It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of nice things and a teenage daughter, will soon find her nice things in the wardrobe of her teenage daughter.
Just three short months ago, I wrote Oh, London, my London, and it hurt to write it.
But last Friday brought me to my knees. DD and her schoolmates had to walk out a back entrance of school, with news helicopters hovering overhead. She came home and just got into bed and watched the Gilmore Girls. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. Nothing felt like it made any sense.
On Saturday, the entire city was on high alert. I had to keep pushing the anxiety down as I took DD to her Saturday classes. Everyone made eye contact on the Tube – so unusual for Londoners. There was a visible police presence everywhere.
And today, I dropped DD to school, like lots of other parents. Except today, we’re acutely aware of what we almost lost on Friday. Of how tenuous our hold on life really is. It’s a little surreal. I feel like I’ve popped some fuzzy pills and they’re delaying all my reactions and responses.
Maybe tomorrow will be different.
Y’all are used to me updating the blog or Twitter with “I’m safe, nowhere near the attack/bomb/insert London incident here”.
Not today. Not effing today. Today, I am smack in the middle of crazy central. But outside the cordon that has my daughter’s school in lockdown. Yes, my baby girl got to school just in time. Some of her friends were not so lucky. There were cuts and scrapes in the stampede to get off the train and out of the station. There were girls stuck in trains behind. Girls walking on tracks, once the power was cut.
And I have spent the best part of today, guts churning, trying to be helpful. Positive. Forward-planning. Reaching out to other parents. But DD’s school is coming out of lockdown and I am going to run up that road to collect her and try not to weep. I am going to hold her and cuddle her and kiss her until she begs for mercy.
And like every other parent at the school, I am going to have to muster the courage to send her off to school again on Monday.
Wish me luck!
Last three days of school – announced at ear-splitting decibels – this morning. Seriously. This term has D…R…A…G…G…E…D on. Like molasses going uphill on a cold day. I am so ready for summer. DD is so ready for summer. Her teacher is so ready for summer (he told me so yesterday!). There’s been a bit of mean-girling this term, and I think all of us are at our wits’ end. One long-time friend told DD last week, “Let’s be friends at our new school till we make new friends, and then we can stop being friends.” DD told her they could get a jump on that plan and ease up on the friendship now. Didn’t mean she didn’t come home and cry a bit. Seriously, puberty starts a whole lot earlier these days. I remember scenarios like these, but I was in my teens.
In other first world problems, my supermarket sent me a text to say my food order will not be delivered as planned at 6pm today due to operational issues. Now bearing in mind I did my food-shopping past 8pm drinking a glass of wine, do you actually think I remember what I ordered, and therefore need to replace? Are you kidding me? The best part of the weekly foodshop is the constant surprise – “I ordered that? Who in this house eats red pesto?”
Speaking of foreign goods which might not be available in the UK minus tariffs after March 2019, we’re still in no-mans-land on the Brexit issue. Everything seem to be hitting a wall – the wall of governmental incompetence. There are no clear plans, no clear talking points, no guarantees for Europeans, and the rhetoric just seems to be ramping up. The UK chief negotiator spent a grand total of a few hours in Brussels the other day – given that this is his ONLY job, I expected him to show a little more dedication. Silly me! So my new strategy is to avoid engaging the loonies on social media, and every time I really get mad, I memorise some French grammar.
I took 60 hours of intensive French (equivalent to A levels/AP French) over the last 6 weeks and let me tell ya, I’m in love. I’ve always adored French but never studied it officially. Learning it properly has just opened up my eyes. I can now read more, and speak and write, too. The South West of France won’t know what hit it next month. DD is learning with me. She will continue with Spanish in middle school, and add French in September, so she figured she’d get a jump-start on things. France has always been top on the list of places we could move, should we have to – we’re just being sensible, really. Husband is feeling horribly left out – he only speaks English and Scottish.
Soooooo, that’s where I’ve been and that’s where I’m going. Oh yeah, we also had the Canadian Crew visit after 7 years and the girls got on like a house on fire. There were many tears and strops every time they had to part. Hey, maybe I should start looking at Canada! They speak French and have socialised healthcare, right?
What are you up to? Read any good books lately? What should I load on my Kindle?
It has been a rough few weeks. Just really kick-you-in-the-knees, punch-you-in-the-junk awful. But as proven time and time before, Londoners rise and rally – sip a cup of tea – and get on with it.
I asked BB after the attack near Notre Dame how she was handling things. I wasn’t coping too well. She said she was being ‘selfish’. Focusing on pouring love into her family. Focusing on the daily. The small things, which really are the big things.
