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Manchester

On Monday night my world was shocked to the core, like millions of others, billions maybe, the day no concert or public event would ever be the same for anyone.

22 years ago this year I attended my first concert, take that in Hammersmith, I was only 13 years of age, I travelled with my friend and her parents and we went off, screamed our little heads off and at the end her parents were there to greet us (at least I think it was hers, it could have been mine) and take us home, this continued up until my late teens and then with family life I stopped going apart from the odd westlife concert, I say odd me and my sister went all over the uk one year to see them, the year they split and one of those venues was Manchester arena.

I cannot for the life of me recall what it looks like or how it was laid out, I can remember Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, London, Newcastle (I went to see one direction almost two years ago with her), I can’t place anything at all, maybe I’ve blocked it out because of everything but what scares me the most is never in a million years did I ever think I’d go into an arena and never come out alive again but what scares me more than that is this, myself and my sister in our later concert going days we would never sit together (just Birmingham when we were front row and new kids on the block), all those concerts we attended and now thinking back of if it had of happened one of those nights my sister would have been all alone, scared and not knowing what to do. 

With every act of terroism I watch the news and of course I worry but this has left me shocked, it’s left me scared and it’s left me with these thoughts: because of what ‘they did’ no concert will ever be the same, no act playing will ever be the same, no member of staff will ever be the same and no person ever going to a concert will ever be quite the same. Over time, we shall forget what happened, pushed back to the back of our minds but for those 20000 odd people, their lives have been turned upside down, it’s not just the people that watched the show, it’s the staff, the medical teams, the police, the public, the arena staff, all those people that probably run well into 30000 maybe more, those little girls (and boys) who probably waited months, maybe years to attend their first concert will probably never want to go to another concert, maybe not for a very long time, maybe never, those people that work their may never want to work there again, those parents who waited outside for their kids to come out will never want to buy another concert ticket again and while maybe I shouldn’t focus on that, it’s not the main issue here, the loss of life and the injured are more important but I’m thinking long term and how it will shape our future, Westminster bridge for example, commuters will use that bridge as it might be their only way into work. Tourist will still come, the same as New York (to name a couple of these terrible events) but this is quite different, it’s not out in the open where running is an option, it’s in an enclosed space, you have to think about buying that ticket, walking over the bridge to get to work is different in a way, you have options on how to get there but this is a choice, this is something that we can either stick two fingers up to and say we will carry on or we can stop, even for a while to collect our thoughts, our prayers and our breath.

Take care v x

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Best friends

What do you do when you lose a best friend? Mourn and wonder what the hell you actually did wrong to deserve radio silence for a week.

Last weekend that exactly happened, my ex husband George and I have been ‘best friends’ since we split up, I use the inverted commas because we were once very close then naturally boyfriends and girlfriends come along and then one of you moves and before you know it you are just friends, which was fine I could cope with the odd text message but one thing I didn’t realise I would miss is the ability to send funny photos or tag him in posts I found so funny.

The reason for radio silence from I can gather is that I asked for a bit of time off, not because ‘I’m selfish’ or ‘I don’t love my kids’ the reason is we have a room, a one room that we eat, sleep and relax in, each weekend is taken up by kids, we don’t get that luxury of sleeping in, Jim gets up early on a weekday and even if it is a bank holiday for some reason we always have his kids over so for the past two months we haven’t been able to just lie in bed on a weekend like we used to, I had to return ted’s bike and I asked George if we could do it the Saturday morning, it needed stuff doing to it and it made sense, he agreed (he also agreed some weeks earlier that we could have on Saturday morning off) so we get to Saturday morning, the item was in the car waiting to go and I get a text to ask when we would be arriving, I had told George three times it would be lunch time. This is when the shit hit the fan and now because of this and he had a complete meltdown about something else related to me (but wasn’t my fault!) he hasn’t spoken to me since but apart to apologise to me for the melt down but he blocked me and Jim on Facebook for a while and now it’s been nearly a week and I miss my friend.

When we first split I wanted the whole ‘not talking just talk about the kids’ but he fought hard to get us in the place we were at and I accepted the situation and was happy with our balance, we could still go out for a drink or lunch and still see our collective friends but now nothing and I don’t like that feeling.

