It’s been one of those weeks in our house. If we were a TV station, we would be called Drama Central, a series of shocking shows were reality and madness are entwined in a farcical folly of frantic antics, or (since I’m allowing myself to make up whole words these days, because, you know, I got a book deal and everything) frantics.
I’m considering upping my Gin intake so that I can justify a week in the Priory.
Just one episode this week started at 2am (all the best shows are after the 9pm watershed so I can swear without restraint). What a surprise but I had a child in my bed. It seems like, OH WHO’s COUNTING?, months that I haven’t had a sick, injured or whole-bed-hugging child in my bed. It seems they have a rota queueing system that as soon as one is back to their bed, another comes in. Anyway, this one had a newly attached cast on her little arm (second week of school, broken elbow, surgery to insert pins and wires. This was preceded in week one of school by a rare virus that made her joints swell up so she couldn’t walk. NOT MAKING THIS UP… Drama Central is a high octane channel). So I’m clinging to the edge of my bed because the little thing can’t get comfortable with a big solid sticky-out arm that won’t just quite lie flat on the bed, so she keeps rolling over and whacking me on the face with her aforementioned hardened arm. (I am already sporting a slit eyelid and black eye from a run-in with some DIY, so I’m looking the part for this show). So there I am thinking all the danger is in my bed, when I am poked by my middle one in a slightly hysterical manner with a mumbled frightened unintelligible panic-pronounced posturing that something terrible was happening in her bedroom. Something about a hamster and a cat. At this stage, filtered music was playing the Psycho theme as I stumble into her bedroom. In this episode on Drama Central, two coincidences had to coincide to make the drama work. But life is stranger than fiction so I enter the bedroom to find that my panther cat has somehow snuck upstairs despite being locked in the kitchen, on the VERY SAME NIGHT that the hamster has somehow escaped from it’s cage. (Still not making this up). So a demonic full-blown, fur-balled, cat and hamster chase is in full progress and it’s not looking good for the midget. Mid-mauling, I manage to throw myself on the cat, and, leaving the half-dead hamster feet up on the carpet. I manage to get him downstairs (scratches and near eye-ball tearing on the way down) as I throw him into the kitchen. I climb the stairs fretting with sickness about how on earth I’m going to now finish the job on the hamster and kill him in front of my hysterical daughter. I arrive into the room to find her stroking the little mite who must have been playing dead because now looks pleased as punch and enjoying the attention. I spent the rest of the episode until 3am hand feeding her little pieces of apple to make sure she didn’t die of fright. Got back to bed, lay down, and whack! My arm-casted little one rolls over and smacks me in the nose.
That’s just one episode of my week. I haven’t been sleeping. I’m exhausted as I get used to the strain of parenting by myself. I am at the stage when I want to switch off the channel all together.
But as usual it is the celebration of sisterhood that gets me through.
Watching how my other girls are loving and comforting their little sister makes me wistful sometimes that I never had sisters. They are so entwined and embedded in each others lives, a pea, a carrot and a broccoli perhaps, but all from the same pod. (There are plenty of episodes called Screeching Slashing Sisters where they literally take chunks of flesh out of each other, but I try and delete them). They amaze me, that sisterly bond.
And this week I felt how much I have it too. I don’t have biological sisters, but I have bonded sisters all the same. I have been really down, the full weight of the heartache and grief and dramas of this year settling on my shoulders as a new term begins and I realise how much work my new life involves. And how overwhelming it all is at times.
And my close friends – my sisters-in-situ – have put their arms of comfort around me. These are just some of the things they have done in the last week or so:
- Named a room after me in their new house, a place that I know is mine to come and bury my head (and drink wine and be given hearty meals), a welcome that tells me I have been adopted as part of their family.
- Daily check-in phone calls, face-time goodnights and texts of hello just to let me know I’m loved
- Showing up with home-made gluten free dessert on a Sunday morning as they knew I’d force myself to make one for the girl’s Sunday dinner despite being wrecked
- Showing up to walk my dog and ‘not stopping to talk’ so I could get my work done
- Giving me a birthday card they had just bought for themselves so I didn’t have to go out to the shops
- Sent me research for my book
- Re-organised their weekly calendar and sent me Tuesday night invites as they know I have to be out of the house so the girl’s daddy can put them to bed
- Bought me chocolate
- Gave me hugs
- Took me and the girls in for dinner again, even though it was my turn, because I needed to just sit down and abdicate all responsibility for a couple of hours.
- Tell me I look much better when I grumble I’ve gone up a dress size
- And one of my Mum’s best friends came to stay at the weekend and she walked into my house and said all the things my mum would have done “Oh I love the place!”. And she fawned over the girls as my Mum would have done, loving me and them on behalf of my Mum, because they too, shared the sisterhood of friendship.
I miss my Mum terribly, now more than ever. But she has given me her sisters-in-situ, and I have mine, and that is making all the difference.