- July 19, 2017
I have learned something today. What I have learned does not sit well with me. I have learned that the bigotry and ignorance surrounding the HIV infection is still as enormously outdated as it ever was. Sad times.
Back in the late 80s, when I was a teenager, the HIV and AIDS crisis was a hot topic. Nobody seemed to know very much at all about the origins of this ‘killer virus’, and fear spread amongst everybody. I remember at around 14 or 15 years old, going out for the day with a friend of mine. We met 2 boys a year or 2 older than us. When they tried to kiss us we ran for our lives, believing at that point that you could contract this deadly virus through saliva! And we believed this, because it’s what we’d been told; it’s what we’d been taught. I don’t know whether it was through misinformation, or whether it’s what people really believed for a while, but once awareness spread about the true facts of contraction, the ignorant haters started their campaigns of hostility and malevolence, mostly directed at the gay male community.
So it saddens me that in an age where we are supposed to stand...
- July 10, 2017
We recently had a date night, Mr Sunshine and me. Date nights force us to talk. It’s not that we don’t usually talk, it’s that we have to get a bit more deep and meaningful than “what do you want for dinner?” or “where’re me effin’ car keys?”. Yet for somebody who I often refer to as my 5th child, Mr Sunshine never surprises me with his wisdom. Quite often I have to say “use your words, Dave” (I know! Bless him) as our conversations revolve around “the thing, Jane. You know… the thingy… that thingy I was on about”, so when we have a good old chat, where I have a good rant and moan, he finds his words; he’s the one who keeps me grounded and gives me the perspective I so desperately need.
Take the other night, for instance. We’d had a lovely meal out with 2 of our best friends. Eddie and Mr Sunshine chatted shit about sport, and Rachel and I put the world to rights pretending that we knew EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Unfortunately Rachel can’t seem to do food and drink in one sitting anymore, and the fact that she’d had a long day at work meant...
- July 10, 2017
My friend Elaine is one of the best Mums I know. I don’t just say this because she’s my friend, I say this because it’s true. Her life as a Mother has brought her satisfaction and joy beyond compare, but for her, every day can be a struggle to reach the peak of that satisfaction.
She is Mum to 2 beautiful children now aged 20 and 16, and she’ll readily admit that she has brought them up completely differently. She’ll happily tell you that her youngest is granted far more leeway in a lot of situations than his older sibling was; that she’ll turn the other cheek and walk away if he’s rude to her, rather than chastise him; and she is painfully aware of the fact that some people think he’s arrogant. He’s not arrogant. He has Asperger’s Syndrome.
Elaine and her husband Mike realised quite early that there was something a little different about him. At about a year old when she returned to work after maternity leave, he struggled with day care. It had to be one specific Keyworker he was literally handed over...
- June 14, 2017
For a long time after my 3rd baby was born I didn’t cope very well. I didn’t realise it at the time as I just carried on with life, switching to autopilot to get through the days, but looking back, postnatal depression had set in long before I admitted it to myself, and even longer still before I visited my GP.
Even before my 3rd gorgeous baby girl was born in the summer of 1998, my marriage was pretty much dead. We just existed, sharing a house but not really sharing our lives. My pregnancy didn’t fit in with my now ex husband’s plans, whatever those plans might have been. Relatively symptom free, I didn’t suffer too badly with morning sickness, but on one of the days that I did and I asked him for help, his response was “you’ll have to manage. It’s your baby, get on with it!” So at the age of 26 I had a five year old, a four year old, and a new born baby to look after pretty much solo.
Emma was a clingy baby. From the moment she was born, if anybody but me picked her up for a cuddle she cried. It could become very draining,...
- June 06, 2017
My 9 year old son has been here before. Of that I am sure. I am also equally sure that he was gifted to me, as when he came along, so did my faith. Don’t get me wrong, I go to Church, but I’m no Bible basher. It’s just that my belief in God has never been so sure and so strong since he arrived.
I think I’ve always known that there’s been something different about him; something special. Right from when he was tiny, he’s just been so in tune with me. He can look at me sometimes, and I feel like he’s looking into my very soul, knowing instantly when I’m a little under par and dispensing his own kind of medicine to make me feel better. This ‘medicine’ can be anything from a cuddle (he’s so good at cuddles!), a kiss, or his hand stroking my face coupled with some simple but humbling words: “It’s OK, Mummy. You have me.” He was quite a late talker, but once he could string a sentence together one of his most common phrases was “are you happy, Mummy?” He would ask this several times a day, reminding me that happiness can be a choice,...
