We have had the best summer holidays ever. There wasn’t a single day where the little one (or me!) felt bored.
I was able to balance seeing clients and running a business, with spending quality time with her.
We took lots of little trips instead of one big trip. And it started from the first weekend of the holidays.
(She’s being a Unicorn, not saying Loser)
I have been observing something lately.
I have been observing how the hubby is not really a father to the little one. He is her coolest play buddy.
He makes her the most fun meals.
He watches the silliest funniest videos with her.
He plays silly games.
He sneaks chocolates and sweets for her while I’m with clients.
As a result of trying to be the coolest friend she could ever have, he does stupid things quite often, like:
- giving her chocolate just before bedtime
- setting her up to watch Stampy videos on YouTube (she is now addicted)
- getting her set up on his computer with a game so he can’t play on his computer any more.
- letting her bounce on his bed which un-makes his bed when he is not physically able to re-make it.
I put this theory to him last night. He gave me a wry smile and admitted that I might have a point.
To prove the point, I asked the little one “Is your daddy the coolest friend you’ve ever had?”
“Oh yes!” she answered enthusiastically with a massive smile on her face.
We all know men are really big kids. So my theory is father’s are trying to be their child’s coolest best friend. What do you think?
I discovered HolidayPirates. This is dangerous. Really cheap holidays!
And then I discovered a deal for a family of 4 at Legoland in Windsor for just £99 including a day pass to the park for all of us and a night in a hotel. I had to have it. So the little one and I, a friend and her little boy, headed out over the weekend to Windsor. Petrol is a lot cheaper so driving only added £160 to the cost of the trip. £160 for 4 of us to get to London and back.
Off we go!
We took our time on the drive down. This is the M6 Toll services
She loves staying in hotels.
My friend read around before so we went to the park with a strategy on how to make the best of our day
What we did right:
1. We got there early and parked easily, close to the park
2. Once in the park we stopped at the cafe and had a Starbucks (oh yes) while we waited for it to open at 10. We didn’t queue. It took a couple of minutes for the massive queue into the park to clear. I supped on my coffee
3. We got a Qbot. We got an express one because we figured it would be busy. Sunday, all the schools off, sunny day. Probably busiest day of the year. We didn’t queue for any ride which meant we made the most of our time.
4. We worked from the back of the park forward. There were no queues when we got to the ride
5. We got the refillable drinks. The cups are great and you refill them for free at various places around the park
7. We didn’t worry about getting wet
8. We took plenty of refreshment breaks. We ate in the Legoland hotel for lunch. Brilliant. Buffet lunch. Loads of different options for kids including loads of wheat free stuff. The kids ate loads of great food. They had lego brick shaped chips – and no wheat. Great softplay area in the Legoland hotel too.
9. I used Periscope to share the rides with my hubby. He was very excited too. We tried to get lots of selfies on the rides. My friend is in the background on this one.
By the time we got to 3pm we were totally exhausted but really made the most of our day. We all had a great time.
What we learnt for next time:
1. The Legoland hotel is amazing and backs onto the park. We will find a way to stay there next time.
2. We need 2 days to make sure we experience everything we want to experience.
3. We bought the express Qbot for £35 each (gulp). Definitely worth having a Qbot but we would have been fine with the standard one for £20 each. By the middle of the day the wait time for rides without the Qbot was 45 minutes. I would definitely get it but not the more expensive one.
4. The Legoland hotel is a must. It would allow us to come back and chill in the afternoon before heading back to the park. We tried to go to the splashzone but it was mental. Heaving. If we could go back later that would be great.
Overall we did the best we could do to make the most of the experience. We all loved it and will definitely go back again.
I sat, late at night, by his incubator and read him Harry Potter. I wanted him to be hearing my voice. It was my third visit of the day. He wasn’t having a good day. I was trying to focus on him instead of the numbers on the monitor. The numbers were not where they should be.
He was uncomfortable. He was writhing and crying. I hadn’t seen him like this before and it killed me. I tried to concentrate on reading.
Earlier that day they had given him a steroid injection. It was supposed to give his lungs a chance but it was risky. It stopped cell regeneration.
I couldn’t stand it. I left to drive home. I had a bad feeling.
Then again, every day for the past 30 days I had that bad feeling and he had fought and proved me wrong.
This time it was different. When I was 5 minutes from home I got the phone call I was dreading. That phone call was the reason we had told no one to call us since he was born. We needed to come in. Right then.
I picked the hubby up, turned round, and we drove back to the hospital.
A 10 minute drive that I didn’t want to end because I knew what was at the other end.
We walked down the long corridor to the NICU.
We both struggled. The hubby was still recovering from a quadruple heart bypass. I was still recovering from a caesarean. We were both trying not to collapse. Physically, but more so emotionally.
When we arrived we were told he had a tear in his stomach. He was too small. There was nothing that could be done.
The last semblance of hope that he could fight this went.
We sobbed. I remember they put a screen around us so that the other parents wouldn’t see.
He was in agony. They upped his morphine.
We were taken into a separate room and he came with us. He was calm now. Drugged up. We had to tell them it was ok to switch off his incubator.
I held him. For the first time I saw his face. Without the tubes. I held him close. For the first time.
I watched his beautiful face as I held him and his nose turned blue. I wanted him to breathe on his own. To prove them wrong. I wanted him to be one of those amazing babies that came back to life after contact with his mother.
It didn’t happen.