I know the reason for this whole thing, his girlfriend for some reason feels threatened by me…by ME! I’m getting married next year and I am completely besotted with Jim and I have no idea why she thinks I still have feelings for him, yeah we were married and yeah it must be kind of hard to still have your ex wife hanging about but Jim doesn’t mind that I still go for a drink with him (or did) but it was good for the kids to see their parents like that but now, it’s literally just drop them off and not have the usual handover and I don’t like it.

But there you go, it’s another thing I must overcome and deal with a changed relationship and how to deal with all this when it comes to the kids because we fought so hard for where we were and I feel sorry for them.
V x

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Having a purpose 

For the past four weeks I have been happy, I have felt needed but most of all I feel like I have a purpose in life once more.

Gone are the days I lay in bed, day after day, wishing for the day to be over and now on its place I have a sense of hope and self worth, I have a job.

I have a wonderful ‘little’ job, I have a job that isn’t like working at all and each day I wake up in this ‘new town’ making a life for MY self and making MY mark here, not just Jim’s other half but me, Vera making other people’s lives happier as well as my own.

I have a job as an activities coordinator in a care home and I have had lots of jobs over the years but never one so quite rewarding as this one, I’ve done care work before and I always felt settled in that role (for various reason I can’t do it now, it’s too emotional for me) but this job, I get to ‘play’ most of the day and I love it, I get to organise too which is something I relish in. I work along side another lady and between us we are a bit scatty but together we work well!!

I love seeing the elderly peoples faces when a singer comes in and sings just to them, I love being able to just sit and talk about the old days but you know what I love the most? Seeing someone in the supermarket that I know that Jim doesn’t! It’s a weird feeling!

I get to talk to grown ups every day, people that don’t know me and my messed up life before moving here and it’s nice to be just Vera, just me with nothing attached apart from a clean slate.

Finally for the first time in over two years I feel like I’m needed again, I don’t mind having to stay on for an hour extra or having to work my day off, I don’t mind doing any of those things because I finally have a smile on my face, one I achieved all of my own.

I come home each day, Normally via the supermarket and get myself a pastry, put the kettle on and put my key in the door to our room, it’s just a room but it’s my home, our home and it feels great to finally feel like somewhere is properly home and that for the first time in I don’t know when I can help towards bills and food.

It’s an amazing feeling.

Much love V x

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Despair and love

Autism, its autism awareness month still and yes, I am an autism mummy, I’ve been one for years but this weekend it’s been an absolute fucking nightmare living with an autistic child and this will probably be totally the wrong post considering my last one was embracing my autistic children (I have two) I must share with you the real truth about living with a child On the spectrum, try as I might to remember the ‘welcome to holland’ poem, the sheer reality is this: holland is a living nightmare sometimes and when I’ve had a weekend like this, I really wish just for a small nano second that the plane didn’t got to holland but my chosen destination of Italy.

You see mini Jim stayed with us for a week and it was relatively ok, well actually it wasn’t, it was a tiny bit horrible, watching what we wanted on tv was a no no, big Jim and I wasn’t allowed to be alone for longer than two seconds and I really wish I could change what we were having for dinner at the last moment without world war three almost erupting.

Of course I wouldn’t change my little boy I really wouldn’t but it’s times like this when I am stood in a car park in streams of tears and despair that I think ‘thank fuck I don’t deal with this everyday’, which of course sounds very selfish of me but his father has always been much better at dealing with him than me (I have mentioned I don’t have that ‘mummy gene’) he also has the freedom to send him to another room when he gets to much, we don’t have that luxury unfortunately and it’s became clear that we need to move faster on the moving front if mini Jim is going to carry on the way he did this weekend.

For the best part of two years he has calmed down and considering when he was in his last year of primary his whole world collapsed when mine collapsed too, he coped remarkably well, he had a few moments that he reverted back to old Jim (like the day I moved out and I prepared the teachers for that day but did any of them speak to each other..like fuck they did so when I went to pick him up from school we got called over to say he had really misbehaved..no shit Sherlock!!!) but on the whole he improved at school both with his learning socially and emotionally too. Then last year I moved away with in two weeks a new lady moved into their family home and a few short weeks later he went to big school and since then his behaviour had been slowly declining again, all the coping skills he learnt seemed to vanish over night, his step mum has found it hard with his behaviour but his dad handles it well, I on the other hand feel like I am stuck in holland with no fucking clue what to do, every tactic I learnt over the years and nothing seems to work and it doesn’t help that he is older now and follows what and how his older brothers act.

