I posted this previously on my (now much neglected) Moblog but after visiting my grandparents tonight I wanted to share it here too.
My Grandad is really poorly again, I live in fear of the day he will no longer be around – he was is and always will be one of the main men in my life and I love him lots.
A Family Photo
This photo was taken before I was born, we think around 1978/79. It has all the most important men from my childhoodÂ included in it, It’s like a capsule containing my whole life history!
This man is Pete. He’s my Dad….
….He died suddenly in 1985, IÂ was only 4. One day he was here, the next he was gone – I don’t miss him all the time – that sounds harsh but it’s true – I was too young to reallyÂ appreciateÂ what I had and then it was gone. Â I never had the chance to get to know the man my dad was growing up and only really started questioning my roots as I got older. I missed having a Dad and the paternal side to my family more than I missed the man that was Peter Jennings – I just wasn’t given theÂ opportunityÂ to know him and I think I grieve for that more than I do for him at times.
This man is Tony, my maternal Grandad….
..My sister and I went with my MomÂ and lived with my grandparents for a short while after my Dad passed away. Â My Mom needed the space and a chance to grieve and recover from the shock of becoming aÂ widow and single parent overnight. We were only there for a couple of months but the effects lasted a lifetime.
While everyone else was pushing their luck and hearing “You justÂ wait until you father gets home!!” This is the man I was I had to wait to get home, I adored him as a child, he was my Grandad, my stand in father figure and my friend, as a small girl I would often climb the tree by the bus stop and wait for him to get home from work when he’d scoop me up and carry me home on his shoulders, as a teen he had the best technique for help towel dry hair and as a young adult, pregnant andÂ sufferingÂ from morning sickness he made the only thing IÂ couldÂ stomache, the most divine poached egg on toast!
HeÂ was, and still is my rock and I know I couldÂ still go to him for anything! He’s been with me FOREVER!
Now this man is Dave, he was one of Dad’s very good friends before his death and now he isÂ now my Stepdad!
My Mom and Dave got together when I was 14 and married inÂ 2001 when I was 20. When he moved in we were going through my Dads vinyl record collection together and Dave pulled our a couple of records that had actually belonged to him.
I truly would not wish for her to be with anyone else! HeÂ is a fantastic Dad to me, my sister and brother and a devoted Grandad to Jordan. Â He’s supported my Mom through thick and thin and cared for us all for years and I’m glad itÂ was him my mom married!
The cynic in me would love to hate valentines day, the over commercialised sales pitch for love, but the romantic in me loves to love it, flowers and romance and chocolates and smiles, what’s there not to like…
…but if all the people in my facebook feed, the strangers on twitter, the friends I’ve seen today in person, or those who I can fully predict are sitting at home bemoaning the significant others in your life expecting something nice on Valentines day. To all of you who have said “I don’t need someone to tell me what day of the year to say I love you” here’s a thought, Maybe if we produced just one romantic gesture unprompted on any one of the remaining 364 days of the year your lovely partners wouldn’t put so much onus on this one day, This one day when it seems most of the nation need reminding it’s ok to do something nice for the one you love!
It doesn’t have to cost, an unasked for cup of tea in bed, a love letter pinned to the bathroom mirror, a walk in the park on blustery afternoon or having the forethought to cook the dinner for when your other half gets home from what you know is a particularly stressful day.
Maybe if we all tried to be a, little more romantic throughout the year come February 14th florists and card companies wouldn’t be laughing all the way to the bank!
Being a parent is sometimes quite hard, balancing your own wants and needs as an individual with that of a this small thing who wants independence but relies of you for so much. I’m lucky – I absolutely love being a Mom and TBK makes it easy. We have bumps in the road which we have to deal with, sometimes emotional sometimes physical but I always know we can get through it because long term there are no issues and these are only bumps, but what happens when that bump turns into a mountain?
I’ve been thinking a lot this last week about how hard some other parents have it,Â hard because life jumped up and smacked them in the mouth at the same time as hitting their child over the head with a sledge hammer. I am a fairly prolific twitter user and stay in touch with friends (both real and virtual) via that medium and I’ve been quite humbled this week by the journeys some of the parents I follow are having to take.
I’ve only met one of these parents I’m going to outline belowÂ in real life but if hasn’t stopped me from empathising with any of them, because as a parent I just don’t know how I’d be able to cope if I was faced with the same.
The one follower keeps her twitter stream private so I wont out her here but after having a daughter who wasÂ born with Downs Syndrome, a subsequent diagnoses of Cerebral Palsy and in the last week a further diagnosis of severe arthritis all over her body she’s a lot going on but with 2 more children at home and a charity to run which she set up to support other parents in understanding Downs and going it alone as a single parent I just don’t know sometimes how she carries on.
