So we’ve hit mid Novemeber and I’m ever approaching the dreaded ascent into the loft to dig out the boxes of Christmas decorations and trinkets to bring a festive sparkle to our home. I have always been the biggest lover of Christmas and for many years I’ve flabbergasted the neighbours by putting up my tree and decorations in October to squeeze every last drop of magic out of this beautiful time of year and make it extra special for the children. For fear of sounding like a broken record, I’m a single parent having survived the past four months alone with the children and the prospect of Christmas quite frankly hurts me like hell right now. Christmas is about family and love and counting your blessings, and yes I do have my children, but our family is no more, and I do feel loved, yet incredibly let down, betrayed and abandoned over what’s happened, and I count my blessings everyday yet I’m also constantly reminded of the absence of what once was which I will never escape whilst living in our home and walking through daily life as we had built it yet always having half of it missing.
It seems I’m in limbo right now facing the reality that is life on my own as I’ve come to know it. I’m empty, no longer sad or upset about what happened yet at the same time I can’t be happy about it because it was such a horrible thing to have to go through. I guess I’m relieved that it has ended and the stress and torment is finally over, yet facing these special times of year alone and being reminded of the complete families everybody else has and take so easily for granted just cuts me up inside. I can be the children’s everything, I can be both mother and father, friend and confidant. I’ll cook the roast dinner and do the washing before putting on my beard and boots and bellowing “ho ho ho” in a deep voice down the chimney. My ability to be a parent will never faze me come hell or high water, but my ability to soothe my disappointment is a whole different ball game entirely.
Blah blah blah, I’m sorry I can’t help it, I’m a woman, I need to reason and understand and find meaning in absolutely everything that I do, it’s innate and impossible to justify. I can go from Bridget Jones to Beyonce in just four seconds flat and the only reason I’m not running around screaming and punching trees is because I workout seven days a week and pour all of my emotion and frustration into conditioning my body. I take all of the stress and anger and disappointment in life, peoples ignorance, hatred and bullying and I bottle it into a little compressor inside of me; letting it stockpile to maximum pressure so that I can express short bursts to push me forwards and drive me harder. When I’m tired, when I’m in pain or when I feel as though I can’t go on, I call on my stockpile and give a pneumatic two-finger salute to the world. I can’t change the past, the hurt and heartache in life has made me the person that I am today and what hasn’t killed me has certainly made me stronger. So there’s no point in dwelling, I just wish I wasn’t always let down in life by other people. That’s why it’s best to use what God gave you, those two little monkey hands on the end of your legs, stand on them by yourself, expect nothing of others and the world is your oyster. Independence is certainly a skill that I possess, perhaps it’s been my downfall at times but at least I know that I’ll never let myself down because I’ll never stop trying.
And the children love getting involved in my workout regime, which as you can see I’ve been hammering it a bit recently. Woosah! Gabriele is my little saboteur bless him, as soon as I start my workout no matter day or night he’s straight to my side either trying to climb on me, headbutt, snuggle or kiss me. And Millie joins in the festivities by jumping-jacking her way across the room and bumping into me, asking me a million questions when I’m trying to count and focus on breathing and always needing a drink or snack when I’m part way into my routine. But it’s lovely that they’re involved and I’m so happy to be able to workout from home as I’d never get to the gym at such frequency without a sitter, although I’d imagine I’d have a lot less bruises and my workouts would take half the time if I did.
It’s good to be in touch with your emotions and to talk about how you feel; even if it means putting the world to rights down the end of the telephone with a bottle of wine in one hand and tub of ice cream in the other at night, we all need our release. I get times when I feel so incredibly sad and alone and I walk into the empty house when the children are away which was once a bustling family home filled with picture frames and memories and it’s like visiting a graveyard that I can never escape. And other days I come home alone knowing that I have x amount of uninterrupted hours to do exactly what I want and I’m literally buzzing with excitement. It’s a double edged sword which pleases and hurts me at the same time and I really can’t tell if I’m loving it or hating it right now because I think it’s become both one and the same thing. My life is Marmite. It’s official.