Everything is ‘his way or no way’ from where we go to how long we stay, he had always been the same but I guess when he behaved like this before it was me and my ex husband and we would bounce off each other in terms of one is getting upset the other will take over and as much as I love big Jim we haven’t got that dynamic and I always have it in the back of my mind, little Jim and his problems are for me to sort out and Big Jim didn’t sign up for an exhausting weekend of not being to do as he pleases or if he does the end result is a major meltdown, so I always have that in my head and although Big Jim wants to help I won’t let him because he fell in love with me and then my kids but he didn’t fall in love with the crazy person that erupts every five minutes because we’ve changed our minds, we can’t do something or simply because we don’t have a plan in the first place.

I love those parents that can cope, that can deal with having to live their life by a plan and times but I can’t live like that and I absolutely hate that term ‘they have to learn’ but in some respects they do have to try and cope with the unexpected, especially now my kids are older, when they are younger you can live your life to a certain degree of planning and rountine but as they get older they have to start adapting (my children only have mild autism by the way, when I say this stuff I am not aiming it as children or adults with ASD that simply can’t function without help etc) to life, because sooner or later exams are going to happen, work is going to happen so to some degree they do have to start ‘learning’ but by that I mean us setting them up and trying to teach them skills to cope with living in the big wide world, skills that I obviously don’t have.

Take this weekend for instance, come Saturday it was the longest I had actually spent 24/7 with my son for months, actually thinking about it, last summer, he came to stay when we were in the house but this was together ALL the time, well it wasn’t all the time, I had to go to work for a few hours each day but when I got home it was relentless, on our own we would settle down to watch mike and molly when I got in and we would wait for Big Jim to get home and that’s when it would all change, I guess because I was happy to do what he wanted and have been used to just doing what he wanted but put someone else in the frame and it all changes. Saturday was particularly bad though. We did an event for charity and he was ok-ish there, apart from wanting to know when we were leaving and could he eat his way through the pile of sandwiches that was ok but on the way home it was bad, I had to stop because I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I couldn’t cope and just started crying, usually at this point George would take over and things would be fine but Big Jim doesn’t really know how to handle a child like this as has never had dealings with anyone on the spectrum, he tried to calm things down but nothing we did worked. And the laughing at us just made it a hundred times worse.

Yesterday he wasn’t so bad but after that long I was thankfully I could hand him back to his dad, we had cuddles when I left and I know he is looking forward to next time he comes and we have baby daddy to watch (that’s his unhealthy obsession!) and I am looking forward cuddles with my baby but for now I am enjoying the peace and quiet!
Much love V x

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Autism awareness month 

April means autism awareness month and 2nd April is autism awareness day and it’s not something that was ever part of my life, not until around five years ago when my youngest sons teacher mentioned to us it might be worth taking him to the doctors as there was a few things that were ‘red flags’ for her. She was a lovely teacher and I will forever be grateful to her, we were lucky she was his teacher at the time. She was the schools senco at the time.

My brother and sister both have learning difficulties and growing up in a house with two elder siblings with more needs than me wasn’t something I ever thought was odd because I just grew up with it so to me it was normal that my brother and sister couldn’t read or write, obviously I knew it wasn’t ‘normal’ but to me it didn’t bother me and it was just my brother and sister.

So when this teacher said to us about going to the doctors it was a little bit like ‘oh there is a reason he is like he is’ and also ‘there isn’t anything wrong with my child’. We knew that little Jim wasn’t like his middle brother, we knew Ted wasn’t like Jeff, we both knew they were quirky but they were our sons and that was ‘normal’ to us, no it’s not normal that one of your sons sniffs people and has a mild form of Tourette’s syndrome (not to the degree of swearing but noises) and no it’s not normal that your child wants to know what we are doing every second and goes into a meltdown but your know, it’s him and we coped and wasn’t looking for a reason why my two boys were ridiculously loving but odd (you know what I mean!).

So we took little Jim to the doctors but one thing with the diagnosis route is that some kids with mild autism have this knack for acting ‘normal’ for brief periods when they think they need too and then you are back to square one. So it’s an ongoing  process with little Jim, almost five years down the line for him but even though he isn’t ‘official’ we now are able to use different coping methods with him, we don’t let him ‘get away’ with things but when he has gone into a full on meltdown because we’ve gone the wrong way or we’ve said we will do something and can’t, we now know how to cope with it and have put measures in place to make him life easier (the ear defenders were a god send for the shops!).

