A few short weeks ago I treated myself: I purchased a brand spanking new pressure cooker.
I can happily tell you that it is dishwasher safe! That is, except for the rubber ring and the very clever detachable handle. I really like things that can go in the dishwasher as I am totally useless at washing up. I’m the one who misses bits. Even rather large bits. As the oldest in our household, I make the most of it and blame it on my aging eyes. And then, when there are things that can’t go in the dishwasher I encourage other household members to get involved. Scrub a pan. Lift a finger. That kind of thing.
So I got my shiny new pan and I started using it right away and as I did so I informed the household: detachable handle and rubber ring do not go into the dishwasher.
Last night, as usual, my husband went to bed before me.
I took my medicine, put the dishwasher on and shovelled washing into the washing machine. Then I headed to bed. Woke my husband up to tell him some important fact or other. Don’t worry, he always falls asleep straight afterwards, as is one of his many talents. I brushed my teeth and then climbed into bed. Where I contemplated how to get to sleep and came up with the only answer I could think of: I stalked estate agents for a bit.
I woke up this morning. Bright and early. Because, of course, it’s a Sunday. I tried to curl up and get back to sleep. Then I lay there for a moment or two envying my out for the count husband. Finally, I admitted defeat and shuffled out of our bedroom.
Downstairs I pottered for a bit. Then hovered over a few other estate agents’ websites. After that I contemplated what to purchase on Amazon. Was thrown by the sheer volume of choice and so did a puzzle instead.
My husband rose and shone. Being less of a potterer than me, he headed straight to the dishwasher. He’s a get the job done kind of a guy.
I heard him shout, “Somebody’s put the rubber ring from your pressure cooker into the dishwasher!”
“What?” I shrieked.
Panic rose within me.
Then he carried the lid through. “They didn’t even dismantle it from the lid. Look!” I heard the disdain in his voice. I blinked and looked at the pot. Rubbed my head. Thought.
“It was me,” I whispered. “It was me.”
As it turns out: luckily I hadn’t actually remembered to switch the dishwasher on…
My husband dismantled the ring. Offered to make me breakfast. To reorganise my world. Then I heard his voice again, probing from the kitchen:
“Somebody’s put washing up liquid in the frying pan and just left it like that. On the cooker.”
I know exactly what that “Somebody” means.
It means: one of our teenagers has done this. I am not sure which one. But I am incredulous. I do not understand them. Why have they done this?
My mind races. I retrace my steps from last night. The dishwasher… A quick rub down of the tabletops… The washing up liquid… The pan… The water? The water? Nope. No water.
“I’m sorry. It was me.” I swallowed.
He looked at me. Kind face. Wide eyes. “You must have been tired, ” he said.
And I just thought, bloody hell, I’d better go and check out the state of the laundry room.
It is 2am! And there’s been a disaster! A calamity!
swallowed a Mr Man book been reading Mr Men books with my youngest students. Which 30, God no… 40 years on… seem rather more inappropriate. Though, just like me all those years ago, my students adore them.
But I digress.
It started off like this:
My husband abandoned me in the living room.
OK. OK. He left me watching TV on the sofa. Where I started to nod, then drift… And the next thing I knew, I shot, bolt upright, only to discover that I was splattered with my own dribble.
I staggered through the living room, into the kitchen and desperately tried to remember exactly which medicine I should take and in which order. And not to take any of those correct medicines twice. Or even thrice. And not to take anyone else’s medicines by mistake. After all these years on the planet, I am finally getting used to myself and my own funny ways. I staggered and I blinked and I filled a glass with water. But in the time between the glass moving from the tap to my lips, a suicidal fruit fly had nose-dived into my water and appeared to be drowning.
I blinked a lot more. Yes. It was definitely a fruit fly. So, I calmly emptied the glass, rinsed and repeated. This time, luckily, without the invasion.
I wrote a quick note for my son, said goodnight to a 20-something, fed the bewildered dog and pottered upstairs to the bathroom where I got into an argument with my own pubic hair. Don’t ask. It was all a bit icky.
