At the moment for book group we are reading A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. It centres around a family of four children and the generations either side, and how we live as part of a family and how that shapes us.
At one point in the book the mother, Abby, makes a comment about parenting. She says ‘you can only ever be as happy as you unhappiest child.’ I don’t think this is a new statement, but I hadn’t heard it before and it made me stop, put down the book, and think about it for a little while.
Is it true? Can you only ever be as happy as your least happy child?
Initially it stopped me because I thought perhaps it was one of those simple, throw away lines that perfectly captures something very true. We all want our children to be happy after all, and it’s not nice when they aren’t, but the more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with it. I mean, no offence to my children, because I think they are amazing and beautiful and strong and everything, but they aren’t always the HAPPIEST of people.
I decided I have two problems with it: View Post
I’ve been single now for coming up five months.
On the one hand I am perfectly happy – work is good, I’m settling into my house, and have the kitties obviously. Who could fail to be happy with three cats of their very own to stroke every single day? I love being able to do everything on my own terms, have all the kittens on the bed without anyone raising their eyebrows at me, spend all my spare money on yellow velvet armchairs from eBay, all that jazz.
But also sometimes I feel lonely.
When I say this to people, or words to this effect, there isn’t a huge amount of sympathy.
‘You don’t need a man!’ people say. (Normally married people. Cheers guys.)
‘Embrace being single!’ (Okay…)
‘You’re perfectly fine just you!’ (Obviously.)
I do know all those things. I don’t NEED a man. I am perfectly capable of doing all the things that need to be done, I have loving friends and family, I can work a drill and I can kick back with a puzzle as well as the next person. I GET IT.
But still, sometimes I feel lonely.
Not in a way where I feel physically alone, but a little bit like something is missing. Just sometimes. Not like I’m sobbing into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s every night or anything, but from time to time it would be nice to have someone squeeze my hand and exchange a glance that’s just for me.
And this is OKAY. View Post
I know I post a lot about my kitties on social media, and sneak in the odd picture of them here, but I thought it might be time for a little round up?
I say that as though it’s YOU who wants to see them, rather than me that wants to look at them. I woke up this morning though feeling a teeny bit fraught, after having those flustered dreams where you’re trying to do something and it never works, so I thought this might be soothing.
We’ve had the cats for less than three months, and yet I can’t imagine life without them. I always knew I was a cat person, but I had no idea that I was going to love them quite so much. I mean properly, like they are real life babies. (Which I DO know they aren’t, but it would be awful wouldn’t it to go to work knowing your seven month old baby was just playing in the street on their own??)
Inevitably, my camera roll is now about 87% cat, and so I had a look through and picked out some of my favourites – photos that capture certain things I love about my cats.
I love how my cats tesselate
The first picture is actually a pair.
I peered over the edge of the sofa to look at (one of) the cats’ beds, because I heard little kitty noises. Endeavour was asleep, looking very cosy.
Literally two minutes later I had another peep.
What? View Post
Do you remember that time my pyjamas smelt of Michael Bublé?
It was a while ago now, and I’ve washed them a few times since. The smell is no longer there.
Michael seemed put out last time he came round.
‘Why do your pyjamas no longer smell of meeeee?’ he sang. ‘Why have you forsaken me so?’
‘Michael, Michael,’ I replied, trying to quieten him down a little bit, ‘you need to get over this, you need to move on.’
‘But Josephiiiiiiine!’ he sang, at such high volume that the cats hid under the bed, ‘I cannot leeeeeeeave you!’
‘Well you must Michael,’ I insisted, shooing him down the stairs and out of the front door.
‘At least let me leave you this By Invitation gift set,’ he said, thrusting a box through the gap in the door in a last ditch attempt to win my heart. ‘It contains a 50ml Eau de Parfum and a 150ml shower gel. Spray a little on your pillow and think of me!’
I took it, just so he would leave, but I can’t keep it, so I’m giving it away in this competition.*
I had a boyfriend once who refused to kick piles of autumn leaves.
Every time I did it, he would do that thing where you draw your breath in sharply between your teeth.
‘What’s the matter?’ I would say, foot mid air, ready to send a heap of red and gold leaves flying across the path.
‘You shouldn’t kick the leaves like that,’ he would reply. ‘You never know what might be under them. You’ll probably end up kicking dog shit.’
It took the edge of my autumnal fun, that’s for sure.
It made me sad too, because as an attitude to life, what even is this??
Post in association with EE
Last weekend Belle and I went to Bristol as Belle wanted me to take some pictures of her against cool backgrounds.
(The backgrounds in some of the others are better I promise.)
MY BABY GIRL!!!
When did she get so big??
It always makes my insides twitch a bit when I see pictures of either of my baby girls looking so grown up. There is such a vulnerability at this age isn’t there? She’s 15, and so very nearly on the cusp of being an adult, at yet at the same time she is just a child, full of doubts and insecurities. I think this photo of Belle captures that mix pretty well.
Parenting at this age is hard too. You want to protect them, but you want them to be exploring their independence and learning to make good decisions. It’s like you’ve put in all the work and then you have to step back and see if it all holds together. (A bit like when I do crafts or DIY, but hopefully sturdier.)
I’ve been exploring this theme with EE today in a post about cyberbullying and the Royal Foundation’s Stop Speak Support campaign. In the post I talk about the challenges as a parent in keeping kids safe online, and highlight three things that you can talk to your children about that will hopefully go some way to equipping them with the right skills, should they ever come face to face with cyberbullying.
Please go and have a read now and make sure you know what those three things are.