Dare to dream

I wake early, just as the morning light is starting to glow outside the window. I stretch and feel the warm strength of the body next to me. I turn carefully to see the night black hair and beard and caramel skin. I inflate with love as I breath him in.

Cautious not to wake him, I gently remove him hand from my waist and he turns over in the movement so I can see his toned back. I smile. I’m so happy.

I get up and dressed then quietly leave the house, dog bounding in front of me. The morning is warm but there is a cool bite to the breeze.

I return 30 minutes later, relishing in the fresh air and the warmth to my muscles. I feed and water the dog and jump in the shower.

I’m still amazed that I’ve managed to keep the weight off. I’m definitely not perfect, but I’m fitter and slimmer fitter than I’ve ever been. I dry off and wrap the towel around me and go back tonight room.

He’s still asleep. As I towel dry and brush my hair, I watch him knowing that I must wake him soon. I moisturise my body and just as I reach down for my underwear, I hear his voice deep and sleepy, calling my back to bed.

I crawl in next to him and I feel so happy, excited and content as his arms circle me, our legs entwine and I feel his soft, soft kisses. Before long, we are making love.

Too soon, we are getting up. Whilst he showers, I go down and make breakfast and put something in the slow cooker for later.

He comes down and I inhale when I see his black hair, wet and brushed back. He teases me and we laugh. I hurriedly drink tea whilst he eats before I leave the house for work.

I arrive home before him. I check our dinner, before changing and doing some chores. He arrives home and kisses me sweetly before changing and lying on the couch.

Just before dinner is ready, he gets up and sets the table and we sit and eat together, talking about our day. After clearing up together, we both sit on the couch, his legs in my lap. I catch-up on a few emails whilst he plays on his phone but after half an hour, he calls his parents. I speak to them briefly, missing them, and telling them that we will be over to visit soon. I leave him to talk to them and go upstairs to put away some washing and freshen up.

Before long, he has followed me upstairs and he grabs me, kissing me and slapping my bottom in jest. He changes and we lock the house before getting in the car.

He loves his car. It’s one of the first things he saved up for and it is his pride and joy. We drive for around half an hour, music playing with words I think I will never understand, and arrive at the seaside town.

After checking and double checking he’s locked the car, we start to walk hand in hand. We stroll towards the beach and walk along the promenade in the fading light. I know people look at him – I love to look at him! – but the squeeze of his hand and his jokes and laughter make me know I am the only one for him.

We make our way to a bar and sit outside drinking soft drinks and talking and laughing. Soon we are heading home.

As I put a load of washing om, he takes the dog out. When he returns, we lock up and head to our bedroom. He turns on the TV as he lies on bed and I sit and take my makeup off. I then get in alongside him, and read a little, my head resting on his chest. My eyes begin to droop and so I put my book down and kiss him softly. He turns off the TV and we kiss a little before I turn and go to sleep: he puts his headphone in and plays on his phone whilst I sleep.

I wake in the morning to his body holding me tight and his hands caressing my skin. We make love again, slowly and luxuriously, and then I reluctantly get up to shower.

I make coffee and take the dog in the garden whilst I drink it. Before long, he joins me outside and drinks his tea whilst we plan the day ahead.

He takes the dog out for a run whilst I prepare breakfast and call my children to check when they will arrive.

Once again, we eat together and then he goes to clean his car whilst I prepare a picnic. My son arrives during that time and I sit and listen to him whilst I finish preparing.

We have a wonderful day out. I love watching him with my son and the relationship they are building. They are friends and I am so happy to see how relaxed they are – that is until their competitive side comes out!

We arrive home late in the afternoon and the pair of them go on to the xbox whilst I start preparing dinner. During this time, my other children arrive with their other half. The house is filled with laughter and talking.

He helps me prepare the rest of the food and we cook together, listening and laughing at the sibling taunting. Finally, we go outside and eat around the table, nightlights glowing in the garden and the smell of honeysuckle in the air.

As the night turns to chill, we return to the house. My daughter and her partner leave but the rest of us play games for a while before we all return to our rooms.

When I wake in the morning I am alone but see the coffee waiting for me on the bedside table. I can hear him talking to his brother on the phone downstairs amongst the shouts of my son reacting to the game he’s playing. I lazily walk downstairs and am greeted with breakfast and a kiss. We eat and then I get ready for the day.

My family soon arrive and its all hands on deck as we prepare a huge dinner for us all.

