Belated Birthdays

By Alison November 14, 2008 No Comments 5 Min Read

Two weeks ago my Dad turned sixty and during the not so surprise party we threw for him at his house, he felt the urge to prove that he was in fact sixty going on six and thus more than capable of standing on his head. (Oh to be as ridiculously gorgeous as he is…).
While Daddy was dragged kicking and screaming into bus pass territory, BrocanteHome also had a birthday (my blogaversary!) and it struck me that those first few days of blogging now seem a million years ago. Vintage Housekeeping as the blog phenomenon it is now, didn’t exist, because until I discovered Typepad I had not yet coined the term that would, to my eternal astonishment, eventually spread like wildfire and have women on two continents happy to declare themselves Vintage Housekeepers, mostly now unaware that it is in BrocanteHome that Vintage Housekeeping has it’s roots. That is was little old me who invented it! The same little old me that littered her every sentence with the word Scrumptious!
Four years ago my little boy was just one, Mark was still putting in an excellent show as dedicated husband-to-be, and the yellow walls of my living room were a blissfully crayon free zone…
Life felt… certain, in a way I have now forgotten it is possible for tomorrow to be.

Now the world is a whole different shape and nothing feels certain anymore. Though I hate to admit that it is upon a man’s head that my security depends, it is absolutely true to suggest that my long held sense of certainty was deeply compromised the day Mark left. And it was indeed this very personal trauma that almost compromised the future of BrocanteHome, for how was I, who defined myself as Finn’s Mummy, Marks “wife”, to continue writing, when it was possible that life through my rose tinted glasses wasn’t what it seemed? I was scared. I was worried you would think me a fraud, when sadly, stupidly, Marks leaving was as much of a shock to me as I know it was to you…
But you held my hand didn’t you? And because of that astonishing cosy blanket of virtual friendship, BrocanteHome in all it’s silly, frivolous glory still exists today. And I thank you from the bottom of my stitched up heart for that…
There has of course been much to learn. I am a different woman to who I used to be. Not better. Just different. It would not be true to say that I am glad Mark left us. But I would be lying if I also pretended that there haven’t been good times had and important lessons learned in the years since he went. I have after all had to confront myself in a way that I would never have needed to as part of the couple we once were. There is the immense closeness Finley and I have enjoyed. The independence gained. A friendship with Kath that would perhaps have not been quite so strong were it not that we were united in grief for the families we thought we were going to be. And there was Scott wasn’t there? There was Scott, and I wouldn’t have missed how it feels to be loved like that for the whole of New England.
Throughout it all, there has been BrocanteHome. There has been you. There has been Vintage Housekeeping and though it has meant clinging on by the skin of my teeth to keep it, there has been this house. My home. The very reason this blog exists. And though life was rude enough to get in the way, and my natural giddiness means my work is inconsistent and occasionally a little bonkers, BrocanteHome has not yet reached the dizzy heights I fully expected it to, though my hopes and dreams for it remain exactly the same today as they did when I pressed publish on my first post …
This morning Finley is, for the first time this term, off sick after eating a cake he didn’t know he shouldn’t at a party Mark took him to at the weekend.The suite covers are hanging from makeshift washing lines across the dining room after unfortunate run ins with a sick little babba, currently to be found hot,  grumpy and cute, in a ball on my knee. The house is warm and steamy and lit by lots of little tea lights hiding amongst the books on my bookshelves, and we are both still in pyjamas, though both Mark and Kath have called in to drop off essential supplies like butter and crumpets, magazines and sweeties for a little boy who can’t face food. Life is as it always has been. Life is how it is in a million little terraced cottages across the land. A Shepherds Pie in the oven and Christmas at Fairacre on my bedside. Life is OK, it is a little bit lovely and when it hurts and feels uncertain it is because none of us know what tomorrow will bring. The other day Mark said, the thing with you Alison is that you don’t seem to need anybody.. or want anything….and perhaps he’s right. This has always been enough. I am perhaps a bizarre specimen, spilling out my guts, living out loud, and relying almost entirely upon my own, well honed instincts.
I can’t decide whether this is the way to live your life: I only know that it is here with my baby and my laptop on my knee and a house lit with candles that I am at my most content. That I hope the lesson I have taught you all has been that gratitude is what separates those of  us capable of seeking tiny daily joys and those of us who dwell in bitterness and regret.
Joy. That is what I hope BrocanteHome means to you. Because it matters. Joy is what makes my Daddy capable of standing on his head when life is hard and when all is said and done he is, and always has been, my inspiration.
I am my Father’s daughter. Though I beg to differ, he insists we have the same noses.

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