While I held him for the longest time that I had been able to in the 30 days he lived.
He died in my arms. So did a part of me. A part of me that will always be with him. I will never be whole again.
After the verdict in the court case, I decided that I could not go back to North Wales again.
If it had been guilty he would be locked away. But it wasn’t, which means I can bump into him. That seemed like too big a risk to take.
With great sadness I decided I wouldn’t return to this place that I love so much until he has died (I wouldn’t know if he had left)
But I’ve been thinking about this.
And it is my choice to make. It is my decision. And I have already taken away all the power he had over me. Why should I let him have this?
And if I did bump into him, he would be more scared of me than I would be of him.
So I’ve made a decision. I have chosen to have the freedom to make my own choices without anyone else being able to have power over me.
I have decided I will return to North Wales. I will take my friend and the little one and we will have a few days.
Because what I do with my life is my choice and I will not allow anyone to have power over my choices again.
No one was there for me.
Everyone always put themselves first. Is it any surprise I have always believed there is something wrong with me?
Who doesn’t put a child first? Who doesn’t care for, and protect, a child?
But it wasn’t like that was it?
I cared for you. When I was at home you came and hid in my room when you’d had an argument with him. Oh the irony.
I pushed you in your wheelchair, helped you in and out of the car, helped you up and down from your seat, helped you walk. I even lit your cigarettes for you. I did everything.
At night, when the out of hours doctor came because you were so ill, I sat in my room, scared that you would go away. That I would be left with him.
I looked after you. I helped you.
When I left home, I visited often. I visited you. I didn’t want to see him.
I bought you gifts. For a while I sent you money every month.
I did everything I could to make sure you were ok.
I helped you move into your new home when he divorced you.
I kept in touch. I bought you stuff.
I tried to talk to you about what had happened. You offered to go to therapy together. I was already having therapy. Why would I go with you?
You didn’t get it. You didn’t get any of it. You said “It’s not like he raped you or anything”. No, he didn’t rape me. I guess that makes it ok.
I told you that I didn’t want to talk to you again until you could show you understood what had happened.
We didn’t speak again. You didn’t get it. You never cared.
I still thought about you. Worried about you.
Then Adam died. You came to the funeral. The hubby said that earned you the right to be a grandparent to any children we had. You came to the funeral without involving me.
I thought you cared.
We took the little one to visit you.
It still hurt but we never talked about what happened. All the focus was on the little one. She had a good relationship with you and the hubby thought it was good for the little one. So I let it happen. It hurt me that you cared so little about me. It hurt me that you didn’t get it. But I pretended, because my daughter is more important than anything and I wouldn’t let my hurt get in the way of her happiness.
Then I was strong enough and I reported him to the police.
You didn’t cooperate. They struggled to get you to give a statement. When you did, it didn’t corroborate my story. You said again you would do anything. But you didn’t. You did nothing.
When it went to court, you didn’t attend. They said how inconceivable it was that you would not be there to corroborate my story. That must be evidence that I made it up. They couldn’t use your statement because that didn’t corroborate what happened. Better to have the jury believe that I was making it up than prove it using your statement.
I cared. You didn’t.
I cared for you. You didn’t care for me.
And now, now I have disconnected from you, now I have told you that I never want to hear from you again, you still don’t get it. You sneak cards to the little one under different handwriting from a different location.
You have no idea how it feels because I cared for you. You didn’t care for me.
You were the only good thing in my childhood.
Court showed me that my memories of the other stuff were warped. It was worse than I remembered it to be. Who’s to say my memories of our time were also not warped? You clearly didn’t care.
Nobody cared. No one was there for me.
That’s a hard lesson to learn.
You are making sure I really learn it.
I always believed I was broken. I believed that it was because of me that all these things happened. After court I began to let go of that belief. For the first time I began to feel sorry for the child version of me. I began to appreciate my strength in being who I am now despite everything.
It seems I need to also let go of the belief that you loved me.
I made excuses for you in court. Ignoring my express wish to leave me alone leaves me with no more excuses. You simple don’t care about anyone other than yourself.
I’m trying hard not to feel broken again. I’m trying really hard to find something good about me that would explain why you don’t care about my feelings. I’m trying really hard not to use your behaviour as further evidence, to go with all the other stuff, all the other evidence that no one could care for me.
I wanted to believe that you loved me.
I need to let go of that belief. You are making it easier to do that.
Letting go of the belief that there is something wrong with me will take a little longer.
“It was the best birthday ever!”
This was the verdict on yesterday’s birthday.
“What was the best bit about it?”
“My Unicorn Cake!”
As you might be able to tell, where last year she was a vampire, this year she is a unicorn.
We set up her pressies in a tent full of balloons
My friend got her some super unicorn ears and a tail
She got a beautiful dress from Spain from my father which she totally loves
We met some friends at a local Brewers Fayre which has a softplay for lunch.
It was a tiring day
And I got her an iPod touch from the refurbished Apple store. So she is thrilled
**FOOTNOTE : To my mother who sent a card in an envelope from Manchester with different writing on the envelope so we wouldn’t spot it was from you. We did. And thank you for helping me really see that you don’t care at all about my feelings. To be honest I still held a little hope that you still cared for me in a small way as a mother should, despite feeding me to the wolves during the court case. You have shown me that is not true and that you only ever think about yourself. That was insensitive and mean. It went in the bin. This is in small writing because this post is not about you.