Then I tried to find my bed in the dark.
I’ve eaten thousands and thousands of carrots in my lifetime. But they have done me absolutely no good. I have basically no night vision. Normally, I repeatedly switch my Fitbit on in an attempt to shine a light on the whereabouts of my bed (which helps somewhat, although I still stand on or walk into various items in the room, just less regularly. But that’s not so bad any more as my clever husband now wears earplugs to bed and so is rarely disturbed by my frequent shrieking/swearing/banging). But I had accidentally left my Fitbit charging in the car…
I clambered into bed and slapped around my bedside table in my nightly ‘alarm clock search’ routine. As usual, I knocked over the clock then picked it up again and pressed the snooze button down to see the time setting. Due to my acute night vision deficiency this is a repeated action. Without it, I can’t see the buttons or the changing numbers. I altered my wake up time and I wanted to double-check I’d got it right. I’m a double-check kind of person. The simple fact is that I don’t trust my own brain.
I pushed on the snooze button and the snooze button stayed pushed. As in, it didn’t pop back up.
I pushed and I pushed and then, in desperation I attempted several pulls, with varying techniques. I even put the actual bedside light on to help me with my situation. But to no avail. The pushed button remained disconcertingly pushed.
Would the light remain on?
Would the battery wear out?
Would the alarm go off or would it believe, that in that very moment, when it had intended to beep, that I could possibly have simultaneously hit its snooze button?
And if that should be the case, would it live in some kind of limbo? Convinced that my finger hovered over its button?
Black Friday over by just a mere two hours and I had managed to incapacitate my alarm clock.
I looked over at my Mr Fix-It. Sleeping soundly. I didn’t dare to wake him with my conundrum.
Especially as he’d reminded me, before he went to bed, that I had woken him up at some ungodly hour, excitedly showing him a few early Black Friday deals.
Will I wake on time in the morning?
Should I brave the minus temperatures in my nightshirt and rescue my Fitbit from the car?
Will I ever get back to sleep?
Such a misfortune! What a calamity! A bloody disaster!
I just caught sight of myself in the mirror.
I have herpes. Twice. That means I look like I’m doing a pretty good impression of the Joker.
My grey has finally rejected my hair dye completely and is stubbornly and proudly making a horrific appearance. As if that’s not bad enough, my thinning hair point blank refuses to be brushed into any even mildly orderly style. It can’t even decide if it wants to look greasy or dry. And I only just washed it.
WHOLE SHOPPING BAGS have attached themselves under my eyes and I look like I have hardly slept for a month. To be fair, I have been burning the candle at both ends somewhat, and suffering from only short bursts of sleep.
On the other hand, my skin looks as if it has been slept in for a whole week…
I’ve done the best I could with what I’m left with. I’ve attempted to yell, pull and drag my hair into submission. I’ve thrust my ever increasing girth into ‘nice clothes’. And I’ve slathered my face with that expensive cream my daughter bought me.
And I swore at the mirror!
Still, on the plus side, my husband still seems to approve.
Shhh! Don’t tell him he’s due a trip to the optician!
So I know that everybody has dreams.
But the one that I had last night, or should I really say, this morning was totally and utterly bizarre, to say the least.
Firstly, I think I was a man (I actually change gender continually in my dreams, I thought this was completely normal, until I casually dropped it into a conversation with my family and they gave me that mum-you-are-weird look) and I was running around with some kind of hectic, chaotic feeling (at this point I can still relate), I think I was either looking for someone or trying to rescue them, I’m not entirely sure now – it’s one of those hazy bits, there seemed to be a lot of adrenalin involved and a lot of rushing around various streets (some of which seemed remarkably similar to those that I had played in as a child) then suddenly, the man that I was looking for appeared, and you know, this is where I start to think this dream is particularly extraordinary, I think it was a James Bond actor. SERIOUSLY. But with a moustache. I can’t tell you which actual actor though, as in real life I suffer from an affliction called Facial Recognition Incompetence. And to be honest, I’m not convinced he normally has a moustache. Did any James Bond actor have a moustache? I digress…
So, Bond appeared (he wasn’t being Bond, he was just well, being himself, but from now on I will call him Bond anyway so that we know exactly who I am talking about), and some other person unexpectedly just happened to be beside me, he was apparently looking for Bond with me, I felt at this time he may have actually been helping me the whole time, but I just hadn’t noticed him before. Anyway: so we had Bond and we tried, wholeheartedly (and perhaps a little breathlessly) to usher him into a safe building nearby but then, just like that, he scooted off, at high speed, in an old sports car. Suddenly the man I was with, conjured a car out of thin air and we (I am aware that I was changing into a woman at this point) raced off in pursuit of Bond. But he was nowhere to be seen. We decided to separate and I got out of the car and explored the streets on foot.
