6 Months…. Really?

Whoah, you turn your back for a little while and it seems over six months have gone in the blink of an eye.

I guess that’s a good thing. I haven’t been on here moaning and whinging, it’s been good things.

Despite the lack of reporting, it’s been far from boring. So much has changed in a relatively short space of time.

It’s been the summer school holidays, half term, Christmas holidays. The boys are now on half term of the winter term.

It’s been the birthdays, Christmas. Happy times. Busy times.

We have the new kitchen.

We have 6 new additions to the family. Mario, Bowser, Koopa and Yoshi – the 4 male degu’s that Liam wanted for his birthday. Then we have Goldie and Steve – James’ new goldfish.

I have a new job working as a waitress in a very quintessential English tea shop – a place I have always wanted to work.

Hubby now runs his department at work. Since January he has been the manager of the renewable energy part of the water company he works for.

James and Liam are no longer under Special Needs assistance at school apart from occasional visits from the speech therapist.

Matthew is now at secondary school and has settled in very well and is very happy there.

We’ve had a few trips from the tooth fairy. James’ front tooth has finally come through. It has always been a concern that it wouldn’t from the time he injured his mouth/gum as a toddler.

The boys in general are growing, developing, changing, learning and becoming ever more happy and confident within themselves and their surroundings.

Friendships have changed. Work and circumstances have changed. But it’s been really good.

Health for us all at the moment remains good. I can’t ask for more than that.

I’m going to stop for now but I will be back soon as I’ve missed my blog and my 30 minutes of escape every few days.

Life Is Good

My last couple of posts have been a little, well, ya know, thoughtful to say the least but overall, we’re good over here.

The kids are loving the school holidays, They really enjoyed their holiday in Somerset and so did hubby and I. The apartment we had was actually a two storey house. It was AMAZING inside and out. This was the view from our balcony that overlooked the lake.

IMG_20150717_150054Inside, it was tastefully decorated and very much to my liking.

IMG_20150717_144601784IMG_20150717_144625319IMG_20150717_144706941_HDRNot bad for a week away huh?

There were plenty of green spaces for the children to play. James and Liam spent afternoons taking part in kids clubs that involved a treasure hunt – Pirate themed of course and a games afternoon and a mini sports day.

IMG_20150717_145945 IMG_20150718_092012457The kids were even able to hire scooters for the break,

The weather was great, the outside pool was cooler than last year but still great fun and a lovely sight.

IMG_20150718_135545648Matthew got a once in a lifetime opportunity to train and then dance with Diversity, winners of 2011 Britain’s Got Talent. Before getting a certificate, a wrist band and a photo with the dancers.

matthew diversityThe only problem with the whole thing was that we sat through nearly 2 hours of training and dancing to the first verse and chorus Uptown Funk. That SONG is going to be the death of me. I really never want to hear it again.

The little ones got a little star struck when they met the camp mascot Billy Bear. They got a big high five each then we followed him to the funfair,

IMG_20150719_122645792IMG_20150719_122719149Before getting a picture taken at his statue.

IMG_20150719_123229461One evening we took a stroll off camp to the nearby harbour. It was a lovely walk and so serene.

IMG_20150719_193045299_HDRIMG_20150719_194755790_HDRIMG_20150719_194738737_HDR IMG_20150719_194745332Another evening hubby and I went out into the town on our own for a meal out whilst Mum in law looked after the boys. Matthew had evenings to himself. He wasn’t really interested in the shows so made friends and spent the evening playing football on the sports field. He was given a 9pm curfew and was with us at 8.55pm every evening. I was so proud of him. He took his mobile, used his alarm and showed great time management skills. I was very impressed.

Ugh, July Be Gone, You’ve Not Been The Best Month

I don’t say it often but I’m ready for this month to be over. I’m glad we’re almost at August. While we’ve been away and had a truly amazing family holiday, the remainder of the month has been rather full of sadness and questions.

In the few days before our holiday we heard that SIL had had another miscarriage. I held off saying anything until recently as they had their first miscarriage in February and sadly, this baby suffered the same fate at 17.5 weeks. He was a little boy and was named after family.