As I prepare, I watch as he teases my niece and nephew or talks to my sisters. I feel so much love for everyone here right now. And happy – I’m so, so happy. Life isn’t easy and we have our ups and downs but I knew this moment was worth waiting for.

Time to say goodbye

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Any florists or gardeners out there will not be as impressed of course. This little posy is made from the very few flowers currently growing in my garden.

It’s a symbolic little posy: I like symbolism.

The three red-pink roses are from a rambler that my Dad loved, growing on a fence that he and my uncle build 15 years ago. We placed some of these roses in my Dad’s coffin when he died 4 years and 2 days ago. The purple aquilegia – bright, cheerful and independent – sprout everywhere in my garden, self-seeded by the wind. I hated them at one point for their pesky weed-like determination to flower wherever they wanted. Dad loved them for the same reason. I do now, too.

The yellow iris is actually a water iris that has taken over 3/4 of my pond. My sister threatened to dig them out 5 years ago to my Dad’s protest. She never did and they’ve continued to take over ever since.

The little pink candy-puff flowers, as I call them, were planted by my dad. I think the plant originally came from my uncle, but I’m not sure. Either way, its fluffy cuteness made a welcome addition. Plus, there wasn’t much else I could put in.

The posy was wrapped in a wet piece of kitchen paper, then in foil and then a piece of chiffon ribbon. It went in my handbag.

Throughout the service, I kept checking it was ok..not too squashed as I delved in and out for my tissues. At one point, my son alerted to me to a small aphid crawling on my black cardigan, no doubt from this little bouquet.

At the end, as “Time to say Goodbye” by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli played, tears ran down my face and sobs threatened to erupt into hyperventilation. It was one of my Dad’s favourite songs too and the words were scarily poignant for more than the obvious. I watched the sheer curtains close and the lights dim. As the people in front of me – family – moved out of the crematorium, I pulled out my little posy and stared at it as I blindly walked towards the coffin. Looking up, I asked the funeral director to place it on my uncle’s coffin and I left the building.

He was the last one, the last of my father’s generation.

He was probably my Dad’s best friend and definitely his closest sibling. My Dad respected and trusted him and looked up to him. My uncle visited my Dad on his dying bed, a fact I had forgotten until sat in that crematorium.

My uncle was the hardest working man I knew. He was generous, intelligent and strong. For reasons unexplainable here, I barely saw him in the last few years and I regret that. I have many, many memories of him from my childhood. Memories I will always treasure, like the rose bush he apparently treasured, which I had bought him 10 years ago for his 80th birthday.

Today, I felt like I said goodbye to him and my Dad. I don’t really remember much of my Dad’s funeral and I am the one who organised it. More than that, I feel like I have said goodbye to a whole swathe of life – of my life. There are no holds now, no anchors, nothing left.

I’m too sad today to even know how I feel about that.

Finding happiness

I’ve been in bed for a day and a half.

My yearly – is it hay-fever, is it a cold and now, is it covid – started a few days after I returned. Admittedly, antihistamines did seem to take the edge off but I know if I had started them in February, it probably wouldn’t have hit me so bad. As it is, I have ended up with a mild chest infection and coldsores all over my nose. I was out of condition before I left- no wonder now that I am run down.

So when my children finally went to their Dad’s on Sunday, I succumbed to it and basically stayed in bed until about an hour ago.

Am I unwell? Yes. Could I have have got up and motivated myself? Theoretically, yes. But I was heart-weary and head-weary and body-weary so I didn’t.

I’ve read, and read and read. This is what I used to do, long ago before the responsibilities of being a single mother kicked in. I guess now, it’s only like binge-watching Netflix. So I don’t feel guilty at all. Every cough and snuffle has given me permission. In those books, everything else disappears. And for someone whose head constantly feels like it’s at war with fighting thoughts and emotions and ideas, it feels like bliss to just read.

I still can’t find my happiness.

I’m not stupid, WordPress. One of my biggest fears is being seen as foolish. I’ve heard myself enough times to know that. My hard won intelligence is all I have. I’m not beautiful. I’m not sexy. I’m not socially skilled and surrounded by countless friends. No. I’m average. I’m overweight. I’m alone.

I had a very honest conversation with my mum last week. I’d been writing a post for here, sorting through my thoughts about the future – before I’d allowed realisation to fully take over. I’d considered what my mum had done all those years ago: her new life now, and how we were all bitter about it.