I found myself in a hairdresser’s and there, sat upon the styling chair was Bond, gowned and waiting to have his haircut while reading a newspaper. Suddenly, I was the female hairdresser standing behind him but I didn’t feel like giving him a trim. Something was wrong with me and I made my excuses and scarpered out back, into another room.
Now to be honest, this is where things got really complicated. The man who had been helping me to search for Bond had reappeared and was now a doctor. I meanwhile, was trying to hide, somehow, between a white partition wall and a roller blind. It wasn’t working well as the other sides were open to the elements and in truth, the blind was swinging about in some hopeless, swishy swashy way. I realised I was actually in a hospital or maybe some kind of treatment room somewhere. And I was no longer a random person of alternating gender looking for Bond. I was a nurse, or maybe even a doctor and I was hiding from a patient.
Suddenly, a yelling mother pushed her child in on a hospital bed. She was yelling about me. And why I’d buggered off instead of doing the operation.
Finally, it was all clear. I knew what was really wrong with me. I really, really needed to poo. But I couldn’t. I was constipated.
The doctor was awesome. He knew it without me saying a word. He handed me a teeny tiny suppository and a slightly bigger folded bag to poop in. He wanted to test my stool sample, apparently.
Now get this:
There was no toilet.
And in the same room, behind a small partition wall was my patient waiting agitatedly for his/her operation.
So I just crouched down, inserted my medical wonder and waited for a sec. Sure enough, wonders were worked and things started to move.
At that point I noticed the prying eyes, peeking around the roller blind or just standing there, openly at the side. The mother had calmed down. She seemed to have some consideration for my predicament (though not enough not to observe).
I started to unfold my bag, only to discover, it was not a white plastic bag, but a white paper party hat. You know, like the ones that burst out of a cracker at Christmas, just lacking the bold colours. The situation was impossible, that hat had no chance of retaining my deposit.
To be fair, I did wave at the doctor to inform him of my tricky predicament, and concerned, he noticed his mistake and rushed off, into the adjoining hairdressing room to counter that mistake, but alas, what with crouching and gravity and medical wonders…
Weirdly, the prying eyes pried on, unabashedly throughout the sordid affair and then the doctor pushed past and handed me the only thing he could find, a bright yellow shopping bag.
Let’s just say, I bagged a very heavy load and handed the bag right back to him.
Then I went off towards my patient to perform whatever treatment was expected of me…
Birthday season is upon us again. My husband said to me this morning, at 00:01, as we were just dialling our daughter’s telephone number: “I can’t believe we are old enough to have a 22 year old daughter.”
I wish I could have answered that I don’t look old enough. Those were the days! But now, my middle age spread is, well, spreading. Fast! For a while, I’ve tried to convince myself that I would, one day, be a slip of a girl again. To be honest, for the last 21 years I’ve kept the dress I wore to my eldest daughter’s very first birthday party. I’m not just a hoarder. I did actually wear the dress. But the last couple of years, I had trouble waving about my arms and well just breathing. So I gave it to her last week. It was slightly too big. I may have stretched it… But I assured the slip of a girl that she would grow into it… One day.