Then of course, a month ago today Matthews dad passed away though we didn’t hear about it until a week later. I eventually spoke to the coroner who confirmed he was a well known drinker with the police and was also known for being a ketamine addict. A funeral had already taken place and we are awaiting toxicology tests to find out the true cause of death. From what I’ve read, Alcohol and Ketamine is a lethal combination so, as wrong as it sounds, technically for his lifestyle his death was very much down to natural causes. Not for the majority of us, but for the way he lived, it sounds as though he may have had one dangerous cocktail too many.

I still think about it, about him, regularly.

I’m NOT in mourning. I still feel bad about that.

I am however, very very sad about the situation and realise he never was ready to change or accept help. Whether it was because he was in denial of ever having a problem or even just had that “It’ll never happen to me” attitude I’ll never know.

I feel bad we never tried to call him before his death. It had been several months.

On Fathers day he called my mum to ask why Matthew hadn’t called him to wish him a happy fathers day.Not that we ever had, but he was thinking of his boy that day. We never returned the call. 13 days later he died. I personally feel responsible for not making that call. As much as Matthew didn’t want to, I could have made him.

Not that it would have made any difference with his lifestyle. It’s just one little bit of guilt I carry.

I’ve not had the courage to tell Matthew that drugs were probably involved. He’s asking enough questions about drugs at the moment. Kids talk at school of certain kids claiming to smoke weed at age 11 is something I don’t think my child should be getting the story of but I know he’s reaching a difficult age and a new stage of life where he will not be so sheltered.

IF the toxicology report shows that drugs were involved in his dad’s death then I will be honest with him. Maybe it will scare him off drugs ever more, he knows they are bad and cause people to behave in otherwise unacceptable manners but maybe knowing someone close did actually die of drugs will strike home the dangers rather than the lure of the excitement of what may be. But that’s if the Ketamine was a factor in his dads death. If it wasn’t he doesn’t need to know,. It must be hard enough knowing your dad was an alcoholic without the added knowledge he was a drug user too.

Addiction ruins lives. It really is as simple as that.

Not just for the addict but for the people they leave behind and the questions left unanswered.The “Whys?” and the burden of someone living with the feeling that could they have done more to help? Could they have supported them better? Could they have done things differently?

In truth, deep down I know I couldn’t have done more. I had to put myself and child first when I left him.

Nine years on, he hadn’t averted from that path and I cannot and will not blame myself though the thought is always at the back of my mind. I’d have never stayed with him, taken him back AGAIN or become best friends, but I still live with the fact I turned my back on an addict. A man with problems far deeper than I’d ever been able to help him with by myself.

It’s just a sad situation which has concluded a big chapter of my life.

Numbers.

Besides the last post, alot has been happening in recent weeks. I’ve really been neglecting my poor old blog.

1. I’m driving again. Yes, me! The Car-o-phobe in me has been subdued due to having a car of my own. Yes, it all sounds shocking but I’ve addressed my fears. Hubby bought me a little old automatic car and I love it. It’s small enough for me and I have no gears to worry about. It was gears that slowed me down. It was gears that caused rolling back on hills, stalling at junctions, those dreaded hill starts. My little car has given me confidence I’ve never had in a manual. I feel like I CAN drive.

2. After a miscarriage early in the year, SIL is pregnant again. Due early January 2016 we’re all very excited. Especially since the boys cousin Nelson was born a good few days late and finally arrived on James’s birthday and well, this baby is due a few days before Matthews. Could we have 2 sets of cousins sharing birthdays?

3. My nan’s dementia is getting worse. She needs help but doesn’t see it. She’s getting to be hard work but won’t accept any help. We’re all accused of all sorts for making suggestions to make her life easier. She just doesn’t see herself as an 82 year old woman who is getting weaker and not coping with day to day stuff.

4. I’ve been offered some new jobs. Basically, the restaurant was cutting my hours due to business slowing in the summer as no-one wants to be in a hot restaurant eating curry on a hot night. I was getting sent home from shifts and being told not to come in at such short notice that I was getting annoyed by it so I was a bit sneaky, went off looking for something else and easily found work elsewhere. BUT I love my restaurant job. So speaking to the manager, telling him I have other options, got things moving in the right direction. Already my hours have risen again and business is slowly beginning to pick up again. All good and I don’t have to change jobs.

