Trying

Sunny but cold. Cold we are used to, sunny feels like a pleasant change.

Spot the photobombing bug.

How can hand stands be so difficult. I have been trying to do one in decades. As apparently I’m hundreds of years old well then that’s a lot of decades of failure. Today joined the long line of those. But what chance do I have. I can’t even balance on one leg (somedays two legs is even beyond me). I tried the old wall trick again. Slowly raise myself against a wall. Let the wall provide balance. All goes swimmingly. Well for about second. Then the gravitational pull on my excessively large bum takes over and I hit the ground. Somedays my backside feels like a villain in the Marvel movies. It is inevitable….

But I keep trying.

One day just maybe.

There is always hope.

I remember back in 2016 and thinking I’m never going to be able to do this single parenting gig. I’m going to collapse. And yes I have repeatedly fallen over. Can’t blame my inevitable rear ended for most of those….. But I’m kinda still here. Still trying. Still doing that parenting gig. You never know I might actually get it right one day. There is always hope.

Now let’s have one more go at a handstand.

Vegetate

I’ve been trying to practice yoga and tai chi for months now. I diligently watch and follow the videos. All the really glossy and professional videos. I was trying again this morning. Following the instructor through her perfect routine. Even her dog sits beside her perfectly. Never moving. In the background the gentle sound of peaceful music. Perfect.

Meanwhile in deepest Yorkshire.

A muppet is seamlessly moving from one body creak to the next groan. Losing balance and crashing into furniture. Constantly fearing my pants are going to split under the galactic pressure being exerted on them. Every time I hit the ground a mad dog instantly leaps on me and I replay the Bill Murray Ghostbusters scene – I’VE BEEN SLIMED. And no gentle sound of peaceful music here. Rather the sound of derision and laughter….

What on earth are you doing Dad”

“If this was on TV it would be banned”

“You look a right sight

Funnier than a Will Ferrell movie

Say that again Dad. Golden Rooster. More like drunken Pigeon

Are you supposed to be balancing on one leg or head butting the wall

My Dad has turned into Homer Simpson”

Please never do this when any of my friends visit”

Your just embarrassing yourself now”

Technically speaking this probably means that I still have a long way to go on my spiritual exercise journey. Or more likely …. time to get the mega pack of biscuits out and vegetate.

Come again

When we first moved into our little bungalow on the hill we had a beautiful Daffodil patch on the shared area in front of our house. At the time I would never have thought that 20 years later I would still be here. Certainly not still here as a widow and a single parent.

Over the next few years the daffodil patch seemed to flower less and less. The daffs would appear each year but more and more would just not bloom. The area was becoming such a shadow of its former self. Eventually I planted some new bulbs and now there is colour again.

This morning it dawned on that there is a message to all this. Life happens and sometimes things fade and leave us. But with patience and hard work life can happen again. That works for the daffodil patch and it works for me as well.

Daffodil

Look at this. The first daffodil. It’s always such a lift when they appear. The return of a bit of warm colour. Much needed. Can we now officially call it SPRING. For what it’s worth a quick and very unscientific check of the photos is telling me that they have arrived one day earlier than last year.

If only WP was that reliable. Scheduled posts not working. Finding it harder to post comments that actually appear. Random unfollows. Likes not working. Photos refusing to publish. Messed up editing. Yep I think the WP IOS app has beaten me. Need to get myself a better laptop and switch to the web based option. See if it works better with Windows.

But until then we will soldier on. Do what I can. Don’t get too worked up if it refuses to work properly. There a great quote from The Book of Joy. A quote which has Buddhist traditions but was also told to me bizarrely by a cricket coach who was talking about getting out of a bad run of batting form. Basically it says….. Pointless worrying about what you can’t control and why are you worrying about stuff you can control.

Ok let’s try to remember that. Forget WP and my troubles. Think about the things in my life that lift me up and that I love. That will help push the negative thoughts away for some precious moments.

We can do this.

Meaning behind the door

My partner loved the Moors. She was always happy there. When our own family lockdown ends it will be one of the first places we visit again. It was one the first places visited after she had left us. It did take quite a while but we made it.

Is it really 4 and half years.