So this is her 22nd Happy Birthday. I can tell you, some of them have been eventful. On one of them, we were singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and I was carrying the cake across the room to her, as I approached her to blow out her candles, she didn’t blow, she threw… Up. I’m not sure if it was the sight of all that carefully placed sugar or if it was just excitement. But the cake got tossed to the side and a bucket was grabbed. We videoed it and sent it to You’ve Been Framed. But they sent it right back again without giving us our £250. I was gutted to be honest. I laughed hysterically every time I played it back. But I guess it was far too graphic for public consumption on a family show.
On another birthday, we had the camcorder out again, my ex and I. He was standing there filming, as I ushered her into the room. We’d built up her present, a bike, and carefully covered it with sheets, so she could still unwrap it. Then presents and cards that had arrived in the post, were strategically placed around the big, exciting, surprise. We entered the room and my ex impulsively shouted, “Come and open your bike!!!!” And I almost killed him, right there, on the spot. Seriously. If you go and visit him, there is recorded evidence of it somewhere in his house…
From Birthday One, Joni loved a party. She loved the food, the dressing up, the food, the guests, the food, the games, the cake, being centre of attention and the presents. So the night before her Sweet Sixteenth she got really excited. She’d planned a massive party. Not only had she invited all of her friends, she’d also invited all of mine. We planned to barbeque on two barbeques simultaneously. The fridge was full of meat. I always make too much food because I am petrified of someone feeling hungry, so in actual fact, there was far too much meat for the masses of people she’d invited. Then, in the early hours of her 16th, she started to vomit. And vomit and vomit. In all fairness, she really did puke rings around herself. We did not film it. We cleaned rings and walls and carpets and changed bedsheets and disinfected buckets. And we mopped up tears. Then, from the exact moment politeness allowed, we starting telephoning each and every party guest to cancel. We did not know if she was infectious. We did not know if we were infectious. We did not know how long she would continue to be sick. These questions were answered promptly. As soon as all the calls were finished, she made a miraculous recovery. She was, what’s described in your medical encyclopedia as ‘right as rain’. Physically, that is. Mentally, she crumpled. Luckily, she had invited my friends. And some of them are fearless of bacteria. They are utterly convinced they will never get sick. Besides they know Joni. And they knew that she had recently been to Budapest, where she’d been so excited to be there, she’d thrown up all over her host’s carpet in the middle of her first night. We’d been chatting at the time on the phone. She’d wanted me to know that she’d arrived safely. That the exchange family were lovely. That everything was tickety-boo. Then suddenly she felt nauseous. The phone was chucked to one side, she leapt up and hurled. For several minutes, I listened helplessly to retching noises. She in Hungary, I in Germany. Together, yet so far apart. I couldn’t hold back her hair. I listened as someone else scrubbed up the mess and she cried and apologised. After many minutes, I found myself stuck with the conundrum: should I hang up the phone? Should I keep listening? Is this really supportive? Or is it just plain creepy? Would anyone ever remember I was still on the phone? Should I shout? Would kind words, after the fact, help anyone at all, anyway? Would I ever get any sleep? How long is long enough? Would my own British politeness mean, that I was never actually able to hang up the phone? Then I heard someone shuffling towards me. It was the hostess. Of course, being British, I apologised profoundly. Then they handed me to Joni. Who was tired and embarrassed, but apart from that, right back on track again.
Joni’s ability to empty her stomach at important life events has become a trademark. A party piece if you will. Exams – check. Birthdays – check. Presentations – check. Travelling – check. First dates – check. I have forwarned her that on her wedding day, there will be no make-up and no dress until all of the sickness is out of the way. Beauticians and lady’s maids will be poised for the last minute dash to slop slap on her face and tug her wedding dress over her head, in an attempt to get her to the town hall on time.
Today, I hope, will be an exception. She celebrated into her birthday with a few college friends, and after a little sleep and a lot of classes we’ll descend upon her and take her out to dinner. I, for one, am really looking forward to it.
To my first born: Happy Birthday! Continue to be the bright and shining star that you are. Live, love and be happy. ❤
When I started this blog I didn’t quite know what to expect. I guess that’s the same for everyone.
