Where d’you go?

I’ve talked many times about coincidences. I don’t believe in them. Let me clarify.

Think of the million and billions of pieces of information our amazing body processes each day. Just think about that. So much information, a crazy amount that our brain just dismisses as not important.

Mindfulness teaches us to stop and take note of those things we would normally dismiss. Have you ever done that? I dare you not to crack a smile when you realise you’ve just seen a leaf in the perfect shape of a heart amongst hundreds of other normal ones. Or by gazing in the sky for a moment, you see a clutch of low flying Canada geese – so low you can see some of their colours and markings.

However, the point I am trying to make, is that from time to time information- signs – come together mysteriously,  and the clichéd light bulb comes on. I don’t believe they are coincidences because with so much information saturating us each day, surely there would be such coincidences every day??

Of course, we can choose to dismiss and ignore these signs. We can acknowledge them and do nothing. What has stuck with me recently,  is that every second we make choices which change the very course of our life. Despite this, we choose to ignore or push aside or subdue certain choices, at times.

I started this blog five years ago. I had just separated from my husband and I knew that this was the end of my marriage. I felt a certain amount of hope, amongst the sadness, that my life was going to change. I was going to get the life I wanted. I had paid my dues, you see, I had put my heart and soul into a marriage that was never going to work. I walked away knowing I- at least – had given it everything I had.

I sit here, somewhat ashamed that this blog has failed. It hasn’t documented a new life because my life hasn’t changed a great deal. Sure, there are momentary changes. But so many of them were bends in the road, nothing to do with me and my will.

I will give myself a break and say that I am trying. I have made decisions- of course I have- which have affected my life. Finally getting the divorce. Choosing to date again. Allowing myself to fall in love with a man in another continent. Visiting him. Walking away from a successful and high paid career. So how can I say I failed?

Because I feel like I haven’t found my purpose. I’ve feel like I’ve lived someone else’s life. I can’t tell you how long I have felt that without even knowing it.

Now, as I said in my last post, I’m reaching the point of making some big decisions.  Ten months of dilly-dallying and I need to finally make some decisions. I must.

Truth is,  I’m desperately trying to find myself. I’m lost. I’ve felt lost for some years. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know my purpose. I don’t trust myself and my judgement any more.

I’m working on that. I’ve taken New Year by the horns and I am working on myself. I’ve signed up to some workshops and I’ve bought some books. I’ve allowed myself to think…ironic, as I think too much…but what I mean is actually think  about things that I have avoided thinking about.

I’ve tried to be someone I am not for twenty years. Yes, twenty years. My beliefs about who I am and who I should be, have fueled this. I’ve worn a mask. I’ve worked so, so hard to keep that mask in place and be the person I thought I should be. I’ve never believed I could be who and what I secretly want. I have no confidence. I have no self belief. Because a large part of my life has been a lie.

Despite best efforts, it is impossible to have and do everything we want in life. Millionaires commit suicide. Hollywood stars numb themselves with drug and alcohol. Simplicity is underestimated. Accepting that we can not do and have it all is crucial. Appreciating what we have and focusing on the essential things is key. (Hussey)

Whilst this has been milling about my head all week, tonight I had my first night to myself in some time. Scrolling, I found a new release:

The title was poignant. I’m lost. I need to find myself. It was worth a try.

I loved and hated this film. I almost turned it off half way through. Until I realised that  was because it made me uncomfortable. It made me face things I wasn’t ready to.

I’ve been running away from self-truths, from my beliefs – however erroneous they may be –  for many, many years. I’m not myself because I’m not allowing myself to do what I want. What makes me, me.

We are our beliefs. Who we think we are, we become. And as many of my beliefs about myself are negative, my life has been dominated by that.

I wrote recently about Mel Robbins and her work. She is fabulous. I follow her on Facebook and it seems like every day she posts something that just resonates..or at the very least, gets you thinking. A recent post was this:

I’m struggling to make decisions because I’m finding it hard to distinguish between my passionate my purpose. I didn’t know there was a difference.

I’m struggling to make decisions because of my belief system. It’s all wrong. And I’ve carried that round with me since childhood. The foundations are all wrong. Therefore the building and the workmanship are too.