I’m not bitter anymore. Who are we to dictate the life she wants? We have our own lives. Her relationship with her partner is what matters. We will always be here, waiting for her, if she needs us. But finally, I understood, and I wanted her to know.

We talked about the house too and how it feels like a noose around my neck. I’ve never, truly, been able to enjoy this house. For years, my half-family’s jealousy has tainted it, as they have then tainted any relationship I now have with my Dad’s family. I am well and truly the black sheep. And then are all the memories of my Dad. They’re everywhere. And for so long, I couldn’t even stand being out in the garden because of them.

What I’ve realised, lying in my bed in between devouring pages of my book, is why I’ve felt lost for (at least) the past 4 years. Why I still feel lost now.

I made a decision as a child which carried me for 30 years. I decided that I was going to work hard and I was going to care for my parents. I promised myself that I would look after them as they got old and that they wouldn’t have to worry any more. I’d seen their struggles after my Dad’s heart attack. I’d seen their struggles as arthritis crippled my mum. No more.

And you know what? I did it. I worked hard throughout school and college and university. I chose a career that financially made sense, not because it was where my passions lay. A career which would pay off all my student loans and that would give me a lump sum of money after a few years. At every stage of my teaching career, I have said that this would not be my job for the rest of my life. Regardless, I proved myself time and time again. I advanced in my career. I relished in the praise and pride of my family, for the only thing I could do to be noticed positively – advance in my career. Because its the only thing that I was ever noticed for. 

And so, I bought my parents’ house and saved them from debt. I cared for my father until the second he died. I relished in the pride of my family at ‘how well I had done’ and pushed and pushed myself to prove how good I was. I wasn’t accepted by my dad’s family, so I would fight for their respect in a different way.

I did what I thought I should. I got married. I pushed for that marriage too, for acceptance, even though I knew he wasn’t right for me. For a small moment, I had it all. I felt success. I’d bought my parent’s home and was supporting them financially. I had a husband and a career. I had my babies. But that feeling of success was fleeting. I wasn’t happy in my marriage. I wasn’t happy in my work. And whilst I pushed and strived in an attempt to find that happiness, to work for it, I never truly got there as such.

When I had my breakdown, my burnout, seven months before my Dad died, I think I knew. Everything I had worked for was coming to an end. My Dad was dying and no amount of hard work would save him. I’d reached the pinnacle of my career, as far as I wanted to go. And as much as I was succeeding, I was failing too. Because it didn’t matter any more. I had felt my dad’s pride, I’d achieved it. But it couldn’t save him or me.

I’d achieved everything I had set out to do. And when my dad died, I was lost. Nothing has mattered since. Not the house, not my job. I know my evil half-family expected me to pull out this treasure trove of money that I had hidden and renovate the house to unknown splendour when Dad died. There was no money. My money was spent on my family. And once Dad died, this house became just that. A house. A house of memories.

When Dad died, my purpose died. My fight died. I’d had his pride. I’d cared for him. I’d proved myself to him, time and time again. I was a good daughter. I won. Finally, after years of being hated, after years of being the outsider, after years of watching my dad choose my warped and tragic half sister, every time, I’d proved my love to my dad. I was there, every step of the way. I wasn’t a bad person. I didn’t deserve to be so hated and despised. Hated for being born. Hated for being another wedge between his first family and him: the first born. In those final years of his life, I was there for him. I cared for him. I kept my promise.

When he died, nothing mattered any more. My job, the money, my house. For a while, supporting my sisters and my children was my focus. I’ve done that. And they’ve supported me. I no longer feel the need to support them as I once did – we’ve become more equal now as their lives have fallen into place and as mine has come crashing down.

Wildcard said to me, only a month ago, that he couldn’t understand why I tried to be so perfect all the time. I just needed to be myself.

It’s hard to be yourself when you feel like no-one likes you.

It’s hard to be yourself when you’ve strived for so long to be something else, just to gain the love and respect you crave.

It’s hard to be yourself when you don’t know who that is any more.

I’m following the same pattern. I’m fighting for his love and his respect and him. I’m trying to be the best I can be, all the time, so that I don’t have to live with rejection from yet another source.

I want someone to see the good in me. Not because I’ve fought for it. Not because of what it will do for them. But because they can see the person I truly am.

I’m fighting for his love. I’m pushing for his acceptance and commitment because I don’t want to be alone. He is my life.