5. MATTHEW HAS FINISHED PRIMARY SCHOOL.

6. This week Matthew is on his transition week up to Secondary school. He is looking forward to it. I’m a little nervous. I can’t believe my first born is so grown up already!

7. We go on holiday at the end of this week. I sure as hell need it.

8. We’ve been having visits from the tooth fairy this month. James lost his first tooth on a Thursday. He put the tooth under his pillow, the tooth fairy delivered £2 and put the tooth in a safe place. James woke up very excited on the Friday with his money. On Saturday, Liam handed me something. He put in my hand a little tooth. “Where did this come from?” Mummy asked, afraid that the Tooth Fairy was rubbish and hadn’t disposed of it in the right manner. To which Liam showed me a big bleeding gap in his mouth. We didn’t even know that it had been wobbly! We were so focussed on James’s wobbly tooth, that he was really proud of we didn’t suspect anything with Liam as he hadn’t said anything at all so it was a real surprise (and left mummy with a sense of guilt and neglect of not knowing this was occurring with baby boy) Since then, Liam, has lost his second tooth. He was worried because he couldn’t find it and he says it came out in bed. We did wonder if he’d swallowed it, he was very worried he had swallowed it but the tooth fairy still left his money and the tooth turned up in the bedroom 2 days later. James is still waiting for tooth number 2 to come out.

9. Monday I took James to the dentist for the first time. He had an accident as a toddler which meant that his top front tooth was knocked upwards and is now embedded just in front of the gum bone. It’s been a little uncomfortable for him recently so we thought we’d get it checked out. I arrived at the appointment on Monday to be told I was a day early. Last week was truly one of those weeks! My head was everywhere. But they fitted him in and said that if it caused a lot of problems, the only way to solve the tooth in the gum issue would be to surgically remove it. We’ve known this some time. I explained we’d come because of the discomfort and I was worried that it was because his teeth are on the move it was because the new tooth was struggling to drop down. The dentist didn’t think that was the case as the tooth embedded was not directly in line with where the tooth would be pushing from. Phew. So, after 4 years of waiting we’re a little clearer that the tooth underneath may not have been damaged and will fill his gap as it should. We’re done for 6 months and it will be under review so we have a clearer picture come January of what will actually happen.

10. Finally, weight loss update.  To date, since May 2013 I have now lost a grand total of 90 (NINETY) pounds or 6st 6lbs in English conversion and have gone from a size 24-26 to a svelte and comfortable 16. It feels so good. On Tuesday I really want to make that 6.5 stone mark and my 4st Slimming World award. Then I’m on holiday and expect a gain with that but then after that I’m going for the 100lbs target and be in the next stone bracket down for my anniversary week with hubby in Dublin in August. I’ve got the motivation, I’ve got the drive and I find summer months easier to stay focussed and get results. Watch this space. 🙂

Numb.

My ex husband died recently.

Last Saturday I had to tell my oldest son that his dad had died.

We don’t know much more other than it was somehow linked to alcohol.

For those who don’t know my back story, my ex was a daily drinker. He never saw that he had a problem. Not just a drinker, he was an angry drinker who didn’t think twice about mouthing off or getting into fights when drunk.  He’d spend nights in the cells and that’s why, I made him leave. We never had the best relationship but I tried my hardest to make it work, to offer support, to get him help. All which he rebuked. However, with a baby, I wasn’t prepared for my son to grow up that way. I wasn’t prepared for myself to go through the same situation repeatedly either.

He got violent a couple of times. Again, I urged him to get help. I threatened to leave, repeatedly to only suffer further control from him and mental abuse to the point I felt too weak to find that I would ever have the courage I needed to seek a better life.