There’s a lot of work to do. But I choose to find myself.

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.

Over…

Annoyingly, this post would be much better in context. I started and finished a post two days ago but never published it. I explained my last post and my negativity. I expressed my absolute love of Wildcard.

Yesterday however my relationship was over. Almost.

Before I get into why, I have realised something. I am, as a person;

Often overwhelmed

Always Overthinking

Frustratingly Over weight

Frequently Over planning

Resulting in being Over tired

I really wish I wasn’t.

Yesterday I had made tentative plans to meet my London friend for lunch. Due to some unforseen circumstances, it didn’t happen. So we chatted as normal. That’s when she told me that Wildcard had sent her a friend request, that morning, on Facebook.

Some context here. Wildcard wasn’t happy when I went to visit her in London. He wasn’t happy when he discovered – accidently – that she and I discuss a lot about our relationships. He doesn’t understand our friendship. He spoke to her briefly when I was in London and I have sent a screenshot of her profile during a conversation. He knows what she looks like.

Some more context. It was agreed between us (after some naive, innocent but silly actions where I really annoyed him) that if friends or family contacted us through social media we should discuss with each other before accepting. This is what he did when my mother made a friend request.

So, you can imagine how I felt. Why had he done this? Did he know who she was when he sent the request? Is he doing this to other women? Is he spying on me through her? Does he not trust her? Or me? Is it a coincidence that he does this on a day we were supposed to meet up (and looked unhappy about it)?

She offered to proceed how I wished – add him and test him to see what he would do. I refused. To set a honeytrap is showing distrust. I didn’t do it when I first met him and I’m not going to do it now.

In the end, due to my overwhelming emotions and anxiety, I contacted him and had it out with him.

He claims it was an accident and he didn’t intend to do it.

We argued over his whole social media profile, and not for the first time. Being 9 years younger than me, he uses social media in a completely different way than I do. It’s not a way to connect with friends and family but a means to an end – he wants to build his profile and make money from it. He has never hidden this. He has never hidden his profiles or pages. I know there are thousands of women on his sites and he has told me about them. He is a handsome man. And he isn’t the only one who has pages like that. Doesn’t mean I like it though. I hate it.

We’ve also discussed the fact that I am a hidden relationship. His culture doesn’t believe in dating. What we are doing is against the laws, culture and religion of his country. I know this. I know this is why I am absent from his social media – just another name amongst thousands.

But being told by someone else that his pages look like ‘a dating site’ and that I am noticeably absent was heart wrenching. So I brought it up- even though I knew why – and listened to his reasons again. I told him I was nothing. No one knew about me – we are not ‘serious’ as in not engaged so I am nothing.

I could go on and on, just as the conversation went on and on. There were two further conversations about the situation. The upshot is, he maintains he accidently sent her the friend request, that he has never hidden his plans for his social media accounts or the number of women on them. He repeatedly told me he loved me and wants to be with me. He is certain about me. I’m his only one. But he admitted, again, that he is uncertain about his future and is reluctant to have to start again at zero.

Unwillingly at first, I discussed this with my close family. They believe his reaction to my planned trip and the timing of the friend request are no accident. They feel it is likely that he was checking her out either because he doesn’t trust her (which he doesn’t) or to find a vantage point to check I was doing what I said I was. My sister even thought in checking out her page he may have accidently sent the request. My daughter agreed having done this herself. This sounds like him, to be honest. Controlling, yes. Paranoid and wary, absolutely. But then, so am I.

During the day there were two moments where I thought we were over. I didn’t think I could ever trust him again. I don’t know if I believe his story even now. My London friend certainly doesn’t. She thinks he is a player and a liar. I haven’t heard from her all day.

The other was when we were both angry. Neither of us wanted it though.

But I’m not over it. Not by a long shot. There is a heaviness in my soul now that hasn’t shifted all day. I’m tired and miserable. By the end of day yesterday, I’d had all the confirmations of his feelings I have longed for. My London friend would say that he knows how to talk me round.

He may have contacted her because he was interested in her.

He may have contacted her by accident as he prowled her account.