But I want someone to fight for me. Not too late, like so many have done before. But now.

I can’t plan my life going forward, because I don’t know if he is going to be in it.

Maybe he has his own promises to keep, that’s is why he won’t talk of the future.

All I know, is that I clung to that ring, my ring, in the hope that he was fighting for me. He’s since told me that it ‘was a game’, not serious. That he would propose to me, not with my own ring, but that he will do it properly with the one that he buys. And whilst I love that sentiment, can wish for nothing better, I don’t hold the hope that it will ever happen.

I don’t know when I’m going back. I don’t know if he will ever propose or if he will continue to make excuses. I know that he is still hiding me, his little secret. I know that I am the one pushing the engagement, again. Pushing for acceptance. Pushing to belong. When I’m there, I feel like I belong but the fear that I’m fooling myself overrides any real enjoyment I have.

Problem this time, is I don’t know what else I can do. I can’t make myself younger or more beautiful. I’ve lost weight and gained weight and neither have made a difference because I know I can’t have the body he probably wants me to have. I have no idea what to fight for or strive for to make him want me because I think deep down, I know I can never be that.

And that is why I can’t find my happiness.

Of what we think

“I dreamed that my mother had a baby. I asked whether it was a boy or girl but she wouldn’t tell me, no one would tell me. And then I asked you, and you told me it was a little girl.”

He told me about the dream this morning. Whilst I don’t subscribe to dream dictionaries as such, I do believe in the symbolism of dreams and that we dream of what we think.

Yesterday an earth shattering clang was heard across the land. It was the sound of borders closing again.

Who knows how long for this time? But I believe it played on his mind as much as it is playing on mine and his dream says it.

Our age gap only matters in one distinct area and that is reproduction. I know he wants a baby. He has told me. He has shown me. He loves children. He wants a little girl. He dotes on his cousins and children flock to him, including those in my family.

After my last child, I swore I would never have any more. I was done. But that was before Wildcard. That was before I fell so in love with this man that all I want is to have his baby. Not just for him, but because I want his baby too.

I’m 4 months off 42 years of age.

I know women who have had babies at 42 and older. It happens. But we still seem a long way from that point. He wants to marry first. I get that. I respect that. But it takes time, a lot of it. And I am definitely not getting any younger.

The borders shutting have delayed everything again. Any hope I had of seeing him at Christmas have been destroyed by Omicron, who definitely sounds like some futuristic robot villain.

So my biggest fear, the one which has simmered on for two years like some nasty potent spell of doom, is that he realises that I can never give him the child he wants and he leaves me. Even though he loves me, he leaves me to go off into the baby making sunset with some lithe and fertile youngster.

Covid exacerbated that fear. Omicron is now blowing it up like a huge neon zeppelin for all to see.

And, after he recounted his dream this morning, I have to believe that it is on his mind too. Apparently his mind feels it is still possible. Here’s hoping.

However, his dream added the final kick this morning and I’ve been a bag of nerves ever since. Despite a great day – I’m loving tutoring – those shut bordered are closing in on me.

At the end of our call, I couldn’t help myself.

“Will you wait for me?”

He told me no.

He also told me it was a stupid question so deserved a stupid answer.

Half an hour after our called ended, he sent me a message-

“I love you baby. Stop crying now.”

He knows me so well.

Who, what, where?

So, what life do I want? Who do I want to be?

Is this a midlife crisis – is that what it is? Or is this normal?

Let me take you back 5 years.

In 2016 I was 36 years old. My youngest child was 2. I was still married and my Dad was still alive. I had been promoted to Assistant Headteacher a year before and a new Headteacher was just starting at my school, bring anticipation for good things to come. But…

I was very, very unhappy in my marriage and had been since we had got back together. By the end of October we would have separated for good. My Dad was ill. We knew that we were lucky he was still with us but didn’t know how long we would have with him. Work held promise but was a very negative place. Soon, I would have a burnout from the pressure and stress of my life.

A lot can change in five years. Unexpected things happen. Planned things don’t happen. So much is out of our control but then a lot is in our control, but we don’t realise until it is too late.

In my first 40 years, what did I achieve?

I’m proud of my education and career and how hard I worked.

I’m happy that I was able to support my parents financially

I’m happy about the wonderful home I have and have given my children.

I’m proud of myself for being brave and getting out of an unhappy marriage and surviving.