One day, enough was enough, a fight too many and another attack meant that I had to take control. He had his hands around my neck as I was trying to calm down a crying toddler. He ripped the phone from the socket as I tried to call the police and then backed down and walked off, slamming the door behind him as if nothing had happened. The police turned up, blue lights flashing after my call had been abruptly cut short. A woman in tears claiming she was being attacked by her husband and feared for herself and toddler was enough to get an emergency reaction. When they arrived,  I was still shaking. Furious, This time I took their advice. Decided to push charges and made an appointment to get an emergency court injunction stopping him from coming to the house or anywhere near me in the street.

Whilst I was talking to the police, he came back, started an argument with them and ended up getting himself arrested – saving the police from having to find him to arrest him.

After that the nasty phone calls didn’t stop but I felt enlightened to be free. To be rid. As hard as they were, in the months that followed I felt happier and more confident than I had in years. I was rediscovering myself to who I was rather than who he wanted me to be.

He kept contact with his son, he had visiting rights to see him within the company of my parents at their home as he was still advised to be kept away from me at all times.

Those first few months were hard. I felt guilty for turning my back on him, knowing it was the alcohol that made him a nightmare. But it was a nightmare I had control over getting out of. I just had to be strong and think of my little boy.

He always had this power, that no matter what, you felt bad for him. He was really charming and at times, so funny but you’d forget that as the bad memories always outweighed the good.

When I first met hubby, my ex and I were on speaking terms and he’d occasionally see Matthew. Hubby and his first meeting was memorable. Not happy to accept I’d moved on and met someone else, he used the meeting with Matthew as an excuse to try and pick a fight. Hubby and I were wise to his ways, and when hubby stood up to him, that was the moment I knew I wanted to be with him for good. I had a man ready to defend me, to not be intimidated by my ex and was willing to support me and Matthew with the baggage of my ex.

Over the years, contact became more and more strained. The ex didn’t like having to have other adults present when he wanted to see his son. This had been part of the divorce agreement that all contact must be supported as I couldn’t trust him with a small child not to drink around him or be a nuisance.

The last time we really saw him was about 7 years ago. Despite phone contact, Matthew did not receive one birthday card or christmas card, let alone a present in those years. Matthew never wanted to talk to him on the phone but when he did, his dad would cry, tell him he loved him and end up getting angry and swearing so Matthew never wanted to repeat the call in a hurry. At the end of the call, he’d want to talk to me, telling me I was the best thing that ever happened to him and he lost that through his own stupid fault. He was unhappy living in London but had nothing better to look toward. Then it would be my fault why Matthew never talked to him, that I’d been telling him lies, that I didn’t want him to have contact. Believe me I tried, but I didn’t want to force Matthew into it when it made him nervous and unhappy every time.

Whatever I did was wrong!!!! That’s how the whole relationship felt from beginning to end.

This year, we really haven’t had much contact at all. The last we heard from him, he called my mum on Fathers Day asking Matthew to give him a call. We were away at the time and never got round to calling him. Not that it was an easy task, he often changed numbers and we couldn’t contact him due to the phone having no signal or being cut off due to unpaid bills.

This Saturday, one of his old friends turned up at my mums house and explained that he’d been contacted as my ex had died on the 27th June and the police were struggling to find relatives to report the death to.

My mum phoned me the same evening just before I went to work. I was in a state of shock and I suppose I still am.

As much as you want to help a person, if that person doesn’t see they have a problem, they will never accept help. As much as you want to support them, they will say they are fine.

As much as you tell them, one day you’ll end up dead because of this, they never believe it.

As much as I said it to him myself, I never really expected that one day to come around.

How do I feel now?

Numb.

Confused.

Guilty.

All of the above because I feel like I should be more upset. Because I feel that with the marital history that I should grieve for my sons dad but I can’t. I grew so hardened by his behaviour that I just don’t know what I should feel.

It upsets me to think he may have died alone. It upsets me to think his family can’t be contacted. It upsets me that I worry he took on someone too big and was killed in a fight. It upsets me to wonder what will happen if they can’t find his family and he’ll have to have a council organised funeral. As his ex wife, I don’t feel like it should be my job to take on that responsibility.

It all upsets me, but I just can’t show it. I care but can’t take on the role of the grieving ex or take on what his family should be doing. Even for the sake of Matthew, it shouldn’t come down to an 11 year old child being the next of kin.