He may have contacted her to check up on me, in the hope she wouldn’t recognise him, as she posted pictures of our day together (something I don’t do.)

He may have contacted her to add further numbers to his social media.

At this moment it’s hard to know the truth.

My heart was ripped out yesterday. It’s easy to believe the worst when you are anxious. It’s even easier to believe the best when you’re in love with someone.

I don’t know if I will get over this. My London friend thinks he has wormed his way back and I will forgive and forget. Maybe she is right. Maybe my family are right. Either easy, what I know for certain is I won’t forget about it. This isn’t over.

Day 10 – relax

The last few days I have felt so much more relaxed about everything. It’s like the adrenalin of 19 months of waiting and 2 days of travel, and overall excitement and nerves, have taken this long to ease. I’m glad I chose to spend another week here, despite how my ex feels about it.

I’m sleeping better and I’m less conscious about my body – never completely, but less. Our intimate times are truly that now – passionate, intense and intimate. I could genuinely be happily entwined with him all day long – holding hands, touching lips or legs wrapped round each other. My heart and body and soul misses him when he is not near.

But it is more than that. I love being here and am really enjoying being with his mum too. Today I’ve had more cooking lessons and our communication is coming along great. I’m actually understanding much more of the gist of their language.

I love everything here. The culture, the people, the place. I love the rich terracotta earth and the bluest of skies. I love the focus on sustainable, natural produce and the necessity of family, socialising and rest. I love the smell of spices in the air and the vibrant colours. I’ve never said where Wildcard is from because it is irrelevant, but maybe you can guess a little from that.

And his dad – although I spend more time with his mum – he is lovely. He reminds me of my dad a little – not in personality or looks but just as I suppose two men in later life are. It actually made me weep a little this morning. If Wildcard and I marry, his Dad would be the closest thing I have to a father. I would like that. I want, so much, to be in this family. Today, as the three of us sat for breakfast, Wildcard in work, I looked at what they had prepared for me and I was just overwhelmed. I got up and hugged them both, because I just wanted to. They probably think I am a crazy English woman but I am OK with that. I’m an English woman who is crazily in love with their son, and loves them too.

I still have my second set of flights home booked. They are four days after the earlier flights. I can’t tell you how much I want to stay those extra days. But, I miss my kids and I don’t want to impose any further. However much they say I am family and this is my home, I am still a guest. And a complicated one at that with my gluten problems. Tomorrow I will need to move the flights or risk losing the money.

I’d hoped by now that Wildcard and I would have talked about the future but we haven’t, really. On the boat on Sunday, he talked about us having a holiday with the children there. But we’ve not had this serious talk that he has mentioned previously.

Via Facebook, I have made a friend who lives in London. Like me, she is divorced with three children although I think she is a little younger than I am. She is second generation British, with parents who immigrated from somewhere in East Africa. She is Muslim, madly in love with her own LDR and hadn’t visited her man as long as I hadn’t. We started to speak a few months ago to discuss travel etc. We have become friends.

She told me that, in her eyes, we are married. She said that by me staying here with his family, it is a HUGE deal. She said she can tell he is in love with me by what I’ve told her about him. And that there is still time for the serious talk before I go home.

I hope she is right on all accounts.

To my love,

I know I’ve been different these last few weeks. Probably months. We have both been through some tough times, haven’t we?

I can not tell you how many times I have wished to be alongside you through your dark days, supporting you. I hope you have felt that I have tried, despite being so far away.

And you, you have a way of talking sense, even though you don’t always fully understand my situation. You make me laugh, show great patience. I hope you know how much I appreciate that.

You have said from the beginning that this relationship would be hard. Long distance relationships are by nature. The time apart is hard, and all the heightened emotions that come with that. And then, for us, there are cultural differences which are not so much a problem for me and you but are for others – our governements included.

And then…covid. Covid has kept us apart for over a year now. So what was always going to be a challenging situation is now even more difficult. The building hope of a visit and the devastation of another cancelled trip. Not knowing when we can be together. Not knowing where this relationship is going – it is on pause, almost.

