Next weekend – it could be you!

DSC02288

We Were Fam-i-ly

Weekends to widows are what weddings are to singletons.

But rather than trying to pair you off with the perennially single ‘old friend’, in widowhood everyone looks at you sidelong, hardly daring to ask how you’re going to fill that huge 48 hour void until work-time comes around again and they can stop feeling awkward about the fact that they’ve got heaps of fun stuff planned with their family.

This weekend I was mainly alone with my daughter. Unfortunately my mother (my weekday partner) has a life of her own, and sent me a text from somewhere on the Northumbrian coast to say she wouldn’t be home until tea-time on Sunday.

“Cool!” I replied. “Enjoy!”

The void loomed. I tried to convince myself that it didn’t.

Hey, LOADS of parents are alone with their kids this weekend, it’s not just me! But the evidence suggested otherwise. Everywhere I went, kids with parents. Two of ’em, scurrying round after their progeny with ‘We Are Fam-i-ly’ as a backing track .

On Saturday, I tried to be a ‘good’ parent. I took us for a day out. We got accosted by nature do-gooders and I wound up with a membership to the Wildlife Trust.

Can I be honest here? The reason I did it was not for my love of squirrels, but because the kindly old man showed an interest in us and was nice to my daughter. He showed her a blackbird’s nest and woodpecker feathers. He was a grown, adult male and had engaged me in conversation.

“Family membership is it?” he asked, pen poised over the ‘family’ tick-box.

“No. Just me and her.”

I kept the poor bastard chatting for twenty five minutes, and we were possibly the most grateful new recruits the guy had ever had.

Then came the evening. My daughter and I ate our meal. We went to bed, together, at 11 pm. She high on Toy Story, me low on booze.

And then … Sunday. With Mother not back ’til teatime, how would the day take shape? Friends stopped by. They asked me (sidelong) how I was planning to fill the day.

“My sister has asked us to go to the park!” I replied, gleefully.

Don’t worry, I wanted to say. I know this is awkward for you. But someone else has taken up the slack this time.

But next weekend, look out – it could be you!

Advertisements

Him and her

DSC02684

This is Him, and her.

Hello. I’m having a glass of Rioja at the end of one of those ‘Oh sweet Satan’s ball-sack, I’m a TERRIBLE mother’ days. Will you join me?

I have had the emotional resilience of Wensleydale cheese today (crumbly, for all you non-Northern-English people). And I’ve been unable to toughen myself up.

And my child has both a) witnessed it and b) had to stay at my Mother’s whilst I spent time collapsing on the bed at home. It sounds melodramatic, but I swear, today, I’ve not even been able to THINK about, you know, Him, without going all Wensleydale.

I don’t know why it hits you like this. Anyone? Anyone?

If I’d even tried to compose a post earlier I wouldn’t have had the energy to press the buttons on the keyboard. Fortunately, Rioja has the same effect on me as spinach has on Popeye – it makes me strong to the finich.

It’s the school holidays and I’m up to my ears with the sound of kids shouting for their daddies. I’m sick of people rambling on about going on holiday together. I’m weary of people complaining about the forthcoming fortnight they’re going to have to endure with their husband and kids. I’d sell a kidney for the chance of a holiday with just Him and her.

“Are you cryin’?” My daughter asked me, as tears powered down my cheeks.

“Uhuh.”

“‘Cos you miss Daddy?”

“U”- snort- “Huh”

She doesn’t say anymore than that these days. She just goes and gets a length of toilet paper from the bathroom and clumsily tries to stop the flow.

And I thought to myself today – with no level of profundity whatsoever – I thought, nothing really matters. Nothing.

All I want is you, Buble. Can you hear me?

We’re (not) going on a Summer holiday…

English: Victorian postbox Second one seen tod...

English: Victorian postbox Second one seen today, on a pebble-dashed wall in Upper Chapel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone I know is either a) on holiday or b) going on holiday shortly.

It’s the school summer break, see. And the law states that families must ‘vacate’ in some shape or form during this period.

My line is: “I don’t like holidays. I’m frightened of flying, so I’d rather stay at home.” And I’m sticking to it.

(The truth is, I’ve got no-one to go away with, even if I wanted to. Which I don’t, right, because I don’t like holidays and I’m frightened of flying, so I’d rather stay at home. Who wants an Italian piazza when you’ve got a row of pebble-dashed houses to look out onto whilst drinking your vino tinto?)

I probably sound ungrateful. Lots of people don’t have a chance to go on holiday, even if they have a spouse to go with. But the fact is, I don’t give a shit. I’m full of red wine and self-pity tonight, and this blog is GETTING IT.

I don’t want to go to Corfu with a friend. I don’t want to ‘do’ a Haven holiday in Whitby. I want to be doing anything, literally, anything, with my husband and my daughter. Even looking out on a row of pebble-dashed houses together would be peachy-keen.

The ‘holidays’ stretch out before me; a flabby surplus of time. Friends and family are fucking off to have fun with the people they love most in the world. They’re packing suitcases, ulcerating over whether they have enough swimming attire, running to Primark in a panic to get their last-minute lounger-wear.

Me? I’m happy to stay at home, because did I mention that I don’t like holidays and I don’t like flying?

I also love pebble-dash.

It’s better than drinking alone

English: KitKat chunky. Français : Barre de Ki...

English: KitKat chunky. Français : Barre de KitKat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK so starter for ten: The following lyric is from which song?

‘They’re sharing a drink they call loneliness / But it’s better than drinking alone…’

Answer at end of post. Scroll down there now if you can’t be arsed with a squiffy widow’s random ruminations on above quote.

In fact, my daughter, aged 5, selected this CD today out of a collection of thousands. (Mine amount to around twenty, the rest were His). We listened to it in the car and I was struck by the lyric, as I have been struck by many a song lyric since M died.

This tune involves barflies congregating around a piano, conjoined in mutual melancholia. It’s also a song about drinking, which has become as much a feature of my life as brushing my teeth and a morning brew.

The thing is – everyone is going through their own shit. I’ve lost my husband, I’m never going to see Him again. This has become my life and my eternal sorrow.

But I have come to recognise that my loss is relative to what everyone else is going through. People are fielding blows of their own. One friend has just found out her sister has cancer. Another’s boyfriend is on bail. Someone else is facing redundancy. My Dad visits my Grandpa in the care home every single day in bewilderment that the formidable character he knew and loved is now solely preoccupied by Kit-Kats.

We all invariably end up in the pub discussing and sharing our woes.

But it’s better than drinking alone, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVKtL9VU8rQ