I guess, at first, I hoped that my family and perhaps a few friends would read it and like it. In the back of my mind, if I’m honest, I hoped that maybe a stranger or two might just read my posts and enjoy them. For me that felt like the ultimate success. I still remember the first ‘stranger’ commenting. I ran around the house shrieking, I was that excited.
Now I have over 1000 followers and I hardly know any of them personally. It’s a massive compliment.
But the hugest surprise of all is the new friendships that I’ve made. I can’t even begin to tell you how important you fellow bloggers have become to me. I think about you and your problems. You make me laugh out loud with your comments and your own posts. I learn from you. I rejoice at your achievements and feel sad when things go wrong in your lives.
Some of you have become Facebook buddies. Others like to email. A few of you have even sent me thoughtful gifts which have meant the world to me.
The blogosphere is a truly incredible world to be a part of. And I thank you all for every contribution.
One blogger who truly stood out for me was Dianne of Schmidleysscribblins. She regularly commented on my blog and I loved to read hers. She was smart and funny. Passionate about plants, politics and her family.
Sadly on the 24th of March, 2017 Dianne passed away.
I am filled with great sadness. She was a truly awesome, inspirational lady. And I for one, will miss her greatly.
Today would have been her 75th birthday. Her daughter has written a beautiful eulogy for her and posted it on Dianne’s blog here.
Dianne inspired me with her love of her garden. Finally, I managed to grow some kind of lily. It only bloomed for a couple of days, but it did bloom!!
This is for you Dianne, with love.
Phew. Back again.
I love this picture. For me it speaks a thousand words. Two of my girls and me. Caught in a moment of focus and affection.
These two sisters are amazing. I have never known two sisters who were so incredibly close. I remember once, going into the bathroom and finding them in the shower together. Both were yapping ten to the dozen. They had so much to tell one another that the noise of the flowing water was not permitted to intrude. I found that fascinating. They had shared a room for many years, they had attended the same schools, they had hung out with a lot of the same people, mostly they had shared the same hobbies. But still, they had so much to say to each other and felt so much urgency to say it, that they couldn’t bear to be separated.
Now, you might think that as they’re so incredibly close that their relationship is a pretty harmonious one. But there you would be wrong. They can argue just as passionately as they get along.
Take, for example, the time that Lori got so annoyed with her elder sibling that she gave her a shove, while she was standing on the steps of a bus. Joni lost her footing and fell out of the bus. I know. I was there. I saw it all. No matter what I said, Lori refused point blank to apologise.
I remember once, the girls’ choir teacher taking them off for a couple of days on a workshop. She was quite excited about taking those two sisters, who have such an amazing rapport with each other, off to sing in the countryside. She anticipated what effect their close relationship would have on the dynamics of the group. What she failed to anticipate was: what would happen if they fell out. I met her weeks later and she was still slightly dazed.
The truth of the matter is: that although the girls tend to be passionate about pretty much the same things, their characters couldn’t be more polar opposite.
When Lori was born I thought that I’d be able to bath both of the girls together. I couldn’t though. Lori hated the cold and Joni hated the heat. I had to throw my boat-shaped baby bath thermometer in the bin. Both girls were completely off the scale. Joni cried at ‘the correct temperature’ because it was far too hot and Lori cried at ‘the correct temperature’ because it was far too cold. It was like my own two bears story. Lori even balled her eyes out in the supermarket every time we veered near to the fridges.
Joni grew up dressed in pink. Wearing nail polish. And with a serious conviction that she was actually Snow White.
While Lori started the trend of wearing a t-shirt over a long-sleeved top and destroyed one action figure after another.
Bringing the two of them up has taught me a lot.
One of the things it has taught me is that compromise is not always such a good thing.
Laid back Joni has a leisurely pace. She meanders through life in her own good time. In fact, we actually call her our very own chill pill.
Intense Lori rushes on ahead. There is always something else to do. There is always something else to say. There is always something more to make of her day.
One such day both girls were on the bus together heading home from school. The bus pulled up at our stop and they both got off. Together. An argument erupted. Lori felt cold and wanted to rush home from school, at full speed and get on with things.