Sunday I was teary as it settled in but other than that I’ve felt very little other than worry about Matthew. He seems to be taking it fine too. A couple of teary days for him, a good few hugs and lots of time with me and hubby, keeping things as normal as possible at school and with a few things to look forward to in the next few weeks means he’s coping rather well. It’s not like they were close, had anything in common or had even seen each other in 7 years so Matthew is sad he’ll never have the chance to get to know him when he’s older, but he never wanted to get to know the man he has been in contact with all these years either.

His possessive and controlling nature, meant that I never felt that I anything I did was good enough. Everything I did was questioned. Where had I been? Who had I seen? Who was that I was talking to on the phone? Was I seeing someone behind his back? Then came the jibes, Of course I wasn’t seeing anyone else, who else would want me? Who else would look after a single mum? Why would they want to? Things just chipped and chipped away for 4 years. Maybe that’s why I feel I have no emotion regarding his death.

I feel bad because, I always told him and I meant it, that what happened between us in the past happened. I don’t hate him. I don’t hold a grudge. All I wanted for him was to sort himself out and find happiness. That’s all I ever wanted for him.

I still don’t hate him.

Did I ever forgive him? Not really.

Will I ever forget? No

But I didn’t want him to end up like this.

I truly wanted a good future for him, but it was something he had to take control of for himself. Like the day I chose to end our marriage and put me and Matthew first.

It’s really sad it’s come to this, he could have made things turn around. He could have made a better life for himself but he couldn’t give up the alcohol and now I’ve got to keep telling myself, there’s nothing I could have done differently. This would have still happened at some point. Matthew would have taken it much harder if they were close, so as much as I feel that maybe I should have made Matthew make that last call just after fathers day, that I should have tried to do this or that etc. It’s all If’s and Maybe’s and wouldn’t change a thing.

Sometimes, as hard as it is to accept, things happen. His lifestyle certainly didn’t help and I feel that I can now look upon his death as a very very final chapter in that phase of my life.

It’s strange though. I’ve said it before and will keep saying it, as much as I write about my experiences of domestic violence and mental abuse, I almost see myself in the third person. It seems surreal like it was never really me that had those experiences. I have become so far removed from those memories, there are many I’ve forgotten. There are many I choose not to talk about but it seems so long ago and distanced from me now, it’s almost as if it was another person it all happened to. I suppose I was a very different person back then but it’s hard to believe that I went through and endured so much and to come out of it on a completely different level of happiness.

This has just become one big ramble and I thought, maybe if I wrote about things then I’d have more feeling towards his sudden and untimely death but I can’t grieve for a person who gave me years of fear and feeling bad about myself. He was just someone I spoke to on the phone the last few years.

He wasn’t the man I fell in love with all those years ago. We met when we were both very social. We both drank a fair bit but it worked at the time. Then I had a baby. My life changed entirely. His didn’t. He’d become a bully and his behaviour had worsened over the years.

I want to feel more, I feel heartless and cruel. I feel like despite the life I had with him, I’m the one who has done something wrong yet again and will feel that burden in time to come. I want to feel more but I’m just too numb and emotionally tired for it right now.

Rest in peace, C. I hope wherever you are now brings you the happiness you never had on earth.

James’s School Progress

IMG_20150527_122322104_HDRThis week, I had a meeting at the school regarding the decision of James not being accepted for one to one educational needs.

The inspector who deals with these things came along and went through the decision. Basically, James is NO WHERE NEAR an exceptional case. Going into his file, he is about 2 TERMS behind other kids in his class. The struggles he has are very much in line with the “normal” guidelines and she herself would expect to find at least 2 children in every class with the same difficulties regarding concentration, struggling to write and being behind on reading.

The school were concerned about James not currently being in the “stage 1” category for year 1. His levels on reading, writing and maths are still on “P” levels (paediatric – younger years levels). James is currently sitting at P8, P7 and P8 respectively. She explained that it’s normal for children to be one stage behind in writing and on her sheet of levels, there were 4 categories of levelling.  Section A: regards the children at a “average” and “above average” level (ie 1C. 1B, 1A), Section B: P8, P7, P6.  Section C: P5, P4, P3 and Section D: P2 and below.