I wouldn’t change my time with you though. I would rather have this than anything or anyone else. Our time has created a love so deep, so powerful that we have survived life’s ups and downs and are thriving through Covid’s restrictions.

Ironically though, for me, a love like that comes with a fear of losing it. Our relationship is so precious to me and I am so grateful that I have found it that I am perpetually scared it will be taken away from me.

No doubt, some of this comes from how I feel about myself and my confidence. You are so wonderful, that I can’t help but think that you deserve more. Someone more beautiful, someone younger. I can’t understand what you see in me, perhaps. In turn, this fear and low self worth means that at times I act in a way which could jeopardise what we have. I doubt and question and test. I need constant reassurance that this is real, my love is returned equally. That you feel the same…you still want me.

Time should have proved that to me, I know that. But time has a sneaky way of adding to those fears too. After 18 months of daily contact, albeit online, it is not surprising that we have fallen into an easy life together. The honeymoon period over, perhaps. I crave the look of desire you once gave me, the times you told me I looked beautiful. Even the times you asked if I loved you, missed you…

It is a normal part of every relationship, I know that. What makes it harder for us – well, me – is that the distance means I don’t have the other parts. The cuddles and kisses. Holding hands. Sitting together, thighs touching. You stroking my hair or putting your hand on my back to guide me as we walk. The knowing smile and look in your eyes as we gazed at each other over dinner, a reminder of the love we had just made or the promise of what was happen next when we were alone. All things that I loved in that one week we were together.

The distance makes me need this more. My insecurity and fear makes me crave this more. The time apart and the difficulties we have individually faced make this essential for me.

I know you love me. I know it in your actions and how you tell me every day. I know you miss and want me in how many times you call and your perseverance in this relationship. And yet, at times, I crave more. I can’t have the physical so I need need words – out loud, spelled out. I know that’s not fair to expect from you. It is not like you don’t say it. And you shouldn’t have to say it more just to appease me.

As time has gone on, and disappointment and missed time together (covid, grrrr) has plagued our relationship, I’ve found that I am scared to dream of our future. I once pictured you here. I dreamed a life for us. Now, it seems too much to hope.

We have talked about it enough for me to know you are waiting until we are.physically together to talk everything through and make decisions. I respect you for that, don’t disagree with your plan. This is the rest of our lives and there is a lot to discuss. It is absolutely right that this should be in person after spending more physical time together.

But the anticipation is killing me. The not knowing, the questioning and guessing and wondering… all not-good for an insecure overthinker like me. And as time goes on, I fear that I will do something to make you not want me anymore. Or that someone better or easier will take you from me.

And to see others reunited…getting married…that is hard. I want so much for that to be us. To know that you want that, me, as much as I want you. To know the difficult beginning is just that, just the start of something wonderful.

I want a life with you. I want to give you a good life. Be there when you need me. I want the excitement of building a life together, you and me, making the best of this world. You inspire me to be better and I want the same for you.

I love you so much. I’m so grateful you are in my life. And I’m sorry for my fears and how they sometimes taint the good that we have.

Don’t give up on me baby.

The hopelessness of hope

Are you a positive person or negative? An optimist or a pessimist? Glass half full or half empty?

Up until a few years ago I would have said that I was a positive person. People have told me I am a positive person. I try to see the good in every situation, try to learn something from the bad.

At some point, that changed for me. How easy it is now to spiral down the rumination vortex to a bleak and dark place.

I’m in my bed looking at two pencil portraits that I made of Wildcard and me. They were copies of stills from videos that he took of us when I visited him in February 2020. I am proud of them. But up until now, they have spent most of their life in a cupboard. Why? Because I feared hanging them up would be a bad omen. That I was being too self-assured about our relationship, presumptuous.

This year, so far with some success, I have been planning and preparing. I’ve used Mel Robbins’ free course and bought a great Legend planner. I haven’t met all my goals. But I feel good about what I have achieved. I feel there is some purpose and plan to what I am doing. To forgive myself for not completing everything is a big step for me.

What I can’t do, and I have tried, is plan my future dreams. My skills at shutting off unwanted emotions are top class – they caused a break down a few years ago. Hiding emotions simply saves them, festering, for another day. The more you hide, the more they multiply and grow strong. I know this.