It was until little Jim was going through it all that we began answering questions and instead of saying Jim we would say ‘that’s Ted though’ and he was very lucky that he was in secondary school and reached a point in his life we didn’t have the same doctor as little Jim and wasn’t a different diagnosis process and it took about two years (which isn’t actually that long) but we got a diagnosis for him and without it, he wouldn’t be having extra help with his GCSE’s now and he had a greater help at school.

It doesn’t effect Ted at all, when he went to secondary school myself and his father were very worried that he wouldn’t cope, he wouldn’t have any friends and his life would be very solitary (even at that point we hadn’t even thought of getting his tested but he was a very ‘on his own child’) but he is predicted A’s (or those new fandangled ones) on his exams this year, he has got a place on a media course for college and most of all his has some amazing friends (they are all very odd, just like him but they are a great mismatch of boys) so he has done amazing, wonderful things, he has been abroad on his own with his club he was in, he has been to London on a theatre trip for a few days and have done something no one ever thought he would ever do, every year since he started at secondary he got up on stage and took part in all the school musicals every year for the last four years, he didn’t this year though due to his exams but he was wonderful and grew from a hunched over little boy into a confident young man and I am very very proud of him, he hasn’t let his diagnosis stop him, in fact I think it spurned him on more.

As for little Jim, it’s an on going battle and because of the changes in my life he has found change hard but he is coping and he has bouts but on the whole he is coping but is far behind at school with his reading and writing and still with his social circle suffers but Ted did the unthinkable there is no reason Little Jim will either.

I read a poem when this all started called ‘welcome to holland’ and really does sum up how we felt back then: 

Much love V xx

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Teenagers

This is what I deal with every other fucking weekend!!! 
Where have my lovely, polite little men gone?! Nope they have been replaced with smelly, emo, sometimes rude (sometimes funny) teenagers…WHO HAVE JUST GIVEN ME A FUCKING ELECTRIC SHOCK!!!! Fml!!!
I don’t know what other teenagers are like and I would love to know if they are as inappropriate as mine (is it normal to say ‘money shot’ when cleansing their hands with white foam and throwing it all over their brother?…no thought not…. oh my fuck the things that come out of their mouths is awful (least they don’t fucking swear!!! Well not in front of me!!)
I feel sorry for their little brother (the one in the picture, who can’t sit still) they are so fricking mean to him sometimes. 😩
Although they drive me insane, they do make me giggle (even if it feels like I am in a bastard boat right now because they are all pissing about while we wait for Jim…the youngest even said ‘help me Ted, you are my only hope’ because his middle brother Jeff has now joined him in the back of the car, I feel sorry for mini Jim, yes my youngest has the same name as my fiancé…so that’s not fucking confusing is it?!!)
Please save me, anyone….I have a bottle of wine at home…while they cook my Mother’s Day tea I may possibly use a giant straw and finish the lot.


V x

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Keep calm and carry on

Today in London, in the UK we witness some horrifying images, know one knows at this stage who carried it out or most importantly why.

We’ve seen attacks all around the world in the past few years and we’ve been thankful as a country that we seemed to have gone without incident and I have no idea if we have been close and our brilliant emergency services have stopped anything before it happens or if we have just been ‘very lucky’.

Today, that stopped when a man for reasons unknown to us at this stage decided to harm innocent people, at this stage four people has died (one being the assailant) and today we stand together and unite, every time there is an attack on foreign soil we still stand together but tonight we are arm in arm, realising that we aren’t safe and we must protect ourselves.

I read a blog tonight about telling your kids bad stuff and more often that not parents decide to shield their kids from such things but we must not shield them from this, on the one hand you don’t want the little people to get scared and worry but on the other hand they need to know their are dangers out there and life isn’t all unicorns and children’s tv, of course don’t show them the images or watch the news 24/7 but sit them down and tell them in a way they will understand. Those kids are our future and the ones that will protect us when we are old. 

I saw a quote tonight:

Which is so true, don’t look at the bad stuff with your kids, look at the people that forget what is happening around them and ‘keep calm and carry on’, help those around them that need help. Those are the things the kids need to know that in times of trouble you don’t run away, you get down on your knees and help people in need, those people helping today are, in my book real heroes.

So tonight we pray, we pray from the officer that lost his life in the line of duty, we pray for the innocent people going about their day and got caught up in this terrible attack and most importantly we pray for a safer world.

V x