I have often talked about a vivid image that really helped me over that time. My grief felt like I was stood next to a closed door. A door that had suddenly locked shut and would never open again. I could see what’s behind the door. Memories. I can’t change or add to them. Just look at them.

So I had a choice. To stand by that locked door or take a leap of faith. Set off into the dark and see if I could find some new doors. Doors that are open allowing new memory experiences. I could either can actor or just a memory viewer.

I have mostly set off in search of new doors. Mostly…..

This door image has worked for me but I never fully understood its meaning. I always had a feeling that there was to it than life needs living. Why did it help with my grief. Why did it make me feel more at ease with myself.

I’m currently reading The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Suddenly the penny dropped.

In the book they talk about grief and dealing with suffering. They made a simple point that really struck home. Grief can either help lift a person up or drag them down. The secret is the focus. If you focus on the person you have lost, what they believed in, what they hoped for, their dreams THEN grief can have a positive side. It demonstrates LOVE. It can motivate you to live. ‘A determination to fulfil their wishes’. But if you focus on yourself then grief can bring you down. Focusing on things like how can I cope, how can I manage as a single parent, how bad will my life become. Those thoughts are negative and run the risk of dragging a person down.

Suddenly my image has meaning to me. Remaining stood by that locked door was not about my partner. It was about me. I was doing what I thought I needed to do. My partner had hopes and dreams that would not be nurtured by me remaining by that door. To keep those hopes and dreams alive, I HAD TO MOVE. Searching for new doors is best for my partners legacy, it’s best for our son, and yes it’s best for me. The end result is much more likely to be positive and uplifting.

It’s taken me over 4 years to suss that out. I actually don’t feel to bad about that. It took the great minds of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu to work it out for me. That’s not a bad couple of minds to defer to.

We can do this. It will take time but WE can do this.

Cut the grass

I know it’s all gone but the field looks better for it….So let’s go back to just before the thaw.

I was sat in my car. It hadn’t moved in weeks so I thought I had better run the engine for a bit. Reverse it a few times up and down the our little drive. Make sure the brakes haven’t seized up. If I was sat for weeks my knees would definitely have stopped working. I was looking at the three peddles and scratching my head. I had forgotten which one was the clutch. After a few test presses I sussed them out again. Clearly driving doesn’t come naturally to me.

That’s probably very like parenting with me as well. I’m probably better at being the kid than the one apparently in charge.

Then a worrying thought. What if I’m getting this parenting lark completely wrong. What if I’m making things worse for a Hawklad. Who knows. I’ve never been assessed. It was easy when there was two parents. Someone would tell me if I was wrong. A quietly whispered ‘tell you what why don’t you go and cut the grass and I will do that’. But then that abruptly stopped in 2016. This summer it will be 5 years of me parenting solo. No checks. No assistance. No manual. Doing this all by myself. Over those years there were many times I would have definitely told myself to go outside and cut the grass.

What if I’ve got this wrong….

Would my partner have done it differently. Probably. We often politely disagreed. Even down to how to change a nappy. She wanted him to go to a different school. Was she right? She had a different view on the approach that should be taken with his Aspergers and Dyslexia. Have I been too laid back on the implementation of his Education and Health Care Plan. Have I done all I could for him. Have I missed something which would help him with his fears and phobias.

I guess the answer is that I will never know. All I can do is my best. Hope I get most things kinda right. Hope I don’t drop too many balls along the way. Maybe even find the time to cut the grass.

Forgetful

Do you get those moments when you realise that you have clearly lost the plot. I’ve been telling Hawklad that the school half term week off is the last week of February. It always is….

I couldn’t work out last why a few of the teachers kept talking about end of module lessons, need to get things finished this week, we start something new in a couple of weeks…. Still the obvious didn’t sink in. Not until one teacher set an ‘end of half term test’.

Ok the week off is this week. This is completely down to me. School emailed parents after Christmas with the correct dates. The school calendar is clear. Basically the muppet gauge is registering ‘off the scale’ currently with me. That might explain why I put my coffee cup into the tumble dryer with the towels. That might explain why I filled my bath with cold water. That might explain why I lost my mobile so I tried phoning it on the land line – kept getting the engaged sound and didn’t work out that I was repeatedly phoning the landline. Might explain why I couldn’t find the toothpaste and strangely found that it was in my hand all the time. Might explain why I put Deep Heat on a hand cut rather than Sudacrem.

