Being productive, being brave, and being cheerful

The house has been calmer this week, and that overwhelmed feeling is beginning to recede. I’m finally crossing items off the to do list, and even little things like finding the time to clean the cooker hood feels like progress.

I also began clearing the attic, as a small step towards my plan to downsize from this house. It was not a pleasant or easy job – lugging very dirty and dusty boxes through the attic hatch, down the step ladder and the stairs, and out to the shed – but it was satisfying. I was super cautious, and wore googles and a dust mask, so it’s just as well that no-one rang the doorbell! Then hidden among the boxes I found this…

Bridal headpiece hairband
Memories of a very significant and happy day! Even though it all went wrong later.

I said no to a few more requests this week, helping my productivity and reducing the guilt of not being available at home.

When I heard a radio ad for the 100th edition of Now That’s What I Call Music, I realised it would make a perfect unbirthday present for B. I could’ve added it to her gift list for October, but I wanted to get her a few treats. Just because.

We also raided Penneys (Primark in the UK) and B got a couple of T-shirts, and I bought a cute green jacket – the first time in ages I’ve bought something I wanted, but didn’t actually need.

Finally, I watched in amazement last Saturday as my social media filled up with images of blogging friends in swimwear. It was another tribute to Kate Sutton and a way to publicise a Go Fund Me for her sons. Obviously I was NOT going to do anything like that, or so I told myself over breakfast. By teatime I had my most popular Instagram post ever. I think Kate would’ve appreciated that, and it shows how many women were inspired by her positivity and bravery, and her impact will surely live on for many more years, and I think that’s a good enough reason to be cheerful for this week.

Swim wear
R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

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Reasons to be cheerful about friends, family and more

The last few weeks have been an important reminder of the difference it makes when you talk to someone, tell someone, stop bottling everything up. It began during the Great Escape to Kerry, when the floodgates opened after a couple of glasses of wine. Since then I’ve not been able to stop!

And family and friends responded in ways I did not expect at all 😍

Just a few hours ago these lovely flowers were dropped in by a friend I haven’t seen in real life for a long time. I answered the door with my apron and a scowl expecting someone selling something, but Claire was gracious and we agreed that we MUST meet for coffee soon. And a commitment made in a blog post is totally binding, right?

Flowers

My eldest is home for the week, and jumped at the offer of a proper family Sunday dinner with a roast chicken and all the trimmings. The leftovers have kept me in meals all week (note that I’m still a human dustbin, my mother’s influence from living through the War, and maybe reading Stig of the Dump too many times…).

A trip to the cinema with eldest also happened amidst a fair bit of chaos and I can’t tell you how good it felt to get away from it all for a couple of hours.

Helen, a longtime friend from my London days in the 1980s encouraged me to join in with her 30 day plank and squat challenge – just the kind of thing that helps distract me and gives me a sense of achievement when I feel like I’m failing at everything else. You can find out more at Fit Fab Fifty.

Plank, Me, 2018

Finally I have to pay tribute to blogger Kate Sutton (@IAmWitWitWoo) who sadly died after a stroke earlier this week leaving a gaping hole in the blogging community that formed around 2010. Her huge personality lit up my twitter feed and her hilarious and honest accounts of dating in your 40s were always an entertaining read. My heart goes out to her two sons. Yet in the middle of all the sadness, there was an upside – her death brought me back into contact with some of the bloggers and former bloggers that I’d lost touch with over the years, and to hear how well their lives are going is a reason to be cheerful.

Have a great week xx

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

And the band played on

The rain changed everything. Two days, two events. On Saturday B and I spent a sunny afternoon at a small community event in East Wall that featured a local band. We watched and danced and laughed.


On Sunday we went into town to go to a heavily advertised country music festival in Smithfield Plaza. But it was raining. After weeks and weeks of blue skies and hot sun, the weather broke, the skies turned grey, and the rain fell steadily all day long.

A bit of rain never stopped us, and we didn’t think it would stop anyone else either.

As we neared Smithfield, I told B to listen to the music, as you could hear it very clearly. Too clearly, I thought.