There is @beast76uk (Phillip) whose son Harry recently lost an eye to Retinoblastoma, whose tweets “”Ok #cancer, this war is WON! Fuck you. Yes, you took his eye, small price to pay in the long run. but we’ve stopped you. You’re fuckin GONE!” and “Got Harry’s #histology results back 2day. No spread of the cancer. absolutely #chuffedtobits ! Left eye is in remission. #couldntbehappier” made me ridiculously happy for a man I’d never met and left me in awe of his resilience as a parent, I don’t know, and I hope I never have to find out how I would reactÂ if faced with the same.
Now there is @junction10 (Jason) someone I have never met but started following a while back because his sense of humour and sarcastic updates made me laugh (and he’sÂ a bloody fine photographer to boot), Another twitter user who is currently going through hell as a parent. Just as I was reading that @beast76uk son was winning their battle with the dreaded C word,Â Jason’s son Joel was just starting his own, a diagnosis of a brain tumour, subsequent surgery and the prospect of 12 months of radio and chemotherapy is a terrible way to start the year.
I don’t know why but Jason and Joel’s story seems to have affected me more than the others (and maybe more than it should for someone I don’t know), maybe it’s because the sarcastic, humorous tone of his stream as been overtaken with heart wrenching updates of his son’s progress where the others didn’t change in such a dramatic way, and that it has laid bare the fundamental fear as parent that when something is going on with your child that is completely out of your control and with the stakes so high just how hard it can be but whatever the reason it has upset me.
Last night I read Jason’s blog “A Sense of Tumour” documenting the journey of diagnosis and tests and surgery (and hospital parking) and then went to bed. At 1:30 I was woken by TBK and his 2 friends who were here for a sleepover. They were banging around and making such a racket I’m surprised the neighbours hadn’t been to knock the door,Â I was just about to get out of bed to read them the riot act when an image from the blog came to mind and I remembered how lucky I was to be at home with my son safe, healthy and happy waking me up. A quiet word with the boys and peace resumed and returned to bed with the lasting impression of how lucky I really am!
TBK has a key. It is his lucky key (or so he tells me). It’s to an old cabinet that has long since been freecycled and in the imagination of my 8 year old it opens everything.
It has opened doors that criminals have been hiding behind. It has opened boxes where treasures are held. It has been the ignition key for a space rocket, a motor bike and a racing car and it has been used to lock up things only the imaination of an eight year old could think of and, it’s been used to release captives of things only eight year olds can think of.
Sunday morning on our way to Artsfest sitting on the train the key was produced from his uber cool R2D2 bag and it became a mystic key – it unlocked peoples head so TBK could see inside. He opened mine and I asked him what he could see.
“You have two doors mom, one with a heart on it and a big metal one”
“Oh whats behind them?”
“Well the metal one has a long corridor to another big door with a lock on it and behind that is all the things you don’t like, like teenagers and other things that annoy you and the heart has me and James and all our family inside.”
I thought about this for a minute then asked.
“So whats in James’ head then?” expecting teh same answer as the logic was sound 2 doors = 2 opposite emotions
“He has three doors but two of his has hearts on”
This confused me.
“Why does James have three?”
“Well Mom, James has three becaue one has his family Stat and Al and Penny and Rob and one has the things that annoy him, just the same as you, but the other one has just you and me in there because he chooses to love us!”
Word of advice, Never have children, they have the ability to break your heart in a million different ways and none of them hurt as much as when your child is hurting, and you can’t do anything to stop it.
Yesterday was a rough day.
To end it I took TBK to my parents he needed cheering up. Nannies have special magic powers don’t you know, they make everything less raw, a little brighter and the hurt fuzzier around the edges, easier to swallow – well Jordan’s Nan does, she’s special.
So we went had a cup of tea, had a few cuddles, rolled around the floor with the psycho dog and the even more psychotic “Little Big Uncle” John (and instructed Grandad on the ins and outs of facebook (TBK knew more than he did) and it worked, by the time we left TBK was beginning to act more like his normal self.
On the short walk home we were kicking stones along the pavement and discussing the stars, TBK was pointing out the two brightest ones in the sky and explaining to me that the one was my Dad and the other was his Great Grandad looking down on us when we both saw a shooting star.
“WOAH Mom, did you see that!?! Quick make a wish we saw the same star so we can share it …. Have you made it?”
I said I had, and had he? To which he replied
“Yes I wished that there were these scientists who wanted to do an experiment on me yeah and I said yes but then when they came to do it it was a different experiment than the one they said they were going to do so I said no but then they did it anyway they slipped something into my hot chocolate which I drank and it made me into stitch like from lilo and stitch but still human and it was AWESOME!”
“What did you wish for?”
“I wished that you’d always be happy” he looked at me sideways and I caught THAT glint in his eye – that look that every parent knows to be suspicious of,
“You know what WOULD make me happy, Mom…. Still giving me THAT look….
This week was my turn and here’s my entry:
An old picture but one that sums me up, Converse and my family!
*Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.*
Well right now as I’m writing this it’s Thursday evening and I’m at home, But
by the time it’s posted it shall be Friday morning so I’ll be at work in
Wolverhampton City Centre and I shall have arrived here on the bus from my
home 20 minutes away in the area I grew up in. I’m a yam yam born and bred,
I have lived in other places (Lichfield (too pretentious)and Wigan (Too
Rough)) but I returned “home” when I realised there really is no place
* Why do you moblog?*
I started moblogging as a way to pass the time when I was a poor lonely
single girl living alone with no one but the blonde kid for company.
James introduced me to it before “we” were “us” taking me into Birmingham
with a selection of Spied cards and I was hooked straight away, It’s so much
fun, kinda combining social networking with a hobby! Along with TBK telling
everyone we were getting married before we’d even smiled at each other in
THAT way maybe moblog was party responsible for the creating of James and me
* What were you hoping not to be asked for interview52?*
The typical Interview question used in lots of job interviews, Describe
yourself in 3 words….
* Now answer it!*
DOH! shoulda seen this coming. I’ll use the answer i gave in my last job
LOUD, TALKATIVE and TENACIOUS – and they still gave me the job!
* What question would you like to ask the next moblog interviewee?*
I’m not going say now as with the new interview 52 rules I’m going to get
the chance to ask what I want! -
oh new rules everyone says what are they??
The week after the last interview with FF when there was no interview I
though hmm thats strange, then the week after that when again there was
still no interview i though hmm even stranger It’s not like Nige to start
something and not finish it, so I emailed him something along the line of
“Oi you, giving up already?” and it transpires that Nige is a busy busy bee
and time had just ran away with him.
Organising questions and participants whilst running around the Notting Hill
Festival and generally having much fun was a time consuming thing so with
revised rules and with me being next on the “hit list” and silly enough to
wonder why he’d stopped he sent them to me….
From hence forward the interviewee will become the interviewer for the next
willing victim….So once you’ve read this today I will be on a hunt to find
someone to take part next . Then I will forward the list of questions and
instructions how to post on BUT
I will have to CHANGE AT LEAST ONE of the questions in the list
And so it will go on – my interviewee will become the interviewer, finding
the next participant and again changing AT LEAST ONE of the questions before
they forward it on. So taking the onus off Nige, continuing the project and
giving it a life of it’s own!
So who want to be next use email/text/contact button to get in touch
* What do you think your job was in your previous life? Tell us why..*.
I think I must have been a psychologist/guidance counselor in a previous
life, for some reason I’m usually the Agony Aunt, Dishing out advise to all
and sundry my friend Nicky seems to seek my advise on everything and even my
local shop keeper stops me in the shop and asks for marriage counseling -
And I’ve never even been married.
James reckons I was Pippa from Home and Away. I love kids and we’ve usually
got a houseful of TBK friends, I’ve worked as a youth worker, I’ve helped
out at school, taking part in sleep overs, & going on trips, He thinks
(quite rightly) that I’d have a horde of my own given the opportunity
*Whats the story behind your moblog username? Why did you choose it?*
Oh everyone knows this as I answered it on spikes moblog ages ago:
Essitam is Matisse backwards, It’s been my online name since school when in
an IT class the teaches asked us to think of a username.All the “cool kids”
were calling themselves “Sexygal1994″ or “hotchick” and as I was neither a
cool kid, sexy girl or an hot chick I wanted something different.
Inspiration was at hand with a huge Matisse display on the wall i was
sitting next to. I wrote it down, I then rewrote it backwards and is stuck!
* What was your childhood obsession? What happened to it?*
I didn’t have one – seriously. I even called my mom when I read this
question to find out if she could remember something I’d forgotten, The only
thing she could come up with was I used to like emptying ashtrays into the
dustbin, Which apparently amused her no end as neither of my parents smoked
and my dad only ever threw loose change in there and according to her I just
one day stopped doing it aged around 3.
*Where do you go to my lovely, when you’re alone in your head? (Filbert
I try not to spend too much time alone in my head I find it a pretty
worrying place at times!
That’s not avoidance either, I’m being serious. I suffer autophobia
(J.F.G.I.) as a symptom of stress/depression caused (according to the people
in the know) by the sudden death of my Dad when I was just a little Steph.
So I avoid being left alone for too long when I can help it. I’m better now
than I used to be. At one point the panic attacks were so bad I would be
physically sick – now I just sulk lots and get snappy if I’m left alone for
*If you had to draw a moblog family (and friend) tree, who would you be
linked to, and how?*
Oh now this could be quite interesting, If i were to be literal about this
then there is:
Who are all really (or via James) related to me in some way and registered
mobloggers and then real life friends (as in people I see in the flesh with
the family mobloggers)
Dicko – although I’m sure he should fall under family
Rich (not the one with Elvis)
Then there are the mobloggers who I’ve met in person purely through moblog,
at meets, if cafes (Dhamaka) in shopping centres (Nige) etc. I’m not going
to list them all as I’ve already rambled on too much but my ultimate moblog
family are my ultimate real life family:
Me + James + The Blonde Kid