365 Happy Days – A smile a day – Part 9

Having had a crazy, busy start to the week I’ve been away from my shiny new MacBook for a few days; I think I need to cast my mind back to 2010 and the real start of my ‘new normal’.  I think if a poll was taken of dates people break up Christmas would feature pretty heavily; I guess we have time on our hands at a grotty time of year weather wise, when we’re cloistered inside difficulties are magnified somehow.  As I sat in bed on the morning of December 23rd I knew I was done and I also know now that I will never ‘make do’, never compromise again.  My Christmas Day 2010 was almost harder than the one the year before,a level of normality was kept for the ‘kids’ they’d been through a lot too.  Strangely enough though with my kids away in the afternoon a migraine descended and I spent a few hours in bed.  I imagine that one of the things keeping couples together who really would be better off apart are the logistics and financial aspects.  With a large family we had a large house; with both of us in good jobs, it wasn’t easy to manage but it was doable.  we decided that we’d try to live in that house, and weirdly I moved into Luke’s old room – no longer a sh*thole – it had a nice wooden floor; no burn marks!  And had been painted in a tasteful shade of light green.  Oh, and the furniture had been moved out while it was painted, not that there was anything worth keeping once Luke had lived like a tramp!  I can sit here and write that and chuckle to myself now, goodness it drove me crazy for years!  So unimportant in the scheme of things though, if I’d known then what I know now I wouldn’t have nagged as much as I did.  Some teenagers and actually some adults are untidy beings; does it really matter in their own bedroom?  From my perspective now?  Nope, not at all really.  Growing up is hard, teenagers brains aren’t wired quite the same as the rest of us and I do believe that some of the challenge that’s put up is preparing both parties for moving away from each other; setting up a distance if you like.  So, and here’s a bit of a ‘sermon’ if you’re in the midst of loggerheads with your teenager try to think of a different solution, let them live in a pig sty of that’s what they desire, you don’t have to go in their room, make it their responsibility to keep it how they want it.  My bedroom right now as I sit here writing is a complete mess if I’m honest, sports programmes everywhere, clothes piled on a chair.  Does it stop me functioning?  No it doesn’t, my space so I keep it how I want it, mind you I will, if I’m not gallivanting all weekend tidy some of the debris away!

A special photo with Luke and his friends Leanne and Samantha

(And my Mum in the background – extra special)



So, back to ‘living’ in Luke’s bedroom – strangely enough I found it peaceful – I bought myself a decent mattress, and had some of the best nights sleep I’d had since Luke had died.  In my life I’d pretty much been in a relationship from the age of 17, I lived with a long term boyfriend from the age of 21, and being a coward when things weren’t working I didn’t confront the problems – I seem to be good at that!  I met my kids’ Dad when I was still there and we were married within a year; then when that all went awry I was in a relationship with the an who was to be my second husband within 4 months!  So, I got close to the age 0f 50 (yes I did just say that out loud!  Now everyone knows!) before I really had time to myself, and goodness i found it liberating!  I did then and I still do now nearly 4 years later!  I love music with a passion, all sorts, but dance music in particular, and not music from the 80’s, although it has its place, I love now music, loud as can be!  Drum & Base, House, Garage, all sorts!  It was always a source of argument between my husband and I – he called the music I love rubbish; now in my opinion no music is rubbish – it may not be to my taste, but all music has value and appeals to someone.  Anyway back to my own space; I can remember dancing round the room getting ready for work every morning, then singing at the top of my voice on the drive to work.  It was strange really, at an earlier stage in my life when my 1st marriage failed I couldn’t listen to music for months.  After Luke died music as one of the things that helped me find my smile again. It was such an important part of his life that feels so right.  In fact all of my children have an amazingly wide and varied taste in music – Alexandra and Jake being far more sophisticated than their Mum in their choice of tunes.  Kerry is also music mad, although I suspect both she and Alex would turn their noses up at some of my dance style choices.  The likes of David Guetta, Pitbull, Chris Brown (both politically incorrect I know), Chase & Status to name a few helped to give me joy back.  It’s hard to stay quiet (not that I often am) and mournful when you have a beat in your ear.


For a while it was hard to listen to ‘meaningful’ music, but that has come back to me too.  I must make a confession at this point and this includes Alex in the fessing up – she and I both love to belt out a Disney song, many a time when she’d get into my car we’d look at each other and agree without speaking that we were in need of a good old sing song – Disney it had to be.  Those that can see me driving into work in the mornings, now know that if I look like I’m singing at the top of my voice it’s likely to be to a disney tune, or my other guilty pleasure Glee!  A very good friend of mine Maria is one of the most unlikely Gleeks you could meet, she introduced me to the joy of Glee when we went to see it performed live at the O2 and I’ve never looked back.  The wonder of music really did have a lot to do with helping me find my smile and it continues to do so on a daily basis.  Be proud of your choice of music, and next time you feel low?  Have a go at belting a song out at the top of your voice!  A tale before I sign off this evening which is about pushing your boundaries – a 6th former at work was in need of performers for a show he had to put on for his course.  Much as I love singing I’d never sung in front of anyone other than my ear bashed family.  I agreed to sing, figuring that if 11 year olds could so could I! (mind you they know they can sing!)  I picked a Disney song from The Little Mermaid and ‘sung’ it in front of 300 people – I put the word sung that way because I was so nervous my voice was wobbling – I hate to think what it sounded like!  However I helped raise £1000 for a great cause with some other brave (or stupid) colleagues and then a further £100 from some lovely twitter followers who watched the video of the painful event on YouTube.  I like to leave you with a smile so you can now picture my lovely daughter Alex literally rolling around the floor she was laughing so much when she watched said video! How rude!

Alexandra on the other side of the camera – another reason to smile


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