Life Regrets….

I guess we all have them, regrets! Ones that direct the course of your life and have huge impacts on who you are as a person.

I went to a Baby Shower last weekend, it was a young lady we have known since she was a tiny tot now she is having her own baby. Afterwards I was reflecting on the day and thinking how lovely she looked, you know how they say you blossom when you are pregnant, well she was certainly blossoming and I thought how nice it was to see her enjoying her pregnancy with her friends and family. It is so different now to when I was having children, we wore these big unattractive shift type dresses or tent dresses because for some reason we tried to camouflage the fact we were pregnant. Now these young mums wear clothes like everyday dresses and they don’t worry about their obvious pregnancy state, I think it is so nice, and they look natural, carefree and lovely.

The other thing I was thinking about was how things have changed with the whole pregnancy thing. Our young friend isn’t married and not actually in a secure relationship even, when she first found out she was pregnant she freaked out, like what’s with that, if you have sex there is a high chance you may get pregnant. Back in the 70’s and earlier years, it was a bit of a stigma if you got pregnant out of marriage, you certainly wouldn’t be able to celebrate it unless you had an extremely open and accepting circle of family and friends. I know because I have been there, pregnant at 17 and hiding the fact for as long as was possible, even to hiding in my bedroom when family and visitors called, then been sent off to a far away city to have my baby where no one knew me and having an adoption arranged. It had to be the worst time of my entire life. The worst thing was that there wasn’t any domestic purpose benefit then or single parent benefit, so I actually didn’t have any choice as I couldn’t bring up a baby without financial help. So I stayed with a matron (I think that is what she was) then she arranged for me to stay with a family I had never met and I had to do their housework, cooking and babysit their baby for my keep. Not my most pleasant memories, but I was grateful for the help I had at the time, it could have been much worse, as I am sure others could testify to.

When the time came to have my baby, I went to a nursing home which was very scary for me at 17 having never experienced even been away from home really. It was a long hard labour and I didn’t have any instruction on what I was meant to do, and struggled through it on my own, but when that gorgeous wee boy arrived my maternal instincts kicked in and I thought he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was allowed to cuddle him for the first few days, I had bought him a lovely big teddy-bear and written the name I would have called him by and a note saying I loved him, around it’s neck on a necklace, but they soon took him away and even though I would love to have been able to keep him it was made clear to me that they had already made all the arrangements and I couldn’t change my mind. The staff there were not that nice and I was made to feel less of a person just for having a baby out of wedlock. Looking back if I had been more mature and sure of myself I would know that I could of changed my mind surely, I mean he was my baby, I didn’t know how I could look after him but maybe something would have fallen into place for me, but you can’t gamble on something like that can you? This was a wee baby who would have been totally dependent on me. They told me about the couple who was going to adopt him, they were a professional couple who were in their terms, well to do, so I imagined that he would have been well looked after and provided for. But looking back the saying or the song ‘all you need is love’ may have got me through because I sure loved that little baby and couldn’t imagine how you could feel such heart wrenching love in such a short time, only to have it taken away from you.

So they took him away and sent me back to where I was staying, but I had lost something very very important, a large gaping hole appeared in my life and at the time nothing that was going to fill it. So as you see, going to this recent baby shower opened up quite a few thoughts in my crazy mind, just how much things have changed today, I don’t imagine single mums now would even give it a moments thought about keeping their babies because they know straight away that our country will give them a benefit to look after that child, and I am glad they do because my experience is not something I would wish on anyone.

As the years have gone by I can’t say I ever got over that experience, you just learn to live with it and get on with life. I was so fortunate to go on and marry a lovely man and have three more gorgeous sons whom I adore. But isn’t it amazing how an everyday event can conjure up all sorts of thoughts and memories in your mind and take you back to a moment in time that you wish could have been different. I am so happy for my young friend and she will make a great mum, she has sisters and aunties who can all help and support her when she needs it.

That had to be the cruellest, bumpiest corner I have had to negotiate up till now.

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The Beginning of the urge to Blog….Where it all started

Around the Next Corner

Do you ever wonder what’s around the next corner? Do you spend time at night, when it would be far more beneficial to be sleeping, lying there pre-empting what is going to happen next? I confess I have spent a good part of my life doing that, and to what end I ask? A very wise person once said to me “It does not change any outcome however much time you spend worrying about it”. Well guess what, that is actually correct. It has taken me a long time to realize that and yet I still lie awake at night trying to sort the problems of my small world. Any of you mothers out there will fully understand what I am saying I’m sure.