- June 06, 2017
It’s the simple things that make me happy. Spending time with Mr Sunshine and spending time with my children. It’s not that often that I get to see my oldest three babies, and rarely all together so I really have to make the most of it when I do.
Daughter number 1 and daughter number 2 came over the other day (daughter number 3 is away at university), and some funny thoughts ran through my head as I watched them interacting with one another. The first was that they’re now older than I was when I gave birth to them. I couldn’t imagine them having their own children; they’re just not old enough! The second thought was how we’ve kind of come full circle. My eldest, Laura was too young to remember life before Rebecca, so from the moment they were a two, they really were inseparable.
They stayed that way for a good few years, sharing literally everything. Although Rebecca was an average size for her age, Laura struggled to put on weight, and for a long time they were the same weight, the same height and more often than not mistaken for twins. I sometimes worry that I robbed them...
- May 26, 2017
I am one of those women. One of those women of a certain age, and it’s only quite recently that I realised it. I’ve just been for my 3 yearly smear test. Ugh. Men don’t know they’re bloody born! Smear tests are one of those things that we women categorise along with the likes of going to the dentist; you know you have to do it, you just don’t want to do it. Although given the choice, I’d take the dentist any day of the week!
12 years ago, having a smear test probably saved my life. Ooh, dramatic I hear you say. I say, not at all. The first I realised that the results from that test had come back as abnormal, was when a letter arrived on my doormat one morning informing me that an appointment had been made for me at the hospital, where I would meet with a Consultant, and a biopsy would be performed if he thought it necessary.
I immediately phoned my Surgery to see if they could shed any light for me, as by now I was at DEFCON 5! I was transferred between the receptionist and the practice nurse for what seemed like an age before one of the doctors came onto...
You’ll know by now that I’ve got a bit of a gob. My mouth has got me into more trouble in the past than I’d care to admit to. Simply because I sometimes forget to switch the filter on. I have tried in the last few years, to just be more diplomatic in certain situations, and not to just gob off because the words are in my mouth before I’ve communicated them to my brain; after all, I was always taught “if you’ve got nothing nice to say, then say nothing”. This is not to say that I’m unkind. Far from it. I’m actually totally fucking fabulous. It’s just that I can have the tendency to be a little, erm, honest! I’d never go out of my way to upset anybody, or intentionally hurt anybody’s feelings, but sometimes, if something needs to be said, then what’s the point of keeping it in?
All of this can be quite conflicting at times, as I’m desperately mindful of raising my son Jude the right way. He’s such a sensitive little chap, and his calming personality keeps me well and truly in check, so whether it’s conscious or not, I’m just generally more ‘Jude’...
Mr Sunshine wants to move in. I’m almost certain I want him to. Almost. 99% sure in fact.
We’ve been together for 13 years. That’s pretty good going in this day and age. But, ooh, I worry it’s lasted that long because we don’t live together. We’ve been having ‘moving in conversations’ for a few weeks now. He’s told me he’s bored of living alone, he wants us to be together, and “the sooner the better Jane”. The sooner the better actually means later on this year. Mr Sunshine’s daughter is due to join the ranks of the poor student in September, so he feels that this will be the optimum time to pack up his shit, and move it into my house. By shit, I mean things like this….. and this…. and even bloody worse, this…. Where the hell am I going to find a ‘suitable’ place to hang these works of art???
Aside from all the paraphernalia, I worry that it won’t work; him living in my house. Because then it will be ‘our’ house. I don’t mean to sound selfish, as I’m the...
Have you ever had an armed escort through an airport terminal? I have….
In 2014, Dave and I took our first holiday alone since before Jude was born. It was Dave’s 50th birthday; he wanted golf, I wanted sunshine, so we took off for a few days in Portugal.
We had the best time. As he gets on my tits quite a lot and we don’t live in each other’s pockets needing to spend every minute together, most days he went and sweated his nuts off chasing little balls around various (expensive!!) golf courses, whilst I flambéed myself around the hotel swimming pool and drank the all-inclusive bar dry of their cheap knock off Bacardi. All too soon, although we could have easily got used to that lifestyle (even if my liver could not) England beckoned.
Our airport transfer was booked for around midday. I bloody hate that. Right, bang in the middle of the day. By the time we’d checked out of our room, there wasn’t time to go anywhere, so we just sat there in the hotel lobby, scrolling through social media and twiddling our thumbs waiting for our taxi. This was all made worse by the fact that the bitchface hotel receptionist...