My top class skills are currently throwing a impenetrable forcefield around my dreams. I start to think of them and whoosh down it comes. Blank. Nothing. Gone. I see a glimpse or a hint and then, no more.

Those dreams are fuelled by hope. Hope that my relationship with Wildcard will continue to stand strong against the pandemic and everything else which makes it hard. Hope that legalities and finances will allow a life together. And … bang. It is down again.

I can’t think about it because it is everything I want. And like the pictures, if I dare to hope…if I dare to dream aloud and acknowledge what I really want, then the fear of the hopelessness if it doesn’t happen is too much to even contemplate.

Equally, the Love is Not Tourism Facebook group gives me mixed feelings. Hope when I see couples still together, still planning on reuniting in the future. Hopeless when I see couples who have parted, no longer able to maintain their love in this situation. When I read of their passion and belief that they were soul mates, that the love was a lie or not strong enough…I am filled with fear that I feel too much. And when I see the wedding pictures – we did it! – I feel hope that one day it will be us and hopelessness that it may never.

I can’t ever imagine a life without him. That is how much I feel. I have possibility in my life now, because of him. My future isn’t fixed. I know that I want him in it. I want what I feel to be the truth, the reality. Because if it not… if I am wrong… I will never feel hope of love again. I will lose all faith in myself and love and a dream future.

So I hope that my dream future is hard to imagine not because I am scared but because it is too wonderful to contemplate or imagine. I truly, truly hope.

Time for the truth.

I always believed that time flies when you’re having fun. I am not having fun. Lockdown is not fun, and yet time is flying.

I have one week left until half term and I’m exhausted. I’m really enjoying my new role and I like the new leadership at my school. Work is hard though. On the plus side, it’s keeping me busy and helping time to pass.

I’d had the mildest hope of travelling in February, 1-year after I had last saw him. I think I knew all along it wasn’t going to happen. When we discussed it some months ago – well let’s face it, when I accused him of not wanting me to go – he talked about the vaccines in both our countries and the hope that we would all be vaccinated in the UK by April. Easter is the perfect time: I have two weeks off,off therefore I can spend some time with Wildcard and with my children. There’s also enough time to quarantine and be tested ready to go back to work. So, after that discussion I booked flights for the beginning of the Easter holiday.

So you see, time flying wasn’t a bad thing. And then the new variant came. Lockdown 2 came, well, lockdown 2 for teachers. And I actually felt a bit of relief: some time to get myself together, focus on my job and myself. And, yeah, lockdown means I have more opportunities to talk with Wildcard each day. I was still hopeful. I accepted quickly that February was a no go. But April, April was the time. Flights booked, Vaccines promised and time.

Sure his country shut borders to the UK. There was still time though. Vaccination was going a-pace in the UK, plus we were in lockdown and the cases were starting to fall. There was still time.

On Thursday night, hope died. An email telling me my flights were cancelled. Worse, was when I opened the app to see that all flights to his country have been cancelled for the next 6 months.

I can’t describe the shock, the pain, the fear. I sobbed.

All hope was gone. In that moment, the future was gone. There’s no way he would wait all that time and surely he wouldn’t put his life on hold for another 6 months. Another 6-months of waiting. My heart broke. There’s nothing I can do about it.

Somehow I got through Friday in work. I actually think seeing the children and my colleagues helped a little; even the mask hid my swollen eyes a little.

The moment I saw him, when I got home from work and he called me, I cried again. I told him what had happened and he laughed because he was right, again. He laughed in disbelief that I would cry over it. Which made me cry even more because it felt like he didn’t care. I do him an injustice: he’s just more pragmatic, you’re coming summer” he said. His view is that it is life and there’s nothing we can do so there is no point getting upset.

Maybe he’s right – of course he is. But it doesn’t stop it from hurting. 6-months seems a long time now, a lot can happen and of course, in my mind, it’s all bad.

I know he loves me. He tells me he loves me, he shows me he loves me. If I dare to let myself believe it and experience it without fear then I know he loves me to my very soul.

But you want to know the truth? Finally, do you want to know entirely where all the fear comes from?