Late last year I was faced with what I thought was a huge bump in my road, the job I had worked in for eighteen years, a job I loved and had poured my heart and soul into, was put through the paces of “restructuring”. Have you ever wondered what “restructuring” actually means? Well I have come up with a good definition, particularly in the job market, it is simply a cheaper way of saying you are redundant, and it means the company do not have to pay you any redundancy or severance package. I admit that right up till the last moment of my employment I still hoped that my employers may have come up with a token bonus for all my years of faithful commitment to their business. But no that did not happen. So I spent several weeks determining that I was not going to become all bitter and twisted about it, I mean I have faced tougher things in my life, so this too would pass. Although admittedly I did leave town for a few weeks, I went and stayed with my mum and dad who live a good six hours away, so I knew there was no risk of bumping into anyone I knew while I licked my wounds. Have you ever noticed how when things get tough in life we often head for mum and dads? It doesn’t seem to matter how old we get, there is something healing about been amongst the familiar with no expectations.

Now that I have managed to navigate around that corner I wonder what is around the next one. Once I recovered I discovered that it is actually very refreshing and liberating to suddenly not have to run by the clock. Ever heard the old saying, “Stop and take time to smell the roses?” Over the weeks following my sudden departure from the work force, I have taken time to smell the roses, literally. We have several very lovely roses growing around our home and so I have been able to enjoy their endless blooms. Also what a surprise, all my hanging pot plants are surviving, I think I have discovered why they didn’t survive when I was working full time, a little thing like not finding time to water them regularly, it helps immensely in the survival rate of those colourful dependent little blooms, so now they are all thriving under my daily loving care.

I must admit I had a few hurdles to get over with this stay at home time like, my husband had to be trained that no he couldn’t expect freshly baked scones, cakes and biscuits and the three course meal every day, actually if I managed it every fortnight was a small miracle, the baking that is, I do feed him every day. But even that has been so “nice”, now we live a more normal life of actually seeing each other and not working around both of us working different days and sending the occasional text message to check the other is still breathing.

How fabulous it has been to take the leisurely latte with a friend, or go and visit someone whom I have neglected over my working years because I never seemed to be able to find time to fit everything in. Sure it is much harder living on one wage, we have had to tighten our belts and when we do the shopping we ask the question “Do we really need it?” It is quite surprising what we can actually do without. I have discovered things in my cupboards that I can use up, at the moment I can see the bottom of our freezer because I have been utilizing everything I can. Mind you I am embarrassed to admit that I was making a potato salad the other day for guests coming, and went to get the salad mix I knew I had in my pantry only to discover that it expired in May 2009, oops! Needless to say I didn’t use it, I had to make a homemade one from scratch and it wasn’t too bad even if I say so myself. Another thing, expiry dates on packaging, except for the most obvious like dairy products etc., the expiry date is only a guide, our motto is “good up to the expiry date, then best after it”, but don’t repeat that.

I have had a great time doing projects that I have long wanted to get onto, like my son and daughter-in-laws photo album, (they got married two years ago). Well I got not just one album done but five, how great is that? I had so much fun doing them and spent several days at it. I designed digital photo albums, all online and what a lot of enjoyment can be had with producing your own creative flair and touch on something that is so personal. I recommend it to anyone wanting to unleash their creative urges. In this day and age most people seem to have hundreds or thousands of digital photos. Along with the wedding album I was able to do another album for another son and his wife which I only used about two hundred and eighty six photos in. I made it in time for their Christmas present and it was their journey from first meeting through to the present, seven years later. I figure that I can make another album in a few years’ time to highlight more of their lives together. Both families were so moved with their gifts that it made all the effort more than worthwhile. Now I am working on an album for my parents which will have photos of their family tree with all their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Apart from that I have had the most therapeutic time out in our garden which I have never had much time to spend in. Mind you it does infuriate me how those weeds continue to grow even when I seem to be pulling them out every day, and what about all that pruning, how did this garden survive while I was working? Thankfully my husband loves spending time in the garden as well.

Now onto the next project, I have to do some redecorating, that is painting and wall papering, and in between that I am trying to teach myself how to use another computer publishing programme which I have never been familiar with. I figured that while I was at home, before I have to enter the insane world of nine to five work again, I would investigate some other areas that I may be able to work from home in to help our finances. You see I love working on the computer, one could say I am addicted to it, so it would be just down my alley to be able to use that passion for a valid reason. A few years ago I completed a Certificate in Editing and Proofreading so I thought this would be a good place to start. Wow, I mean who would have thought it would be so difficult? Maybe because we are in a smaller country there isn’t quite the same opportunities. I have read a book written by a lady in America who is earning six figures from just proofreading, how cool is that? But then that is America, I mean the land of great financial gain and all that. I have discovered that money isn’t everything, although it certainly helps to make the world go round, and what a lot of pressure and stress we put on ourselves to make more and achieve more when all the time we can survive on a lot less and have more time to enjoy and appreciate what we actually have.

So wish me luck as I embark on this next little journey and I wait expectantly to see what is around that next corner, because let’s face it, life is good and you may as well make the most of each day appreciating who and what surrounds you which we so often overlook in the busyness of life.

Now I have that off my chest I shall go to bed and blissfully sleep without a care in the world…yeah right!