Joni, on the other hand, wanted to take her time, bask in the winter sun’s rays and float along the street towards home.
A compromise could not be found. Joni’s attempt at her fastest pace could not placate Lori’s need for speed and so after a few cross words, Lori stormed off ahead.
Joni was angry. Why couldn’t they just compromise? Meet in the middle? Lori could slow down her pace and Joni could hasten hers and they could walk home, as sisters, together!
Lori skedaddled and was about 100m ahead of her elder sister when behind her she heard the shrill screeching and then crumpling of metal, and the shattering of glass. She stopped and whirled around. A van had hit a car and now the van was on the path. Approximately 50m in front of her sister. Approximately 50m meters behind her…
She ran back, checked everyone was ok and then rushed on home.
It was at that very moment that I came around the corner in our car. I had picked up my two younger children and, we too, were almost home. I pulled over as I couldn’t easily get past the blockage in the road. My son, who’s always keen to see what’s going on, leapt out of the passenger seat before I could shout, “Hold your horses!!” and ran along the street to find out what had happened. I looked out of my side window and then it dawned on me: one of the people standing next to those contorted vehicles was my daughter Joni.
And then it hit me! Joni and Lori should be taking the same school bus home and Lori was nowhere to be seen…
I tried to leave my car, but it proved difficult. The road was in chaos. It had been sprayed with broken glass and vehicles were slowly attempting to make their way around the debris and the gathering crowd of bystanders. I swore at a lorry driver who attempted to reprimand me for getting in his way. Somehow, finally, I managed to park up on the side of the street, then I ran, screaming, towards a shocked Joni, “Where’s Lori? Where’s Lori?”
I dared not look under the vehicles…
Joni took a while to answer. She was in shock. She’d witnessed the whole accident. Lori had just been ahead of her… They’d had an argument… Lori wanted her to walk faster… If they had compromised they would have both been hit by the van which now sat on the pavement.
“But where’s Lori now?” I queried. I needed to see her for myself. To make quite sure. Quite sure she was intact and unharmed.
I quickly checked the distressed car driver then took my paler than usual eldest daughter back to the car and drove her home.
At home I discovered an unblemished but rather disappointed Lori.
Disappointed because she’d not been able to put her recently gained first aid certificate to good use. There had not even been a cut to bandage. She’d been forced to march home and start her homework instead!
As some of you already know I have four whole children. I’ve counted and double counted and it’s true – there really are four of them! It’s bizarre. I can’t always quite believe it myself. But there you are.
They entered the world like this:
When my then six year old son heard that his third sibling would be yet another girl he was so
pissed off disappointed that he said, “Bloody hell!”, crawled under the dining table and refused to come back out.
Bringing up four whole children is wild. Seriously.
Firstly, you spend a lot of time counting heads to make sure that you haven’t left one somewhere. Or added one accidentally. You learn, quite quickly, the importance of making sure that you haven’t double-counted the same head, because that leaves you with the false sense of security of having all of your children present and correct.
You swiftly learn, to think on your feet when your children well and truly drop you in it. You also develop the art of the quick getaway.
Saying sorry becomes second nature, so much so that you often say it as a precursor to an event, the moment you enter the room/shop/tourist attraction/bank/doctor’s office (delete as appropriate).
You find going out with adult friends difficult because you find yourself continually compelled to ask them: “Do you have your key?” And, “Are you sure you don’t need to go to the toilet?”
Finally having child free time with your partner, you ban talking about the kids and then stare into space until you both give in and start talking about the kids again.
You never, ever have any money in your purse. It’s like money has some kind of aversion to your purse. You regularly find yourself going into the butchers and the bakers only to find yourself penniless. Thus having to explain to the not-always-so-patient shop assistant that you, yet again, need to nip over to the hole in the wall to grab some cash.
You can never remember the name of the child standing in front of you. Especially when you are annoyed. So in the middle of a telling off you have to shout, “What’s your name again?” before dishing out the punishment.