James falls into Section 2, areas of SLIGHT concern. For him to get one to one help and the school to get additional funding (Which I am sure is the REAL reason for all this) James needs to have at least one level in section D, and the other marks in Section C.

She even said that in many schools, James would not even be getting extra help in class as he is at the moment as he is still in a reasonable band for his learning. Being a little behind is common in the younger years, especially age 6 when the concentration of a young child is still work in progress and a learning curve that lasts years so she is not at all concerned that he isn’t taking things in.

Further to that, with the difficulties James does have, the school have some programmes already in place to help him with the things he finds hard. He has speech therapy, extra physical activities and extra writing help to get him better with his fine motor skills. As the school are doing all the right things, the powers above see no need for extra provisions.

James is continuously improving. His reading is really strong all of a sudden and he is learning rather quick. He is asking many questions now relating to what he has done in the classroom this week. I don’t know if we will get another report at the end of the year with revised learning levels but I am so proud of my little man and how he has progressed this year.

Picture Post For Summer Half Term Break

IMG_20150527_100315792You always can tell with me when life is good. I tend to be too busy to update and feel that I have so much to say.

Last week was half term week so we went down to Sussex for a couple of days with the kids.

IMG_20150527_095914068

The weather was gorgeous as pictures in this post will show and the kids had so much fun. We had a lot of giggles, a lot of family time and made new memories for the future.

IMG_20150526_113037978We did just about everything we could fit in. A day trip to the seaside resort of Hastings where we had a trip on a Cliff Lift. Something I would have been to afraid of going on in the past but with kids, you seem to put your fears aside and encourage them to try new things. To teach your kids to be brave is to teach yourself to be brave.IMG_20150526_113702320_HDR

It was an incredibly steep incline both up and down but I did it.

IMG_20150526_113246271The view from the top was amazing as was the view through the glass doors.

We took the kids swimming one afternoon, here are Liam and Matthew waiting for the pool to open.

IMG_20150528_171219The kids took part in the entertainment kids competitions every evening. They really enjoyed themselves. They are growing up so fast and love to just take part in things for the fun of it all. They never won any prizes but loved the evenings out.

We did mini golf a couple of times on a pirate themed golf course which of course, the boys loved and I learnt that I am a pretty good aim when it comes to mini golf.

IMG_20150526_144203285My Liam absolutely LOVES penguins. They have always been his favourite animal so he really wanted to have his picture taken with this penguin……….

IMG_20150528_171316…………..Even though it’s a bin.

We returned home on Thursday and called in at my nana’s as she was celebrating her 82nd birthday. We got her a little cake and this gorgeous bunch of flowers.

IMG_20150528_170853088_HDRThe weekend was a set of mixed emotions as we lost a very close family friend. He lived next door to us for 20 years and worked with my dad 15 years prior to that. He and my dad played darts together every week too. He was only 61 and had been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer just before christmas. He went to the Doctors with what he thought was a chest infection from a cold and it all went so quick from there.  It still seems so surreal that he’s gone, just thinking that 6 and a half months ago, we all thought he was “fine” and he was harbouring this. He really was a lovely man with kids the same age as myself and younger brother with 5 grandkids. Sometimes life just isn’t fair like that.  It hits home when it’s so close to home and your own parents are just a year or two younger.

Then this weekend, I made the biggest purchase of my life!!! (Aside from the house) We’ve put down a big deposit for a brand new kitchen. Eeek.

We are having these cupboards (minus the glass doors), the same door handles and finished off with a pine worktop.

kitchenWe don’t get that beautiful work station on the left as that’s where we have a door way. We are having a built in oven and hob and cooker hood. And the tall cupboard on the left will actually be on the right for us to separate the kitchen from the dining room as a partition and the oven will actually be in the middle of the unit with a cupboard above and a cupboard beneath it. The hob and hood will be central like in the picture and our sink is under the window.

It won’t be installed until the end of August but I will post pictures.

My perfect little country cottage will soon have it’s own little country kitchen to be proud of.

And yes, I MUST have those brick tiles on the wall, we just need to decide on the colour.