I’m happy I finally managed to lose weight and keep some off.

I’m proud that I was able to look after my Dad and be there for my sisters.

I’m proud that I was brave enough to look for love again.

I’m proud that I have travelled, and even more so that I have travelled alone.

But what have I not achieved? What dreams and goals and aspirations are outstanding? What have I always wanted to do but not managed? In 40 years time, what do I want my achievements to be?

In five years time, where and who do I want to be?

Time to think.

Return to the doghouse, or, rejection.

I’ve been home a few days now. I did start to write a post about my final day but didn’t know how to finish it.

I slept the majority of the two days I’ve been home so far. I don’t know why. Sure, travel tires you but I don’t normally feel this tired. I hurt my neck in the journey home- my back pack was far too heavy and I felt it pull. Since then I have limited motion to the right and felt sick with the pain. Maybe that’s what is wrong.

And maybe it is a lot of things.

Perhaps it is the state of the house. I left my 17 year old, seemingly mature daughter to take care of the pets. She had friends round and her Dad and aunties checked on her. The house was a mess. Think: sour milk that never got to the fridge, pizza boxes with mouldy pizza in and enough empty soft drink bottles to make a raft. Oh and she hasn’t washed a towel in two weeks. However, the pets are all well and alive so that is something. I’ve never left her alone before so maybe this is typical.

Maybe it is that I now need to think seriously about my future. I need to find a job or start my business. My hope of coming home with a sense of the future was dashed – I know that I must plan for myself alone.

Maybe it is the fact that my ex is barely speaking to me for going to see Wildcard and Wildcard is now barely speaking to me because he found out that my ex and daughter ended up getting me from the airport when my sister let me down. Yep, figure that one out.

And then this morning I was woken by my nearly 50 year old half sister – the one I haven’t spoken to for three years – at 6.30am crying and hammering on the door. She was drunk, in distress, and had fallen out with my even more aggressive half brother who had pushed her over. I have lots and lots of bad history with her, but I have good also. She is very much alone – a fact she is aware of as much as her blame for that. My Dad would be heartbroken to see her like that. She is involved with a man who is no good and as I sat there and watched her I just felt awful. She has told me some of the things he has said to her, apparently in jest, and I could see how this has made her change her appearance. His drinking and drug use have clearly increased her own drinking. But most of all, I just saw someone who was lost. Missing her Dad (she has no mum) and just craving love and attention to the point of changing herself. I saw me. And I didn’t like it.

How much of what I feel for Wildcard comes from that loneliness, that desperation for love and acceptance? I have lived a life rejected by my half siblings, simply for being born. In turn they have marginalised me from the rest of my dad’s family- only the ones who don’t get on with them, get on with me.

However much they chased me afterwards, my ex husband, my first boyfriend and Lost Soul played with my feelings enough and let me down to the point of rejection. I forgave and accepted and tried, but in the end gave up on them. Once I’d given all I had, there was no more going back – regardless of their promises and pain and love.

I’ve had issues with friends – the one who rejected me because of my relationship with Wildcard for example. And now there is work. Rejection if ever I’ve felt it. I’m not wanted.

So what if, my desperation for a life with Wildcard comes from that? He has shown me undue attention in two years. He is deliciously handsome and funny and knows me like no other. What if my desire to run away from the rejection here is a key incentive in my commitment to him? I would be lying if I told you I hadn’t thought of starting a new life there.

And he does hurt me, from time to time. He says things to make me nervous. He can be childish and maybe even a little spiteful – he’s angry with me now (even though he says he isnt) so his response to my ‘I love you’ is ‘I know’. Oddly, it hasn’t affected me like it usually does. I know him well enough to know why this has put him on edge. I know how he behaves when he feels this way. And I know, usually, it will blow over. He is still calling me and answering my calls and texts. He will stew, he may discuss, he will forget. Maybe.

But no matter which way you look at it, I was desiring more ‘finality’ in our relationship than he was. And that feels like rejection too. Maybe he isn’t ready. Maybe it is finances. Maybe he wants to meet my children. Maybe it is too soon for his parents. Maybe my behaviour freaked him out. Maybe I want too much, too soon. Maybe it is not meant to be.

And this, then, is my problem. I’ve lost all faith in my own judgement and thinking. The more I think, the less I know. The more I think, the more possibilities my stupid brain comes up with. So many, that I can reject and accept everyone with no clear decision on which is most likely.

