31 01 2014

It is 6.15 in the morning and GM finds herself sitting on a child’s chair in the kitchen. She feels a slight breathlessness, resulting in regular sighs and explores that feeling of teetering on the edge. She checks out the physical signs of stress and takes some deep breaths, trying to calm her heart and relax the tense shoulders, to still the slight trembling in her guts.

She doesn’t know if she has dropped any balls .. Suspects that she has. It’s been a busy week at work, and she knows that although she has achieved much, she is not as organised as she needs to be, is likely to have missed something that will rear its head at a later date.

GM’s gut drops as she remembers … being late to pick Lolly up from after school club was definitely a dropped ball. She has been tearful and clingy ever since, GM having to provide lots of cuddles and support. GM doesn’t know how long it will take to repair, with the busy weekend ahead.

It’s the weekend of ‘the wide a wake party’, a celebration of GM’s father’s life, where her nearly 90 year old dad can bask in the warm glow of his loving family and friends. It is a happy event, which her children are not invited to. LML they would be too disruptive at the day time meal, taking attention away from the star of the show, so CD will be home with the girls whilst GM attends the meal.  She will then dash home for a short while and return to the evening ceilidh with CD, leaving the LML and Lolly with a good friend. The whole day fills GM with a confused mix of feelings, including the anticipation of the fallout they will be dealing with for who knows how long. Sunday will have to be a calm walking day with nobs on.

GM starts the washing up, thinking about the long conversation she had with the head teacher the day before. LML is not coping at school at the moment. Not at all. Her behaviour is increasingly challenging and difficult for Lovely TA to manage. She is being more oppositional than ever before, push push pushing Lovely TA away, before she disappears again.

Later, sitting on the bus going to work GM tears up, swallows past the sudden lump in her throat, as she thinks about her mum. So so poorly. Back at home from the hospital, but still experiencing hallucinations; a frightened, confused old lady, in the final stages of COPD, becoming rapidly more frail and dependent over the past few weeks. Her heart aches with the recognition that her mother may be approaching the end of her life, in a difficult and traumatic way. She feels guilt and regret that she can’t ‘be there’ more, for her mum or her amazing sisters who are providing so much of the support and daily care. GM takes another deep, calming breath, as she gets off the bus, forgiving and blaming herself simultaneously.

At lunch time GM calls Big Sis to see how she and her 3 day old, tiny 4lb 10oz baby son is doing. GM and CD are excited to be grand parents for the second time, but also desperately worried. Although Big Sis’s partner does not appear to be physically abusive he is certainly controlling, and comes from a tough background, having an extended family with a history of involvement with the police and social services. GM thinks about how hard it is to judge what is happening from 200 miles away. She wants to be reassured by what she is being told by Big Sis, but she and CD worry about what might have happened to baby Jim in utero. The call that GM makes goes straight to voicemail, so she leaves a loving message and hopes to hear from her step daughter later in the day.

GM leaves work early, relieved that the working week is over, and makes her way home. Lolly greets GM with enthusiasm and spends the rest of her day following GM from room to room, rarely letting her out of her sight. LML is feeling tired and is close to taking herself off to bed at 5.30, so GM gets the paints out, which entertains the girls for the next half hour. The family have a lovely evening, playing, laughing and loving. Throughout it GM is aware of how deliberate their parenting is, how little true spontaneity there is. The mostly functional parents cuddle and comfort, are playful and directive, and so so mindful of what is happening with their daughters. The girls go to bed, CD cooks whilst GM prints something off for the party the following day. By the time they have eaten they are too tired to do much more than watch the TV.


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