Everyday I move further away from George Clooney and ever closer to Homer Simpson. That’s both in looks and thought.

Wish I could forget that bit.

Man of action

That’s as good as the weather has been in days. Apparently there is still blue sky up there.

I like to still see myself as a MAN OF ACTION. Unbounded reserves of energy. Chiselled, carved out of granite, built like Thor. I do try lots of exercise. Increasingly heavy weights and kettlebells. More and more sit-ups, press-ups and planks.

Sadly the reality is some what different.

Permanently feeling tired, trying not to nod off. A constant battle with my weight. A body more Homer Simpson’s than Superhero. AND I strongly suspect that any self respecting MAN OF ACTION won’t have Pirate George on his duvet cover.

The secrets out now…

Bed

Still cold….

Still one of those day….

Why is it that when you set the alarm to go off at 6.45am that the body alarm decides to go off an hour earlier. I think there should be an official rule. Parents are not safe to parent on less than 3 hours sleep. Certainly for me.

I dragged myself out of bed. Made myself a lovely, thick, dark, evil looking coffee. Then just as I was about to indulge I remembered. I’ve not had caffeine for over a year now. PANTS. So it was poured out and a rather sad looking decaf was brewed.

Then it was exercise before Hawklad was sorted out. I headed outside clearly underdressed for the cold. After a frigid 30 minutes of weights I headed inside for yoga. Yoga inside opens up the exercise to the pets. In this case it was the boy cat. The big boy cat. The biggest cat on the Vets books. As a result of the close attention of the big chap the yoga practice was clearly not as enriching as it should have been.

Then it was time to burn the toast. Drop the apple juice. Realise we had run out of Hawklads breakfast cereal. The usual failed parenting stuff.

Then it was the typical tired homeschooling day. Unable to get the WiFi to work when a school deadline is looming. Unable to find a black pen that works. Unable to find the required watercolour paints. Unable to find a blank A3 sheet. Unable to explain just what on Earth the teacher wants. Unable to get Teams to work. Unable to find the lesson files. Unable to get the iPad to stop changing French spellings back into the closest available English word.

‘J’adore’ might work in French, I suspect the autocorrected ‘Car Door’ is not going to get Hawklad many French marks….

I wonder what the French is for ‘clearly when I’m tired I acquire Superman strength as when I tried to then squeeze in a bit of housework, the hoover handle snapped off when I tried to push it’. I would go on Google translate to check but the WiFi has switched off again just as Hawklad has tried to submit today’s Geography work.

Nothing else for it. Food. As Hawklad tucked into his Gourmet dish (a Pot Noodle) I set about something even I couldn’t mess up. So it was yogurt and cereal. It probably would have been nice but I foolishly turned my back for a second AND

The big fat boy cat was clearly intent on upping his calorific intake. My lunch was perfect for the job.

Is it time to go back to bed yet?

Worn out

It’s a cold, bleak start to the day. Kind of feels like a black and white photo is the way to go.

I was thinking about how a break would be most welcome. Especially today.

We all need a break every so often. Either a change. Or a time to relax. Or a chance to really let the hair down. A chance to experience new lands. Or just a time to breathe.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I am so fortunate with my life. Far too many have so little and are in such dark place. But today I’m feeling just a little worn out. Tired. Thinking back to my last break back in 2015. A lots happened since then. Some good but some really bad. Since 2016 it’s been single Aspergers parenting, fighting the system for our son and trying to eke out an income to pay the bills. Feels like it’s been non stop. A few concerts with Hawklad and taking him to see the occasional sport event. A few walks and up to this year, trail runs. So yes things to be thankful for. But…

But today I just feel worn out. In need of a break. Even just a night away from the house. A different bed. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve done that. But deep down I know that’s not happening any time soon. Asperger parenting is something that you can just can’t drop. Certainly not for a few more years. Maybe longer. So it’s about finding other ways to feel less worn out. Exploiting the options that are open to me and also being thankful for what I have. There are such beautiful things in my life.

We can do this.