Hello friends. How nice to be here talking to you again. I woke up this morning with the urge to write to you tingling in my fingertips and a person cannot be expected to resist a tingle now can a person, even if she has declared herself to be on her annual August holiday from all things online!
So today, a pint mug of coffee for the sheer hell of it, and the world’s tiniest cinnamon bun. A rush of desire for order. The sweeping away of what can no longer be allowed to take up space in my head. The return to routine and ritual, and oh the joy of Finley’s eighteenth birthday to prepare for in three weeks time.
I can hardly get my head around it. How on earth could it be possible that we have raised a man? And such a clever, thoughtful creative man at that? My Mum would have been so very proud of him, for he is exactly what we hoped for when we would go for out for our Friday trips while I was pregnant, walking and dreaming up this lovely, funny man together. Imagining who he would be. I have been so very blessed by him: and he has been my rock in a year we simply couldn’t have predicted. Nor may ever understand.
Today then. The house still immaculate after frenzied efforts because the community mental health team came yesterday to see Ste and will in the weeks ahead be the lifeline we have long needed. Frenzied efforts because my (mad) brain said an unordered house must not be pinpointed as to blame for his distress, though my heart told me that this bright, sunny house could never be that.
How quick I am though to imagine that I, or my failings as a homemaker, a partner, a mother or a daughter must ALWAYS be to blame, even when all evidence points otherwise. When surfaces gleam and candles glow. Beds are made and every child in the house is washed! How fast I say “Well now, this must be my fault because the cupboard under the stairs is all manner of crazy, and heckity pie isn’t that enough to tip a person over?“.
I do believe this sort of nonsense is the ludicrous affliction of many a woman. She who feels responsible for ALL THE THINGS and in her failing to see that she could not possibly be to blame for much of that she has decided to accept responsibility for, seeks within her stressed self to allocate a reason.
Kid off the rails? That will be because ten years ago, I sent her to school in ankle socks that didn’t match.
Roof falling in? Well yep. That makes sense. I’m dreadfully neglectful. I left the dishes sitting in the sink last night!
Husband gone bonkers? Honestly who would blame him? I sing in the shower and burnt last night’s cottage pie.
Yup. We women get muddled. In the midst of worrying, our brains decide to help us out by providing a reason. A reason that isn’t true, but is a reason all the same and we like reasons don’t we?. Reasons are useful. We can work with them in quite the crazy fashion: serving up the perfect pie, making sure the kitchen sink is always Flylady spotless, deciding that variety is NOT the order of the day and buying the same socks for the rest of our lives.
Heavens to Betsey if only we could see straight. For this way the long-lived destructive reign of perfectionism lies and freedom can only be found once we accept that some things are out of our hands and that no amount of licking the floor clean will prevent calamity, because that is not how life works.
Today then. A decision taken between the whole household that we can no longer function without a kitchen bin and that a dishwasher mender must be called upon in order to save all our sanities. A makeshift meal of last night nights pasta re-invigorated and baked with bacon lardons and Blacksticks Blue. A long discussion about whether mealworms or peanuts will attract a better class of bird. So much of the small stuff of life that I have missed in the past few months. An abundance of all that makes me feel like our world is possible all over again.
It has been a difficult year. And I have raged against much that has been difficult, distressing and simply irritating. I have fought and fiddled and hoped and screamed. And now I am here. On the precipice of being the Mother of a man, not a child. On anti-depressants simply to quell the chaos that had become my head. Ste now home more often he is not, though there can be no pressure on that score, for now we are in the stages of tentative diagnosis, the boat must not be rocked. Friends falling apart and coming back together. Some moving away. Some starting new careers. Some making such brave decisions I want to stop and applaud them and then pack my case and go with them!
In August I am always ready for the beginning of what I have long considered the real New Year: September. This year, there are things I can neither fix nor change and acceptance matters more than the constant clenching of distressed fists. And so I enter my New Year, changed but still with fingers crossed that Ste will be soothed by diagnosis and decent treatment, Finn will embrace manhood with all the same creativity and joy he brought to the blessing that has been his childhood, and that in a place it seems I will never be able to reach him again, my Dad is happy and well.
Now. A trip to the nature reserve that has become my personal sanctuary. A walk through the trees and then ten minutes sat staring over the lake in the bird twitching hut. Enjoying the bliss of silence and the busy attention of Mother Ducks over their many babies. A detour on the way home to acquire said kitchen bin, a bunch of sunflowers from the roadside stand, and a cake baked by she who bakes much better than I can at Rosebud Farm.
Later an evening with Finn. Watching wrestling, and Loki and 21 Pilots for that is how we communicate him and I: through time we carve out for each other in pursuit of the kind of interests he has made mine too. Nibbling popcorn and setting the world to rights in the kind of deep conversations I know so few Mums are blessed with, by teenage boys.
How lucky I feel today. All this, a cinnamon bun and a new kitchen bin.