I celebrated my twenty-sixth birthday this weekend and had the most amazing time. I guess with what the past several months had in store for me I was panicking about approaching another landmark in my life that would force me to evaluate the last year I’ve already spent and the heartache that’s gone with it. I’ve grown and changed so much as a person lately from becoming a single parent, but I’m still in healing mode and have lost a lot of trust and belief in the male race as well as my self confidence and security. I’m emotionally drained and physically tired, void of my former outlook on life and gradually learning to live in an alien environment, but I’m coming through it slowly but surely.
I’m by no means saying that I’m love sick or pining to go back to a failed relationship because that couldn’t possibly be any further from how I feel. I’m far happier standing alone than living half a life or constantly being weighted under a dark cloud. But it takes time to repair yourself after the separation of a family unit, I feel abandoned, disappointed, used, hurt, blind, senseless, manipulated and cheated. Everything I knew, everything I understood and felt was all taken away in the blink of an eye and I couldn’t trust or understand anything. My heart literally died and stayed cold and empty for longer than I care to acknowledge and I wasn’t entirely sure I’d ever be able to warm it again. And with my birthday just a handful of months after, this has been the albatross that I tried so desperately to avoid. Emotionally I didn’t think I could handle it, the thought and concept of a day based upon me as a person, as a mother and as a review of my life so far made my palms moist and my mouth dry. I had well and truly lined myself up for emotional failure, expecting the worst and setting my expectations below zero in the hope of never having to acknowledge the disappointment and rejection of what I’ve gone through. I can cope with everything and anything that life has to throw at me and be the strongest and most determined person in the world, up until it comes to my heart; it seems to cruelly overrule my head, take away my ability to see sense and can stop me dead in my tracks no matter what I’m doing. I guess it’s unfortunately the curse of being a woman, and the only way I push myself so hard and strive for achievement is to discard my heart and focus solely on my mind. But I couldn’t have been more wrong about my birthday.
I totally expected to live my very own Bridget Jones moment in my pyjamas eating my bodyweight in chocolate, trying my hardest to pass the day in a haze of weekend television and mind numbing nonsensical drivel to distract me from reality, as the world carried on with its business completely oblivious to the twenty-sixth anniversary of the day that I first found life. And how happy I was to be proved wrong. 🙂
I had the most amazing birthday of all time and right now I can’t stop smiling, my spirit has been lifted so high that I feel as though I’m 100% flammable, my heart is beating once more and my faith in humanity is restored. I had set myself up for a miserable fall yet instead I was beautifully greeted by the most memorable experience that I will hold inside of my heart forever. My soul is just beaming right now, the thoughtfulness and time I was given, attention that I was shown and kindness I received, it just really blew me away and I’m smiling from ear to ear as I write this. If ever there was a time that I needed a kind word and a shelter in the storm it was on my birthday, and I may as well have been on a paradise island for how special I felt. It’s incredible how little you realise the blessings you have around you are in fact life changing and priceless. I’m a positive and grounded person, yet when it comes to myself and my heart I’m quite possibly the most uncertain person you’ll ever meet. I’m not insecure just incredibly cautious and I’d sooner help to save the world than address my own needs and desires for fear of rejection or disappointment. But to have a birthday that was filled with such thought, kindness and surprises totally knocked me off of my feet. I’m speechless and tongue-tied all at once and so incredibly thankful.
Far from being a landmark to avoid, my twenty-sixth birthday will forever remain in my heart as the day that I healed. My expectations in life have reset themselves, my outlook restored and my trust rebuilt. If I could summarise my birthday in a word it would have to be wonderment. Total and utter wonderment and for that I am truly grateful. I spent my birthday weekend surrounded by the people I love most in life, who take my breath away and give me the courage to be all that I can be. I am so truly blessed and humbled to have had this special time and never again will I ever fear or doubt the anniversary of my birth because I have so much to smile about.
The only way I can begin to explain how my heart feels is to give you the metaphor of a road, I have always been told, shown and felt that the road is rough, the surface is sharp and coarse and the journey is bumpy and uncertain. I’ve never travelled on anything but the road, I’ve never felt anything but the unsure surface of the road and I’ve never expected anything other than the road to be underfoot. But the road has now been resurfaced, it has changed almost to the point of it being unrecognisable other than for it’s purpose. The road is now smooth, the journey is a joy to travel along and I’ve been shown an alternative to the route I’ve always taken which not only saves me time but makes my life so much easier in the process. You’re probably thinking why the hell is this woman on about a road right now, and to be perfectly honest I’m sat here laughing, smiling and just feeling fantastic inside and out so I need not confuse you any further. It is amazing to be shown a better way in life when you’ve previously resigned yourself to what you’ve always known.
