2009 (yes, not 2010, I’m going right back in time now) felt like a very demanding year to us. The stresses and strains of my knee op, subsequent life on crutches, Akasha’s two finger operations and learning that she’d had (tested after removal) pre-cancerous cells aged (shockingly) only three years old, tugged on our heart-strings.
Aged nine, Aden finally (after an enormous wait) saw a specialist and received his ADHD diagnosis. Effective treatment however took, looking back, a ridiculous amount of time, until mid 2010, to be exact.
Meanwhile 2009 saw Aden’s symptoms spiral out of all control. He continually hurt himself with his impulsive behaviour. We had more than a natural amount of trips to the hospital. When the staff start to recognise you, and offer you a loyalty card, you know you’ve fallen into the above statistical average category.
Homework was a disaster. School an intolerable nightmare. Frustrated by bullying, Aden became extremely aggressive and hurt some kids, pretty badly, while at school one day.
After bobbing about in a puddle of my own tears for a while, my husband and I decided: enough is enough. And with the help of a doctors line, we took him out of school for a couple of weeks. We refused all offers of homework and instead spent our time knocking seven bells out of a punch-bag, talking, reading together, providing massages, and doing little projects to build up his self-confidence again, which at that point, was at an all time low.
Many cuddles and tears later, Aden returned to school, a much calmer boy. But truthfully? I was exhausted. Outwardly, I tried to portray a strong, capable exterior, but inwardly I felt like a jelly that not only wobbled, but had started to melt too.
It’s hard work being a mum. And having four children, of course, means four times the work. Four times the washing. Four times the cleaning. Four times the cooking. Four times the taxiing. On the other hand it also means four times the present giving. Four times the concert watching. Four times the laughter. Four times the love.
I’m not opposed to a bit of hard work, besides that, I’m lucky enough to have four helpers ;-).
But the problem for me is: when things go wrong. And 2009 was a year when a lot of things went wrong.
So, after some discussion, hubby and I decided we’d celebrate the demise of 2009, and welcome heartily the entrance of 2010.
That’s right. We threw a BIG party.
What I wanted from that party, I can now see, to be unrealistic. I hoped a positive start to the year might influence how the year would pan out. I felt a determination for things to improve.
But naturally, life always throws its difficulties at you and the overhang from 2009 naturally dragged into 2010. Then of course, 2010 threw up its own issues which we’re still jostling through.
Still wobbly and now somewhat further internally melted from the issues of 2010, I am presently looking back on this year and this is what I see:
It’s the year of the friend.
It started with that wonderful party and it’s continued throughout the year. The kindness and generosity of our friends has overwhelmed me. Guests provided sparklers and fireworks, bubbly and beer, fun and games. They barbecued sausages, put together salads, cooked Spätzle, prepared tiramisu, created cocktails and generally kept us entertained. The star of the show, undoubtedly this beautiful stuffed salmon:
In a word: delicious!!
Throughout the year, I have turned more and more to my friends, who have supported me through thick and thin, been there to celebrate and commiserate, offered advice and just listened. I have drawn much strength from these relationships this year. I have listened to their opinions. I have enjoyed their presence in my life.
As a good friend once said to me: “Friends are the family you choose for yourself.”
Look away now if you don’t like soppiness ;-), because I would like to say special thanks to (in no particular order):
Gabi: for crying with me and always being there even when she had problems of her own
Dani: for always caring and thinking of me
Frank: for making me laugh and being a sensitive, thoughtful, intelligent soul
Lili: for hours of listening, empathizing, then making me see the fun in life (and special thanks for that weekend of babysitting – I will be eternally grateful)
Andrea: for being so kind and just generally lovely
Holger: for breakfasts and beer and carefully thought out emails and baking cakes 🙂
Sabs: for endless hours putting the world to rights on the phone
Alex: for just being the funniest person I ever met and at the same time sensitive
Karin: for being thoughtful and for listening
Jake and John: for getting married and bringing me back for a glimpse of Scotland
Connie and Naseem: for putting up Akasha and I and being so generous with your homes and time. I really enjoyed my stay with both of you!
Eleanor: for being the person who pushed me over the edge into doing this blog
slpmartin: for giving me confidence with his comments on my blog
Caitlin: for being adorable on her three-week stay (I’m still up for the whole adoption thing…)
And three special, special, special thanks:
Faye: my forever friend
Reinhold: my soul mate
And Joni: for maturing into a wonderful 15-year-old, that a mum can only be proud of. As well as being my daughter you are also my friend xx