I was right to wonder, because as we turned into the Plaza, a sea of damp grey cobbles stretched in front of us, with just a handful of diehard and bedraggled music fans awkwardly tapping their toes in the empty space in front of the stage. Their cowboy hats droopy and soggy, their boots piebald with rain. Plus a couple of families huddling under umbrellas. And us. Of course we enjoyed it. Not my usual taste in music, but this was live music and that alone makes it special. And it was free too!

 

Perhaps that was the problem. If you don’t pay, you can stay away, especially if it rains. And stay away they did.

But you know what? It was a privilege to be there. They were professional musicians. They could have been playing to 20,000 people instead of 20. They chatted to the very small audience, joked and played and sang as the rain tipped down.

In a way it was awe inspiring. It can’t have been easy for them. But they just kept on playing anyway.

 

A butterfly with fragile wings

Progress is a beautiful thing, but in this house it’s fragile and easily damaged. Progress means hours when I feel almost normal again, when my anxiety levels go down, and everyone else in the house perks up too. And yes I’m having to write in riddles and hints, but I did promise that this blog would focus mostly on my disabled daughter B and myself – and not on my other children – so I can’t tell you exactly what’s been happening.

But I can tell you about my other reasons to be cheerful…

My weekend away with B, that I wrote about here.

Kerry

Rain. Only a little bit of rain, but I was so glad to see it, as I was beginning to worry if it would ever return! I know that sounds crazy, but extreme weather events have become the norm even in Ireland, and nothing seems certain any more. Not even rain. (Of course some people were complaining.)

Getting out for the whole day to attend a country funeral to provide support to a couple of friends. It was a risk, but everything at home was okay while I was gone. On the same day I agreed that B could go to the circus after hours without coming home from her day activities first. And that went well too.

I bought a different newspaper at the weekend to begin doing crosswords again. All the challenges this week (to counterbalance all the progress) meant that I am still trying to finish the first one. But it’s a start.

B and I joined the first outing of the Rainbow Junior Arch Club’s Summer Programme last Friday and we had a wonderful time exploring the Airfield Estate and Farm in South Dublin. We visited it once before a couple of years ago, and I wrote about that visit here.

Sculpture Airfield Estate

B and I went house hunting again, and with new bungalows as rare as pink butterflies, I decided to look at new two storey houses with large downstairs toilets and room to install a lift. And we found one. Of course the developer is only interested in selling to first time or cash buyers, but I’m not giving up just yet! At least I’m finding options.

But the butterfly of hope is fragile and elusive, and I’m always afraid it will fly away if something changes. This week though I will try to be cheerful and enjoy the way things are right now.

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

The Great Escape

It felt like some crazy dream. A road trip across the country with my severely disabled daughter in 30 degrees of heat, on the day the schools broke up.

For a weekend break.

My first break for seven years.

I didn’t believe it would actually happen until I pulled away with the van stuffed with enough emergency items to see B through the Zombie Apocalypse, never mind two days in Co Kerry. Of course I forgot most of my clothes…

When I got the invitation my instinct was to say thank you, but I just can’t manage it. As usual. But I have wonderfully persistent friends. They had a house with a downstairs room where B and I could sleep, as well as the essential downstairs toilet. They didn’t ask can you go, they asked when can you go .. And then my eldest said of course she could manage everything at home for a couple of days.

And so I found myself on Friday afternoon cruising down the motorway, sunglasses perched on my sweaty nose with the music turned up and B dancing in the back.

Almost five hours later we arrived to a wonderful welcome and food on the table. And so it continued – I barely lifted a finger, except to look after myself and my disabled daughter, and obviously that wasn’t always easy in a strange house not designed with wheelchairs in mind. Apart from that it was everything a break should be: great company, good food, beautiful scenery and glorious sunshine. Poor mobile coverage forced a digital detox, but I didn’t really miss it as there was always someone to talk to and something to do.

Killarney looked stunning in both sunshine and clouds, and there were plenty of wheelchair friendly rambles and places to visit. On the Saturday night we went out to dinner at a hotel overlooking the lake, and there was no hassle including a severely disabled young adult at the table. In fact no fuss was made at all, she was treated the same as every other guest. It was very refreshing.

The break reminded me again that with a little help, it IS possible to have a good life with a severely disabled young adult.

Trip To Killarney Collage June 2018