And if I thought the weekend couldn’t have been any more exciting, then guess again! Millie’s first ever tooth came out and the Toothfairy sent her a monetary offering for her bravery. It just so happened to be on the evening of my birthday celebrations when Millie was tucked up sweetly in bed at my parents house for a sleepover, after months of waiting for the big day to come she only goes and pops her first tooth the night that I’m out for the evening! Typical. But I was greeted in the morning with the most adorably enthusiastic gappy-toothed smile from my sweetheart and elaborate story of how the sheepish Toothfairy delivered the sum of £1.00 in silver pieces by flying along on several journeys throughout the night with one coin in hand at a time; obviously because my mother was not as well-prepaired as me as to have a pound coin in her purse on stand-by. Well at least it was in pounds sterling that the Toothfairy dealt and she didn’t do me over with a toy, £50 note or some other elaborate gift just to make the other thirty-one offerings as amusing as possible. Thanks Mumfairy I owe you one! 🙂
I also passed the three week benchmark in my P90X workout this week and feel bloody fantastic for it. My body is feeling stronger, my stamina is at an all time high and I feel so much more capable and in control of myself. I really thought I was getting a cold this week after my head started burning and my nose began to choke up and taste of snot, but thankfully it never fully developed and I escaped the sick bed in favour of a few beauty treatments instead!
I had the most incredible beauty morning at the Belmore Centre in Stoke Mandevillie where I had a revitalising facial, body massage and eyelash tint which left me glowing with youth, fresh skin and perfectly defined eyes. It’s important to get a little me time now more than ever. I’m a year older already and boy oh boy do I feel it, life has never been so stressful and tiring as it is now and I know it’s all downhill from here for me as old age sets in and gravity stops being my friend. Thankfully I know the children can only get older, more capable and more helpful so life will find its balance point soon enough and the tide will turn. In the meantime I need all the help I can get so long live beauty treatments and weekends away!
I then spent a couple of days in London filming with the fantastic presenter Mark Franks for an antiques show based in the UK and France. It was great fun and a complete escape from the rat race and daily chores of raising two children single-handedly. In a way it gave me a chance to just be ‘me’ instead of a worn out mother, and it’s little times like this in life that make you appreciate your identity because it’s all too often easy to forget yourself and fit into a mould based around responsibilities and expectations. I changed from a carefree teen to a young mother, fiance and finally a single mum once again and it feels like this time right now is me spinning on a roundabout at the park, gradually dragging my heel on the floor to slow it down to a stop still so I can get off again and carry on ahead in my journey in life. I’m not spinning as fast as I have been the past months, but I’ve yet to find my balance and take my first step forward.
And it’s one of them moments again this weekend when I’m reminded of the life that is no more as Christmas decorations fill every shop and my ex-fiance celebrates his 30th birthday. I’m not being soppy, sad or down in anyway about it, I just realise it’s another change in the journey of life that I have to pass on my way forward. I am such an organised and well-prepared person that I usually begin my Christmas shopping in the summer and have my decorations up by the first week in October to make the most of this magical season for the children and family. I can’t help but frown at the thought of going up into the loft to get the boxes of sparkles down because it’s filled with family memories that I really don’t want to see. It’s almost like walking into somebodies house after they’ve died, you feel like you shouldn’t be there, that it’s not your place to speak or take part or even acknowledge what once was that has nothing to do with you now. And I know that our handmade, name-stitched smiling little gingerbread men, stockings, advent calendar and tree decorations with our lovey-dovey family faces and pictures and names on them are all tucked up neatly in their tissue paper parcels snug from the celebrations of last year and Gabriele’s first Christmas.
I feel sick at the thought of opening the boxes, feeling the memories and the ache in my throat of what has become our ‘family’ reality. So what do I do? Throw it away? Leave it in the roof like an undisturbed grave or give the special memories back to my ex? How insane would that make me look, someone who has chosen to walk away from the children and I, for me to turn up in his new life and hand over a box of gay threadbear gingerbread men, fir cone Father Christmas figurines we made and a handful of wonky ‘Daddy’ snowflakes from back when we were together? What a pathetic begger I would look! But at the same time I think of these little pieces of life and memories as being so special that even though they are no more they hold a priceless meaning. From baby shoes to silly decorations, they were a part of a life and the children that we once shared. I have no photos or memories of my ex in the house at all and it’s meant I’ve lost a lot of family pictures and trinkets from special times gone by that I’ll never get back, but they were reminders that I just couldn’t live with seeing. The Christmas boxes are the final things that are left to address and they’re burning a hole in the roof as the shops celebrate the thrill of Christmas approaching and I take a deep breath to think of how I’ll get through this year alone with the children.
Christmas has always been such an exciting time for our little family, jolly and cringeworthy as we all dress up in embarrassing reindeer jumpers and make sickeningly tacky tree decorations whilst drinking mulled wine and taking pictures for the family album. I’ve lost my Christmas spirit this year, the lights in the shops offend and upset me and the thought of Father Christmas popping up everywhere when your children wake up every morning without theirs literally makes me want to vomit all over the cheerful displays. I’m the last person in this world to be a Scrooge about Christmas because I’ve always loved it so much, but Christmas is really hurting me right now, and I don’t know how to make the pain go away. It’s the one time of year that I always look forward to and something I can’t seem to avoid fast enough. I just need a big hug from my babies and someone to tell me it’ll be alright.
Deep down inside of me I know I will get through this, I’ve come so far already, it’s just another hurdle to jump on the circuit of change; and once I’ve been round it once then every year as the reminders repeat themselves and the special occasions pass me by again I’ll be faster and more able at clearing them in one giant leap, with my highest heels on and a bottle of wine chilling for me at the finish line!