So, I’m in the doghouse. And I’ve a feeling that I am the only one who can get myself out.

Day 5 – family

When Wildcard came home yesterday, I told him about going to the pharmacist. He was convinced that my medication wouldn’t be in his country until I showed him on my phone. Even then, it took the tablets actually arriving and him seeing they were the same, to relax.

It was an interesting day even with this as soon after Wildcard had left for work that morning, some cousins of his father arrived.

I never know quite what to do in this situation. I’m a guest – quite clearly they’re not there to see me- and as I don’t speak their language I feel in the way. So, I always opt to stay in Wildcard’s room unless I am called.

Before long, Wildcard’s mum called me for breakfast and I offered to stay in his room. Of course she insisted that I ate with the family. And, of course, they didn’t speak a word of English. So that made both of us who couldn’t communicate.

After breakfast I went back to his room whilst they talked. I have no idea if this is the right thing to do or not. Before long though, quicker than I hoped, Wildcard was home for his breakfast. I sat with him whilst he ate and his cousin was in the kitchen with his mother. We then lay on his bed and cuddled whilst he dozed. And that, is happiness right there.

I really didn’t want to have dinner with hisnfamiky, preferring to eat with him when he came home but he told me to eat. As usual, dinner was amazing and his parents tried frequently in involve me in the conversation. They’re so lovely. One of the cousins had left by this point so there was just a lady left. When they cleared away – telling me to relax in the process – I went to get my music and notepad to sketch a little.

With my earphone on, I tucked myself away into a corner so that they wouldn’t feel obliged to try to talk with me. His mother wouldn’t have it though and soon called me over to their table.

To be fair, we had a nice chat and I was again impressed with how much English she actually understands. As you can imagine though, I was only lifted when he walked back in the house at the end of work.

I’m magnetised by him. I just want to be close and touching him, skin touching. Again, as I said in my last post, I’m convinced he is the same, as he will stretch out to make contact. I can pass many minutes quite happily with his feet on my lap, stroking his legs and daydreaming away.

In the evening we went for a walk which I enjoyed apart from the constant staring of passers by. We decided that I was probably the only tourist in the whole town. Ah well.

We had supper when we got in, and I could see how tired Wildcard was. It probably explains the mild disagreement we had later on that evening although, I’m convinced psychologically there is a reason for it too- last time I was here we had a minor misunderstanding after a few days. Maybe it is the adrenalin and heightened emotions of the first few days easing. Along with exhaustion from travel and poor sleep. It was something and nothing but enough to unsettle us before bed.

As is becoming our new routine, he returned to where he was sleeping and we started messaging, him asking what me what was wrong etc. It was minor, but with everything, it had blown out of proportion a little. It ended with kisses and love though. It is to be expected that after 19 months of being together, we will disagree sometimes. All part of being a family.

Day 1 – I am loved

My soon to be seventeen year old is fiercely independent. I am proud of her. I’m proud of her determination, her spirit. Her kindness. As a child, she was a timid, blonde haired, blue eyed fairy. As a young adult she is a fighter.

So to see tears well in her eyes tonight…was shocking. Tomorrow I travel. So tonight I asked her what she would like me to bring back. “Nothing,” she said, “just make sure you come back.”

She has been my support and my strength this last week. Nights of no sleep. Endless ruminating and calculating and searching. She told me to go, told me to put myself first. She was angry when my sister was unsupportive and actually phoned her to say her piece. Wisely, my sister didn’t answer.

But then, that shows love too, doesn’t it? My sister not wanting me to go. Actually being unhappy about it. Today, she messaged me early and we have spent most of the day together. There was no apology – her feelings are valid – but effort was made to build bridges.

Later, unexpectedly, she came again with my five year old niece who apparently was crying because she wanted to see me before I left.

My ex’s response was interesting but not unexpected. He flew off the handle, argued about the inconvenience. Later, calmer but not calm, he would tell me that he couldn’t understand how I could leave my children for two weeks or why I am not taking them on holiday instead. My daughter says he still loves me. I don’t know about that.

Money aside – one person’s tickets compared to four- I am going for myself.

My mum, in her own act of love, echoed by my best friend, told me to put myself first for once. Do what I wanted.

Whilst the pull of seeing Wildcard is the driving force, it isn’t the only one. I’m tired. Tired of worrying. Tired of anxiety. Tired of wondering how I will survive once my settlement money goes.