I have had such bad luck with water this week as I had to call out two emergency plumbers just twenty-four hours apart for two separate water leaks in my home. First my upstairs toilet decided to leak, fortunately clean water – every cloud has a silver lining and all that; which I only discovered when I was greeted by a bulging kitchen ceiling en route to making breakfast at silly o’clock in the morning with my eyes half shut. The following morning when walking across the landing I stepped bare foot onto the cold squashy wet carpet from leak number two, the airing cupboard, which had poured through the ceiling and decided to drip out of a door frame downstairs, how pleasant. I have no idea what I did in a past life to feel the brunt of Poseidon’s fury right now but I hope that it was fun and totally worth it. But hey ho, it could have been worse, I could have had three leaks and no house insurance! Ha, jinx jinx jinx.
To counterbalance the chaos of this week I enjoyed a lovely little pamper afternoon of natural Hopi Ear Candles and a Saint Tropez spray tan at The Belmore Centre and it really chilled me out. I’ve never had my ears syringed and can’t say that it was ever something high up on my list of beauty to do’s, yet it’s all the rage right now so I gave it a go and loved it. I feel fresh and healthy and my tan makes me look like a normal human instead of a washed-out zombie so that’s pretty good.
It was the first time that I’ve had a spray tan and I was surprised at how convenient and flawless it was. I seem to be going through a faze of finding myself again, reinventing my appearance and experimenting with my clothes and makeup. This is totally a mid-life crisis, no doubt about it; I’ve spent years being a boring blendy-in part of the furniture and now the place is abandoned and suddenly I’m the only chair left in the room and it’s time to polish up my legs, sew up the threadbare holes and restuff my cushion, so to speak. Is this the first sign of madness comparing yourself to the metaphor of a knackered out chair? And that’s a rhetorical question, so don’t answer that because I know you’re already thinking yes!
So I’ve been for a spot of retail therapy this weekend to get me in the festive spirit, as so far the only thing remotely festive in my heart is the thought of the spirits behind a nice wine bar in central. And I have to say, spending money has sorted me right out. I didn’t even realise it was happening as I kind of adopted a ‘one-for-me-one-for-you’ approach when I was out buying Christmas presents! But I needed this blow out to treat myself to a new wardrobe, jewellery, shoes, nails and beauty products and to justify the attack on my bank account to myself I got all of my Christmas shopping done at the same time, five weeks early; like a smoke screen of sorts for my conscience. Yes I spent a small fortune, but at least I bought for others as well! It totally evens out the retail binge that way you see. And I have to confess there’s that certain little kick that you get when you’re at the checkout hearing the beep of the till as they scan your treasures and fold them neatly into a crisp square bag whilst you try to calculate in your head roughly what you think you’ve spent and then you double it and add a zero and the cashier confirms the total as the hairs on the back of your neck tingle and you let out a cheeky smile like a child that knows they’ve been naughty. You just don’t get that kick with online shopping do you? Although I accidentally spent just under a tonne on nail varnish a few days ago when I was waiting for my Youtube to upload and it left me feeling a little dissatisfied when a poxy white screen simply said “transaction complete”; no beep, no smile, no handing over a concise bag of goodies. But it did arrive in the post yesterday and I was like a puppy left alone with a new sofa tearing open the packaging to have a look inside. Four out of ten for effort.
What is it with us girls? We’re simple creatures really, give us a shiny handbag and a glass of wine and the world is suddenly perfect. And as my delicious children lay face down in bed, fast asleep whistling melodies of warm air through their tiny nostrils, I’m eyeing up the mountain of bags in the doorway and miles of metallic wrapping paper just itching to break free, wondering if I should dare embark on the beast of wrapping the Christmas presents this evening. Perhaps I’ll get into bed, finish eating my walnut whip, watch a bit of X Factor and clock up an anti-ageing ten hours worth of pillow time. Ahh, why not!