Millie spent the night at her best friends house for a birthday sleepover and trip to the cinema and she literally didn’t sleep from sheer enthusiasm for the three days leading up to it. She packed and repacked her overnight bag at least several times and insisted on holding, transporting and delivering the birthday present herself. It’s such a magical time having a birthday as a child, the excitement of a party, balloons, food and seeing your friends outside of school in their normal clothes instead of a uniform is unreal. I wish I could bottle the magic and the butterflies in the tummy moment it entails and keep it forever.
We’re still on the lookout for the tooth fairy as Millie’s two front lower teeth are now loose enough to wiggle back and forth! It is such an exciting time for me as a parent which may sound insane, but I can’t imagine my little girl who has had her teeth since she was a tiny baby to suddenly become gappy and then have some huge square adult pegs! Where does the time go? And is it weird if I collect all of her teeth in a little trinket box on my French dresser?
My poor Mercedes Kompressor is at the bodyshop having some paintwork repaired after it was damaged in a hit and run accident almost three months ago; thankfully the police caught the owner of the fleeing vehicle through a kind member of the public taking down their details and now finally my insurance company has tied up all the paperwork and found me not at fault and kept my no claims intact. I was promised a like for like courtesy car but when this tiny blue two-door Ford KA arrived my heart sank at the thought of transporting my two children and now I’m stuck with it. There’s hardly enough room to swing a petite handbag inside let alone a cat and trying to stow a pushchair is not a laughing matter.
I’ve been thinking about changing my car since becoming a single parent, as my Mercedes isn’t very family friendly and it was fine as a weekend car when we had two in the family, but as our sole transport it’s a waste of money and very impractical for a baby. I’m thinking of something smaller engine sized, preferably not supercharged and more eco-friendly, but after a spin in the KA I’m craving my six-speed. I really am rubbish with cars, I know next to nothing about them and have been spoilt with my current wheels. On a dry day I’ll take an afternoon out car shopping and test out a few makes and models and hopefully find something that’s a little more practical; although if it matches my nail varnish or has a cute name I’m quite likely to be in danger of returning home with a tank and/or fire engine instead! Perhaps I’ll bring a friend along to help. Eek!
Millie has decided that she would like to have a fairy theme for her sixth birthday party so I have been beavering away making and collecting lots of pretty nature-inspired pieces as well as making her invites and a picture for her bedroom wall. She’s chosen the colour scheme of pink, green and yellow and is entering into the spirit of party planning as if it were a wedding.
It’s only two weeks until Millie’s sixth birthday and it’s really hit me, I feel like such an emotional wreck I don’t know whether to slap myself in the face or grab a tissue. And the worst thing is that I know it’s down to the wrong time of the month; it totally hasn’t helped that I’ve been on my period and kept up three or four times a night by Gabriele and his never ending teething. He’s been through the mill with it recently bless him, with a terrible fever and red face and nothing seems to touch it. I’ve literally bought stocks in Bonjela for the amount I use, fed him ice cream, cold bottles of milk and given him everything to bite and chew on but to no avail. And his poor tummy is grizzly, he’s getting terrible trapped wind and messy nappies from being off of his food, so it’s a pretty tough time for us both to say the least. I am the definition of a walking zombie right now, teamed with stomach cramps, sleepless nights and hormones and it just makes it all that much harder to carry on alone, but alas there’s no other way.
I feel like a silly weepy child right now, crying over nothing and everything all at once and I want nothing more than to laugh about this in the morning when tomorrow is another day. I guess this is my first real milestone alone, my daughters birthday, and it’s all on me to cover the bases and keep up the brave front for the sake of the children. The thought of her party makes me so happy to see her celebrate her special day, but at the same time it highlights half of the family that will be missing. This is the rest of forever now, those days are gone and it will never be the same. We have to adjust, one tiny step at a time, together just me and my babies.
Gabriele is now a year and a half and my throat almost closes with this swollen aching lump that’s impossible to swallow when I think about how short his little life has been so far, but how drastically it has changed. We went through so much to have him, losing a baby and then a turbulent pregnancy to follow, it was an emotional roller coaster to say the least but we got through it. He was our guiding light and our little miracle who completed our family and balanced our home. And now just eighteen months later I’m rocking him to sleep at night in my arms alone, his life only just beginning but already fallen undone. It makes me feel like the biggest failure ever to be a single parent and I don’t care if I have to suffer or to go through life alone for the rest of my days because I know I will manage; but I care and hurt for my children and what they need and what they deserve, and the most simplest thing that I can’t give them, a family.
And in three weeks time it will be my birthday and I feel sick. I’ve never had a party, never made a fuss or done anything extra special to mark the day as such, but I’ve always felt settled. Whether I was living at home with my family as a child up until I was a teenager, or as a family of my own with a fiance and two beautiful children in our home, I’ve always just seemed to fit. Having a birthday after such a turbulent time recently seems like such a kick in the teeth, it feels like a final exam, a reflection of my abilities and how I’ve handled life for the past 365 days. I know that this year has been hard and it’s a day of self assessment that I really don’t want to face right now. My prior comforts are gone and my world is upside down, which unfortunately no amount of birthday cake that I consume can ever sweeten. But if it doesn’t kill me then surely it will only serve to make me stronger, so it’s head down, collar up and head long into the storm for now and eventually I know that I’ll find my paradise on the other side. I just have to keep on walking. One step at a time.
And thankfully today I can laugh about feeling so blue last night, because my period is over – hoorah – and I have the biggest smile on my face after one of those random but amazing days that has just put a spring in my step. Now I could be a cheeky madam and hold my finger on the delete button and pretend that yesterday never happened, ignore the chink in my armour and wax over the dent in my ego, but I’d rather leave it there so that I can learn from it and move on. Yes birthdays are scary times, and yes my life has changed a whole lot recently, but do you know what? Life is a challenge and feeling uncertain or alone only makes you rise higher to reach your goal. Thankfully my god-awful hormones have subsided and I’m no longer a chin-quivvering sop, so it’s time to suck it up, man up and carry on because it’s only another twenty-odd days until my next meeting with Mother Nature! Gah!
I’ve decided to mark my twenty-sixth birthday I need to set myself a crazy challenge, and with Christmas creeping ever nearer, what better to attempt than a fitness challenge because let’s face it, tis the season to be a greedy pig and at this rate I may just break even on the sheer volume of sugar I consume. A fitness challenge is obviously my second most enthusiastic choice directly after wine tasting. I absolutely loved the Insanity workout by Team Beachbody after having my son and so I’m contemplating trying the p90x next, which I’ve heard is similar, and plan to spend the rest of the evening browsing success stories and video diaries whilst umming, ahhing and ooing over whether I’d be likely to achieve the same results. I like to push my limits and test my own boundaries, so I figure if each year I try at least one insane task then by the time I’m retired I’ll have enough stories to fascinate my grandchildren at bedtime in a milk and cookie marathon whenever they come to stay with me. And how many grandparents can say that!?