I’ve had an interesting, often too-busy life – full of ups and downs. I’m a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a mum, a grandparent, a dog-mummy, a friend, a wife (twice) and a step-mum.
Of all those roles I haven’t perfected any: I still strive to do my best (maybe that old Brownie promise is part of my unconsciousness).
At times I look back and think I’ve been a rubbish parent in some ways…and a rubbish step-mum. Discipline isn’t my strongest trait (apart from self-discipline) and knowing when to be a friend and when to be a parent I found quite tough.
With step-children it’s even tougher. You don’t want to overstep the mark as you are not their mum or dad – you’re just stepping into the role of a parent and trying to ‘guide’ them and I failed miserably. I just didn’t feel it was my job to tell them off and this kept me somewhat distanced. As the boys grew into adults our relationship improved thank goodness and (I feel) we have become friends. I feel I can certainly be completely open and honest with them nowadays.
What I love most is when they bring up childhood memories and we share a laugh. In fact this post was instigated by a chat with one step-son about laughing at things you shouldn’t laugh at (something I still do – and I know its wrong but…).
M reminded me about the time my son (his step-brother) fell off our holiday boat into the canal, and I reminded him about my daughter (his step-sister) sitting on the boat when, as we entered a bridge, the bridge hit her on the back of her head and knocked her down. My husband (C’s step-dad) had to console her as I couldn’t stop laughing.
This may not sound like a lot but it made me realise even as a pretty poor step-mum, and as a family struggling through life in a less-than-perfect family, we share a bond created through our joint past experiences. We have some great memories to look back on and to share with future generations.
This was re-inforced later in the week when our eldest granddaughter and her boyfriend came over. ’M’ remembered so many things; going to Sea Life, buying a plastic mug with her initial on from Woolworths, the annual tradition of going to a local nursery to choose and then dress the Christmas tree with me, sitting in the ‘dog cage’ with the dogs which she loved to do (!) and so on.
I feel blessed to have made those memories. It made me realise although we have many ups and downs, remembering and sharing the best of our experiences is surely what life is all about? It brings a smile to my face and a warm feeling inside…I’m sure that’s not Just a Girl Thing!
Manic Monday – and Tuesday and Wednesday and…
Honestly I just really don’t know where the days, weeks and even months go; it’s clearly not just me that feels like this – as many conversations with friends prove.
I am positive it’s only a few days since the August bank holiday yet here we are almost in October and I’ve a thousand (slight exaggeration) jobs to do in the next few days.
I did have a rather lovely break a week or so ago. Two school-friends and I took a three-day to Herefordshire. We laughed, we chatted, we reminisced, we giggled, we walked, we howled with laughter, we ate and we drank…oh and we slept when we eventually went to bed.
A couple of the stories are, ‘What happens in Herefordshire stays in Herefordshire type of stories’, but suffice to say we had a wonderful time.
Visiting Hay-on-Wye all three of us felt it was just not the shopping experience we would usually enjoy: having to put a mask on (and then take it off to breathe in some fresh air) for every shop just makes shopping no-fun, so we wandered over to the river and walked along the river-bank where some super-duper glamping log-cabins-on-stilts had been erected.
The undulating countryside and sparkling river made for stunning views, albeit it was slightly windy.
Eardisland is a small black-and-white village with some interesting history. By the old Grammar School-house is a whipping-post – imagine children being whipped at school nowadays?? I loved the original AA Box in the village – as a child I used to think they were similar to the ‘Tardis’ which, being a Dr Who fan, I loved! The AA’s very first boxes were erected in 1911 and telephones were installed later. The Eardisland box is the only known surviving pre-war box which was rescued by local AA man Harry Gittoes, who stored it in his garden.
My own garden is in the second stage of redevelopment having had two unattractive large shrubs taken out, more gravel removed, and three huge boxes made by my OH for raised beds in which to grow vegetables.
It’s all very exciting but I’ve certainly given myself a heap more work to do. An old friend of mine, P, has given me some super plants for the shady areas (which I was quite concerned about) so I am looking forward to seeing how they do. His wife, P, who I’ve been friends with since we were around 11 years old gave me a jar of Loganberry Jam in exchange for a jar of my Damson Jam; if you haven’t tried loganberry jam try and get hold of some…it’s lovely!
Fingers crossed I will have a loganberry bush of my own next year provided by the lovely P. I’ve made plum and damson jam this year (the damsons were a swap for some of the dratted gravel I have been giving away) but all the blackberries I picked have been used up in pies or simply eaten with yoghurt.
On that note (kitchen activities) I recently made scones and cake with Gluten-Free self raising flour. What a disaster? The scones hardly rose and according to my granddaughter, Katie, were ‘Hard and not as fluffy as your usual scones’. Yikes! If anyone can enlighten me as to why my baking was so disastrous please let me know…otherwise I will never try gluten-free again! My OH and I both thought the scones reminded of us of the biscuits used in ‘biscuits and gravy’ which we had many years ago when travelling through the USA.
Oh, I am soooooo looking forward to travelling again and hoping that 2021 will allow me to do so.
Hope? It’s Just this Girls thing at the moment because concrete plans are impossible to make!