” A fortnight? What happened? Why so soon?”

And so he continues, ” Well, she made my dinner one night and asked, as we finished, what I thought of it. So I said it was fine, but perhaps the potatoes could have done with being cooked a bit more.”

“And?” the daughter asks.

“And she didn’t speak to me for a fortnight. I remember thinking “God, I think I’ve fucked up here.”

Daughter continues, ” But Dad, if it was so bad so soon, why did you go on to have kids and inflict your unhappy relationship on us?”

“Oh, you know, nature takes over, things just happen,” he replied with resignation.

“Didn’t you ever think to divorce before we came along?” pressed the daughter.

Shocked, her Father replied, “Oh no! That wasn’t done! You couldn’t do that, no!” He seemed to shudder at the thought.

The daughter shuddered at the memories. I still do.