He wants a baby.

And you know what else? I want to give him one. I want a baby with him. I want us to have a baby together.

Here’s the thing: I love my children with all my heart and I wouldn’t change having them for anything. But I didn’t have them because I wanted a baby with their dad.

I want to have a baby with Wildcard.

In 2 months time, I turn 41. Time is running out – hell, it probably already has – but I still had hope. In a time where coronavirus didn’t exist I imagined 3 or 4 trips to his country in 2020. I pictured him meeting my children. And provided it all went well, I thought that maybe this year we would be married.

So whilst I recognised it would be difficult, there was a chance.

This, this is the root of my anxiety. The more time passes, the less likely that I can give him a baby. Whilst young, beautiful girls swarm around him, and family members try to set him up, I’m thousands of miles away, ageing.

Sometimes I guilt myself that I should do the right thing and let him go because it’s highly likely I can’t give him what he wants.

Just stop and think about that for a second.

Finally, I meet the man of my dreams. He is everything I want, I love everything about him. He makes me feel more alive than any other man has ever done and I want to share a wonderful life with him. And I want to give him a baby.

But despite that, despite all that love and attraction we both feel …I should let him go.

He is not stupid and his job has something to do with reproduction in animals – he must know, I tell myself, he must know and he still wants me. Maybe he is just hoping as I do.

Truly, I believe if our relationship ends it will because of this, if not directly then indirectly, because of my fear and my jealousy.

So there you have it: the truth.

Not ready

The conversation started simple enough. He was on his daily walk and as usual he asked me what the news was. I told him that my sister had been to see a solicitor about her divorce. This led to a conversation about the laws in our respective countries and how different they are.

As the conversation developed we ended up talking about his brothers and their wives which led to him telling me that both brothers had wanted to leave his country and were unlikelyto ever return. They were unhappy with the life they had and were open to a more European life.

You can perhaps guess what happened next. I couldn’t help myself and when I asked, he laughed because he knew I would ask.

So I asked: “and what about you?” he told me that he isn’t like his brothers – he likes his country and he has had opportunities there. He wasn’t desperate to leave like they were. So then I asked him what this meant for me and him. This is where he laughed.

But then he was sincere and serious for once. He told me that he thought about it every day and that he hadn’t made a decision yet, he wasn’t ready. I didn’t know what to think, I didn’t know what to feel -shock probably -and yet I guess I kind of knew it too.

He of course saw my concern and worry and reassured me. He told me that i know he loves me and that he wants a future with me. I’m with him now now that he serious with me. But he’s just not ready.

Not ready for what? This is the part I don’t understand. Not ready to propose? Not ready to commit? (and yeah, he said he has committed to me because we’re in a serious relationship). He reminded me that his family know we are in a serious relationship. So how how can you be so sure you love somebody and want to be with them but say I’m not ready?

He talked about having to start again if he came to my country and he doesn’t want to do that, he likes his job where he is and does not like the idea of relying on me. He likes the weather in his country and jokes that he couldn’t stand the cold here. He also talked about his parents, about the fact that he is the last one there and that there isn’t a daughter to look after them.

Being honest it was only when my sister pointed out out that that I would feel similar in his situation that I really thought about it. He’s absolutely right to need to think. He’d be leaving a life that he’s created, leaving his family in order to go to a country he doesn’t know, and a culture that’s completely different to his. It pains me to say it, but it’s true.

Do I feel any better? I don’t know. He’s justified in not being sure. We’ve spent one week physically in each other’s company. All I really wanted to know was that we were possible, he’s considering it, he loves me enough to consider it. I think I got my answer for that. And whilst the thought that his brothers may be married Europeans in order to to escape their country, I suppose I can be sure that that’s not his plan.

Odd one out

I would normally say that I have good concentration. Today, apparently not.

During my meeting today I zoned out for just a second. There are nine people in my team. I happened to catch sight of the beautiful engagement and wedding rings on my colleague’s finger. And, as your mind can do sometimes, my eyes were directed towards the ring fingers of the rest of my colleagues around the table. Each one was circled by gold or platinum. Except for mine.