Food vanishes. You shop and shop and shop. You cook and cook and cook. But every time you attempt to make yourself a quick snack or snatch a biscuit: there’s nothing left.
Your house is filled with germs. For two reasons. One is: you have lost the will to clean. And the other is: they bring home every conceivable type of germ from even the remotest part of the region and then they share it all around.
At some point you get the Norovirus. In your house. For three weeks solid. You lose your mind. Especially when your children admit they might just have spread it around again because they shared a sandwich.
You become an expert nit picker.
You also become a taxi driver, counsellor, mediator and pharmacist.
Seriously, visitors come to your house just to admire the array of medicines in your cupboard and to compliment you on your ‘tried and tested’ pharmaceutical knowledge (all the while kindly ignoring the clutter that surrounds you).
You laugh a lot. It would be true to say, not always at appropriate moments. But you develop a deep, belly laugh that suddenly booms out of you uncontrollably. Finally your children feel embarrassed. At your loudness. At your lack of restraint. They whisper, “Mum!!” with agitated voices.
But you know, from experience, that one day they will say, “One of the things I love most about you, Mum, is your huge laugh!”
And you’ll say, “I learned to laugh so much because of you.”
Love is a funny thing really. You don’t choose it. You don’t scan a vast array of heads and shout, “I’ll take that one.”
I just saw you in the street. You smiled and you had me.
I was putty in your hands. Just like that.
I had no idea if you were a good or a bad man. I didn’t know what your name was. I hadn’t even sniffed you. You were across the street, far too far away for me to get a whiff of your pheromones.
But somehow, you magnetically pulled me into staggering towards your smiling eyes and your big strong arms. It didn’t seem to bother you at all that I couldn’t hold my vodka.
It’s been almost 15 years and you have never given me reason to doubt you. Quite the opposite. You have only, over the years, given me reasons to love you more and more.
To be honest, I remained convinced that I am either extremely lucky or that one day, you’d wake up and think to yourself: what on earth am I doing with this crazy woman and her chaotic life? But each day you just kept on smiling at me with those beautiful eyes. In fact, you seemed to smile a little more the more chaotic I was. Even though, you yourself are really quite orderly.
I mean, I did spot that you’re a little odd too. After all you said things like: “You’re the spice of my life!” Or, “Maths is beautiful!”
Sometimes I really couldn’t take you quite so seriously…
But the other day, something happened that made me finally realise that you’re probably planning to stick around for good.
We’d gone to bed. Me quite late again because I couldn’t stop coughing and I didn’t want to keep you awake half the night coughing when you had to go to work the next day.
I finally joined you and after a few tosses and turns and a few more coughs, I nodded off.
Then I woke up feeling nauseous. You ran to the kitchen and got me a bucket then you ran again for a glass of water. You rubbed my back as I coughed and spluttered over the bucket – without complaining that no sick actually came up at all. Then you ran to our daughter who also needed a bucket and also retained all of her stomach contents. You returned to our bed where I lay complaining, rather loudly, about the heat in the room so you measured my temperature and stated that, it was, in fact, completely normal. You encouraged me to “just try and sleep” as I tossed and I turned but I thought I might be better off upside down in the bed, with my face right next to your feet. Then I sat up again and wailed for the bucket. I heaved and I coughed and I snotted. Then I cuddled back down and hugged you tight, breathing hot germ-filled breath into your face. I talked and I talked but I didn’t make the slightest bit of sense. At some point, I started to cry, quite hysterically, which, after a while turned into uncontrollable laughter with an added cough instead. Finally, after even more giggles and strops I drifted back to sleep.
I woke up the next day feeling at first refreshed, you’d got up with the children and had let me sleep. At first, I thought about how tired you must be, then I started to remember bits – wailing, incessant talking, hysterical laughter. You may be my husband and my best friend, but in all honesty: I was mortified.
On your return home I apologised.
And here’s the thing: you just shrugged and said you were used to it and that it happens quite often of late. 😮
That’s when I realised that you really are here to stay. That you love me, warts and all.
I hope, that for the rest of our lives, I continue to make those eyes smile.