Monday, 28 July 2014

Mum and Uncle Long Legs

Well the last 5 weeks has been an interesting time for me. My lovely husband Mike has been away and I have been a full time single Mum during that time. Since I got diagnosed in July 2010 Mike has been caring for me, caring for our little boys, running our bookshops, and studying. He has an enormous load to bear and he takes it in his stride and somehow gets through every day with little sleep and loads of stress, but always appreciating the little things in life. He is an amazing, supportive and loving husband and I am so glad we share our lives together.

When I suggested that Mike take a hard-earned break, he was hesitant, and really didn’t want to leave me alone in case anything happened. He was terrified that I would take ill and die while he was away, or that I would get so sick that I couldn’t look after the boys. Not to mention that leaving a family run business for a month is a big deal, and big ask of the staff and very expensive. Eventually he took to the notion and excitement started to build, the doubt subsiding slightly. So in mid-June Mike set off on a lone adventure, leaving me to go full mumsy.

I had lined up support, a steady stream of family and friends coming to help. It was all scheduled down to the minute, and if anything did go wrong, there would always be someone here to help me out. We had Chris, (Mike’s Mum: Nanna) Sam, cousin Roger and Em (Little Miss Get It done, love Your Sister administrator) all coming up. Over the time of the ride, I was so busy that I didn’t really get to see a lot of my family and friends at all, it was all work, work, work, so this is a lovely opportunity for me to catch up with some loved ones, and the kids always love having visitors.

The boys are very excited to see their Nanna and their uncle long legs in the same week. Sam fits into the uncle role right away. Sam has the boys convinced that he can fly on a broom, but that he has had his license cancelled because he stole some undies off a clothesline while he was flying through some backyards recently. Willoughby asks when he is getting his license back as soon as he comes through the door. 
Koala Cuddles with Uncle Long Legs
The kids do their readers, times tables, geography and French every night, showing off to Nanna and Uncle long legs. I am free to cook the dinner, clean up and make lunches while the kids play Uno with whoever is staying at the time. I love that the kids don’t watch TV. Dad brought Sam and I up without a television, and at the time I hated it, I thought we were missing out, but I look back on our childhood now and I am so grateful that he gave us that life. Board games, cards, charades and eye spy were all we needed. On Fridays we have Friday night fun, where the kids get to choose a DVD and dinner, so we make pizzas or fish and chips and watch a movie together on Fridays which is great fun, and a great bribery tool for during the week, if I need it. I always thought I would never use bribery, but as soon as I became a parent I quickly realised that you do whatever works at the time, so the threat of losing Friday night fun mitigates any out of control behaviour nicely.

Of course we all miss Mike, but we skype and email, and I find that the kids adjust well to the change in primary carer very quickly. I think about the changes they will have to undergo when I die, and this experience gives me comfort. Kids are adaptable and they are resilient. Mike is a great father and those things combines make me think that they will be alright in the long run. Of course it will be hard for them, but they will adapt, just like they adapted to Mike’s temporary absence so well.
The Kids Favourite – playing Uno with Uncle Long Legs
I find the mornings difficult. I sleep a lot, I get very tired with the cancer and the drugs that I am on, but with Mike away I don’t have a choice, so I get used to the early mornings, though I do have the luxury of being able to go back to bed for a nap while they are at school. Something I am very grateful for. There have been a lot of times since I got diagnosed when I have thought “Why me?” It’s not that I wish it was someone else, I just wish it wasn’t me and I sometimes long for the life we used to have when I was healthy. But then I quickly remind myself that I have it pretty good really. I have the most supportive hubby in the world, and he lets me sleep when I need it. He does all the chores, prepares all the meals, makes all the lunches and does all the washing. He is very helpful and never complains or even expects a pat on the back for his efforts. Sadly, there are a lot of single mums who find themselves with a terminal diagnosis and they do not have the support I have, and nor do they have the comfort that their kids will be in good hands after they die. It’s all relative isn’t it?

Another thing I didn’t have much time for while the ride was on is scrapbooking and craft. Recently, we were given an amazing opportunity. Scrap Booking Memories run a competition every year, where they encourage scrapbookers from all around the country to submit four projects to be judged. Ten of the best scrapbookers from all around the country are selected, and throughout the next year they complete challenges that are published in the magazine. For the October issue (breast cancer month) their task is to make an art journal. The editor of the mag, Vanessa, thought it would be nice to give the journals that the masters made, to women with breast cancer who would like a handmade journal to write their most precious memories in. When I was first diagnosed, the first thing I thought was “How am I going to record all of our memories so the kids have something to remember me by?” As I am a mad keen crafter, I got right into scrap booking and I use that as a way to process my experiences and leave memories for the boys.

This gift, from the Scrapbooking Memories Masters to 10 women with terminal cancer is just so kind, and it highlights to me just how lucky we are at Love Your Sister to have the opportunity to help these women in some small way. I put a call out on Facebook, and we found 10 recipients for the journals, all of them living with a terminal diagnosis.

I wanted to make cards for the ladies, which would match their journals, so Sam and I could write a little message for each person in them. And let’s face it, it gives me a good excuse to do some craft, it’s for work, really it isJ.

We can’t show you the journals, as they won’t be made public until October, but here are the cards I made, inspired by the journals the masters made:

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. Sam and Connie read every comment.