Out of nine people, I am the only one who is separated and single. I know that one other is divorced but is in a long term relationship. Another is on their second marriage. I, however, am the only singleton. And I’m the youngest. How depressing.

The real ring

This blog’s title is poignant for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, apologies if you saw the clearly unfinished/not even started post which just contained a picture of a ring:

I attempted to delete it but I can still see it on the feed.

Now let me explain what the post was meant to be about. 😊

My second child is 11 years old and he is in his last year of primary school. He’s the one I worry about for a multitude of reasons. He is a handsome, enthusiastic, intelligent, loving but extremely sensitive boy. He has had some trouble with school which has had a serious effect on his confidence and self esteem. He’s very good at putting on a show of confidence and bravado but underneath is a child who is craving success and acknowledgement. Throw in an antagonistic relationship with his dad and there you have my beautiful boy.

His primary school has gift sales at various points of the year. The gifts are inexpensive – no more than £2 and often less – and help the children with using money and confidence to buy.

My son’s buying experiences have been interesting. One year he came home with twenty-five – yes twenty five – mini bouncy balls for himself. He once bought me an orange lipstick. So let’s just say his buying has not always been geared towards the occasion. 😊

For Mother’s Day this year, he came home with a little candle, a necklace and a ring.

The ring fit my little finger perfectly and I haven’t had it off my finger since. It’s silver with a little blue/turquoise stone and is just the sort of style that I love. Naturally, being a toyshop ring, the silver coating is already wearing off to show whatever orange metal it is made out of. The stone is in wonky. But I love it because it is from my son. I don’t know if he chose that ring because he knew I would like it or whether it was a fluke but I do love it.

But it isn’t going to last. And knowing my son, that will hurt when it snaps or the stone falls out. Hence my search for a ‘real’ replacement. It has taken a while – I can’t afford to spend too much and of course it needs to look as close as it can to the original. The above ring is as close as I can get – the shoulders on the toy ring don’t have gems but the shape is identical. The ring above is sterling silver and blue zircon. It should last.

I don’t wear or buy a lot of jewelry. I don’t have anything of real monetary value. Gosh there are some beautiful rings out there though and I was ogling quite a few while I searched for the ring.

I’ve been engaged twice and neither time have I had the ring buying experience. The first time round we just happened to see a ring in a second hand shop that I liked whilst looking for a present for his mum. It was gold and cubic zirconia. I liked it, it was cheap, and I was sensitive to the fact that he would never have the money to go ring shopping like young girls dream of.

The second ring, from the man I actually married, I bought myself from a shopping channel. It is gold with small diamonds and I bought it with some birthday money because I didn’t own a ring. Weeks later when my husband proposed he admitted that he hadn’t bought a ring but said that he would start saving. Knowing how bad he was with money (one of the reasons we eventually separated) I suggested using the ring in the interim.

The real one never materialised. The Christmas before our first separation, he had asked me what I wanted for Christmas, again acknowledging that he didn’t have much money (I had bought the children’s presents). I told him I would be happy with a bottle of wine but asked that as it was my 30th birthday in April, I would love a new engagement ring. It did not need to be expensive but one that he had chosen specifically for me. I’m not materialistic and a ring for a maximum £100-£200 would have been more than enough- it was the fact that he had saved and bought it was what mattered.

Needless to say the ring never came. A few weeks before my 30th after a prolonged period of moodiness, he admitted that he hadn’t saved any money so couldn’t buy me the ring. As the money had been spent on his addiction – and the reason we ultimately split after ten years – I was upset but tried to be understanding.

Searching for my mother’s day replacement ring, I thought about how exciting and romantic it must be to look at rings together with the person you love. There were so many pretty rings and as I had set the ‘refine’ tab to under £50 it was sad to see so many pretty rings, so cheap, that both of these men could have bought me but never did. I didn’t need an expensive diamond solitaire. It didn’t need to be the value of a month’s wage. I just wanted a pretty ring thoughtfully chosen and paid for by the man I loved.

So perhaps you can see why that little toyshop ring is so precious to me. Even with the replacement, I will never throw it away. It will take pride of place in my jewellery box where hopefully it will last until my dying day.