I say I, but it is we. Not just my children. I financially support both my sisters and my ex husband. I’ve paid both sisters’ rent this month. I’ve bought and cooked tea twice at my ex’s house this week as he has no money. Earlier in the week I paid for shopping. I paid for fuel in cars that I will never drive. Tonight, my youngest sister walked out my house with bags of food as she has none either. And it is more than that. I’ve listened and counselled and advised. And yes, to an extent, they have for me too. Whilst I will always help when I can, and worry that I may not be able to much longer, I am tired. Tired of worrying about everyone.

So, tomorrow, I have chosen myself when I go on the first part of my journey. I’m terrified but can’t wait for that feeling of pride in myself when it turns out ok. The freedom of travel alone.

And then, when I finally arrive in Wildcard’s country, I will have time with the man I love. I will have time with his family, who barely speak English and so can’t talk about things that may weihh me down. I will also have time to myself. No house to clean, no sisters to mother, no ex to support. I am going to rest and enjoy but I am also taking my laptop and plan to work too. I will help out round the house – if Wildcard’s mum will let me – and I am hoping we can do some cooking together. I will miss my children more than anything. That is my one regret. But, I hope to come back stronger and be the mother they love, not this shadow-self.

Wildcard is still very anxious about me coming. And that shows love too. His list of concerns, some valid and some just out there, must come from a place of love. I hate that he is worrying and I hope that it doesn’t marr our time together. But I need this trip for more reasons than him, although he remains the biggest one.

So now, I sleep. In 11 hours I will be at the airport. And my act of self love will begin.

Decisions, decisions

It has been an interesting couple of days.

After much discussion, contemplation, Google use and note making, I’ve decided to go to see Wildcard.

He is conflicted about it. He wants me to go but is worried about a variety of things. He has expressed how he feels, on both sides, and has left it to me to decide as ultimately it is me who is taking the risks as he sees it. There was a comment that he thinks I dwell too much on the now and not the future and that I must be sure I’ve done my research and thought things through.

Do I dwell on now??

I actually think that I do worry about the future and probably too much. But at the same time, after losing Dad, I’m very much of the opinion that you do have to live for now. I’ve weighed up every option and going now still seems the best for so many reasons.

The question is…how soon.

My plan was to leave on Sunday. He and his parents are happy with that – I would arrive on the Monday. He was concerned about me being able to get my PCR yest for my return home so I have sourced one at the airport. This means I will have to stay about 5 days longer. What a shame.

But. This is conflicting with something else. My Aunty’s belated 60th Spa weekend, cancelled repeatedly due to Covid.

I love my Aunty. I want to go. The Spa is AMAZING. But I don’t want to be grilled and questioned about my situation, and due to who is going, that will happen. I don’t want to travel to high Covid area and that is what will happen (yes, it is still open). And I don’t want to delay my trip by a week.

Why? Because who knows what will happen in a week. The surging variant here may change which level the UK is on, preventing me from going. There is political unrest which may affect flights or at the very least will make him more panicky – I have checked these things, and I am OK for this coming week. You could argue that another week won’t make a difference. But it might.

So, what to do?

The longer I leave it, the more likely flights will get booked, covid pcr tests will get booked. I want to book today. I will book today. But when for?

Being selfish, I want to go this weekend. Hell, I would go now if I could. I’m sorry for my Aunty, but weighing it up, seeing Wildcard and having a break from my whole sorry situation wins.

Does that sound like a decision made?

I just don’t know.

Goodbye birthday

You will be glad to hear that this is my last birthday post for this year. It is 11.44pm.

After my sulk in bed, things improved.

Wildcard sent me an amazing video of my image and wonderful lyrics.

My friend came round and showed me an unexpected act of kindness.

My sisters and family came round. And whilst it was noisy and hectic, it was fun too.

When everyone had left, I spent the evening on videocall with Wildcard and his family. The highlight was, when he had jokingly pointed out his flaws and his mother saying that he shouldn’t be like that. He asked me if I accepted him like that, the good and the bad. I said of course and he asked me to tell his mother that – in part jest but it still felt like a big moment because I did. Outloud I told her I liked the good and the bad, and accepted everything about him.

Yes he has flaws, but I truly do accept and love every one of them.

And then end of our conversation, I asked him to tell me how he really feels about me. Out in the open, in his own words. He told me that when I am with him, lying next to him, he will whisper in my ear all that he feels.

I cannot wait.