She’s right (she’s always right).
Love. Hope. Compassion. Sympathy. Ooze these feelings. Smear them all over your families. Communities.
Tonight, I’m praying for the families up the road who have lost everything in the tower inferno. For the exhausted firefighters fighting a blaze of proportions they’ve never seen before. The medics and doctors. And for all the helpers, who have already managed to rally supplies, money and temporary homes for the victims.
Love is so much better than hate.
I can relate to ALL of these!
The last time I cleared my mind I found a button, a peanut shell and a big tumbleweed.
Don’t irk me. I’ll dance naked under a full moon, strewing beautiful wildflower seeds all over your perfectly manicured lawn.
Doing all those hours of cardio every week and still getting winded climbing one flight of stairs is why I have trust issues.
It’s not so much the heat, as it is the stupidity.
I don’t have Mood Swings; I have Mood Quakes.
Whatever the phobia is where you fear being on a plane without a decent book. I have that.
Behind every true friendship there is an automatic unwritten confidentiality agreement.
All of my liquid assets are bottles of wine.
Facebook reminded me of this post from 2 years ago… her thoughts on the three wise men still make me laugh!
It’s been an odd few days. I’ve had some funny and sad conversations with Daughter Dear (DD). She is sharp, witty & observant, and I forget underneath all that, she’s a 9-year-old tween trying to make sense of her world as its boundaries expand. Here are a few snippets from yesterday…
Impromptu geography quiz on the walk to school…she got Chile, Morocco, the Dominican Republic….and then:
Me: Where is Papua New Guinea?
DD: You can’t start MAKING UP countries now!
Time to stop using the globe as an indoor football, methinks.
Later last night, apropos of nothing:
DD: You know the three wise men?
Me: Not personally, no. I’m not THAT old. But I know of their work.
DD: Yeah, if they were so wise (air quotes here), why didn’t they bring useful stuff, like a cot, and a midwife, and maybe some takeaway?
Me: Yes, why not indeed?…
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Clearly, Prince Philip saved his pennies wisely and is now taking a well-deserved break! There have been a lot of mumblings and mutterings about this, with the debate raging on about the Royal family’s value to the UK, but here’s what I know. It’s nice to have the Queen, and Princes William & Harry, and the Duchess of Cambridge to also be the faces of this kingdom, rather than Theresa May and her cronies. Just an outsider’s ha’penny worth 😉
DD: Hey, Ma, how’s my pension plan doing?
Me: It’s doing OK. Obviously, it’ll go up and down based on the markets, but you’ve got at least 50 years to grow it.
DD: And you’re doing your best, right? All the research?
Me: Yes, my love, but why are you so worried? Have you been watching the news?
DD: Yeah. I was watching earlier, and I mean, if the Queen of England has to work over 63 years and she can’t retire, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Your Majesty, I promise I will do a better job of educating my child for as long as we liveth in the UK. And Happy Longest Reign!
Insomnia struck again last night. I couldn’t calm my brain no matter how much slow breathing I tried. So I whipped up a list of love songs. That’s right. Read ’em and weep. Or die laughing. Share them with your children. Share ’em with a friend. As you can tell, some titles are right, some a just guesswork. The spelling is hilarious. Who cares? YaKnowWhatIMean! From my tired brain to yours – you’re welcome! Got any to add to the list? Comment away!
Dear Reader, if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you will have seen the luscious red velvet cupcake I posted a few days ago, to mark my turning a year older. Not wiser, or funnier, just older. One year short of I-think-I-might-be-grown-up-now.
Being the research ninja I am, I thought looking into the mid-life information on the interwebs might give me some pointers as to how best to blow through this next stage of life. Boy, was that a bad idea! It’s all insomnia and dipping oestrogen levels and visceral fat around organs and reduced muscle mass and bone loss and depression. Seriously?!
How about joy – I’ve finally got my head together (somewhat!)? Joy that I can share my wisdom (stop snickering!) with my daughter. Joy that I have more in my bank account now, than in my twenties, to buy all the books and drink all the coffee. Joy that I can afford all the nice gel insoles to support my falling arches and depleted knee joints. I’ve still got about thirty years of several careers to try out. Or I could just keep doing what I do, because I do it well. I love being a mentor. I’ve found my rhythm. I’m excited that DD is old enough for us to travel together and enjoy these years before she heads off to live her life.
So while I’m sure my oestrogen levels are going to drop, and I’m going to get crankier, and my widening middle is more down to my age than garment manufacturers ganging up against me, I still think I’ve got more fun to look forward to than behind me.
Like more red velvet cake. Nom nom nom.