Today I am embarking on a journey, a physical and metaphorical one. I am leaving the bosom of my family for a couple of days to visit some special people in my life. I have been meaning to do this journey for some time but it comes with very mixed feelings.
I will miss Mr green and my incredible edibles (Cheese, Apple and Sausage) very much. And of course my furry woofhound. I am not used to being away from them and it feels very strange. I know that Mr Green is ultra capable when it comes to childcare, but since giving up work and spending so much time with them I feel it is me that is aware of their foibles, sensitivities and needs and me that can read their signs and plan ahead for their needs. It's me that understands the hideous monsters that are the clean and dirty washing piles. And me they want all the time. This is another good reason for me to go - I can feel swamped and suffocated and Mr Green can feel rejected. The children adore their dad but if I'm around he often doesn't get a look in. So, we will miss each other (and I will very much miss Mr Green! ) but they will be fine and we can all have a good cuddle and catch up when I am back.
I am also excited to be seeing my lovely friend whom I have missed very much since moving. She is someone I can be myself with and I can't wait to see her. I wrote recently about friendship in my post "let's be friends" and if you have read this you will understand how much this means to me.
And now for the tricky part. I am going to visit my dad. My dad who has lost himself to Alzheimer's disease. I don't want to visit him because it is so very painful seeing someone you love decline in such a cruel way. But I do want to see him because he is still my dad and I love him. He is in there somewhere. He doesn't know who I am anymore but I know who he is and I care. A lot. We have been through some tough times but he has done an awful lot for me over the years. If I didn't appreciate it at the time I certainly do now. And I am so glad that he and I resurrected our relationship before he became ill. I was able to tell him I loved him while he still knew what it meant and who I was. I was able to give him three grandchildren. So now when I see him I find myself thinking about the man he was before he was ill. Before he had children. About the adventures he had and the challenges he overcame. And I think about the love and care he has been given by my lovely step mum. We are both lucky to have her.
The final leg of my journey will be going back to my childhood home. Back to where I grew up. The house carries some powerful memories and emotions for me and it has been several years since I stayed there. I am looking forward to embracing the memories rather than fearing them, and looking forward to time with my step mum.
Family is important. Families can be odd, difficult, annoying and hard work but they can be fun, comforting, helpful and a source of joy. It is easy to criticise people when you haven't been in their shoes. Parenting is one of those things. It's so easy to be hard on your parents but when you become one yourself you understand their struggles and understand that like you they are real people with their own needs, desires, dreams and worries. And you understand the enormity of the parenting role. So, why not be kind to ourselves and each other. Show our appreciation before it's too late. And spread the love :-) x