Posts tagged Writing Workshop
This post is this weeks entry for the writing workshop over at Sleep Is For The Weak
This week I chose this prompt:
“Share a powerful memory, or memories, from your childhood.
Thinking back to my childhood, one of my earliest memories is bathtime with my little brother and sister and then getting dressed in these horrible blue nylon nighties. I think the nighties must have initally been our big sisters as looking back they seen old fashioned even for the late 70′s/early 80′s. We used to all want mum to towel dry our hair as dad was too rough with the towel. I don’t remember us having a hairdryer back then. We’d all be sat on the carpet in front of the fire downstairs whilst mum and dad got us ready for bed, we then got a glass of milk and packed off upstairs. If mum was working which I remember she sometimes was then dad only gave us tiny glasses of milk. I remember me and Sonia laughing at how little he gave us one night, there must have been about an inch of milk. Occasionally we’d all be propped up on the sideboard for a quick photo like this…
That’s me on the right by the way
Oooh and then there was the haircuts. Do you remember the pageboy haircut? you know the one where it looks like somebody had just put a bowl over your head and cut around it? Awful weren’t they? Well take a look at these fine examples. Remind me never ever ever to cut MissB’s hair like this I apologise now to my little sister for posting these photos but I’m sure she will remember all of this too!
That’s me on the left this time
I have a few sad memories of childhood, our dogs Kim and Tammy dying, when my big sister moved out, listening to my parents arguing and planning with my little sister which one of us was going to live with each one of them and look after them. I have to say my parents are due to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary this year so we never had to put our plans into action.
I remember my sister waking me up in the middle of the night telling me there was something in her bed. After an investigation we found my brothers hamster curled up in bed with her. Of course this brought about much laughter and giggles and we took the hamster back downstairs to his cage. I remember my dad came marching through telling us to be quiet and not believing us when we told him we’d found the hamster in Sonia’s bed.
I remember me and Sonia spending hours playing with make up and dressing each other up and taking photos of each other, I remember our little gangs and the dens we used to build in the local wood. I remember roller-skating for miles and skateboarding down the bank. I remember playing out until it went dark nearly every night with the other children which lived in our street. I remember recording tapes pretending we were radio DJ’s. I remember going cycling with the whole family on the old railway line between Buxton and Asbourne. We biked for miles every weekend and even after falling off and grazing all my knees and having a nose bleed we just got back on and kept on biking. I remember climbing trees, climbing them so high that the branches could barely hold our weight, swimming in the dams down at the local river, exploring the caves, collecting snails, building snowmen. I don’t think we ever had time to watch television back then
I remember getting our milk from the “milk lady”, a farmer that my dad knew. We’d meet her at a layby on the A6 every so often and get a great big supply of fresh milk from the farm. I remember Christmas’s – oh how can I forget christmas’s. With a big family, we weren’t very rich but I remember christmas mornings running downstairs to find the whole living room filled with piles of presents, nice shiney bikes, dolls, selection boxes, pretty much everything we ever asked for. Looking back I still don’t know quite how my parents managed to afford everything they bought us.
I could go on for hours and hours. 99% of my memories are fantastic. We had so much fun, so many laughs, lots of arguement – well with the youngest 3 of us all within 3 years of age it was guaranteed really. I’m getting quite emotional just thinking back to it all.
Finally one last photo to share with you
The youngest 3 of us at primary school. I’m in the middle. Don’t we look a cheeky bunch – can you just imagine the trouble that we all got into
This post is this weeks entry for the writing workshop over at Sleep Is For The Weak
There were some pretty tough prompts so I opted to choose running.
Running was something I only really started doing when I met my husband. My chosen form of activity has always been horse riding and the thought of going to a gym was enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. Why on earth would I want to surround myself with sweaty people, give me a sweaty horse anyday. But seeing as my husband was keen on going to the gym, he talked me into membership and so my running began.
Now I’m not a very fit person at all, ok so I’m thin and look like I should be a great runner but I have mild asthma and find I get very wheezy with prolonged exercise. To start off with just 5 minutes on the treadmill left me gasping for breath, but as the weeks progressed this increased to 10, then 20, then 30 and within a couple of months I managed my first 10km run on a treadmill – OK so it took me 1 hour and 21 minutes (I’m like a tortoise – slow and steady) but my running slowly means I don’t get out of breath and although the other people in the gym were wondering whether I was planning on running a marathon on there I just kept going waiting for that magic 10km. I was so proud of myself for that.
As my running slowly progressed I moved on to running outdoors, now this was where the real challenge began, no more air conditioned gyms, no more being able to stop and go the showers when I’m tired, no I have to get home, no more flat terrain. This time I was running properly, running against the wind, running up hills, running where other people beside sweaty gym goers could see me. We lived in York back then and most evenings my husband and I would go for a nice hour long jog down by the river and back home. He was so patient, running at my pace just to keep me company and keeping me going.
We started entering 10km races, not with any hope of winning, just because it was nice to run in other places, run with other people and take home a competitors medal at the end of the day. In these events my husband ran at his pace, usually getting home in about 45 minutes and I usually managed just over an hour. My personal best at a race was 1 hour 2 minutes – again, not fast but I was happy with it
The big challenge came when we relocated to the North East, home of the Great North Run. We both entered and both got places and so the training began in earnest. I did a few 10km races over the summer coming in around the hour mark and feeling quite happy with my fitness and then we started upping our weekend runs, first an hour, then 75 mins, then 90 mins until a few weeks before the GNR I could manage running for 2 hours quite easily. I felt great and was loving setting off for our runs, watching the world go by as we ran across the countryside, nodding to fellow runners and cyclists we met along the way and getting home feeling healthy, fit and charged ready for the weekend. I never believed it when they said running could get addictive but it’s true, I loved running, looked forward to it.
And so with the GNR just one week away I set off on my last training run by myself, aiming for about 12/13 miles. My husband had set off earlier and was running at his pace as he was aiming for a sub 2 hour half marathon whilst I was aiming for 2:30. 5 miles in I was feeling fantastic, 8 miles in I was still feeling great and enjoying the scenery, 11 miles in and I stumbled, went over on my ankle. I tried to continue as I was still 2 miles from home but everytime I put my foot down the pain shot through me and so I stopped It took me 40 minutes to limp my way home and by the time I got there my ankle had ballooned. A trip to the doctors the next day confirmed that I had torn the ligaments in my ankle and there would be no Great North Run for me. So unfair, I’d managed 11 miles in 2 hours and 10 minutes and I could easily have managed the next 2 miles home, I was fit enough to do a half-marathon. All that hard work and it was ruined by one stupid stumble. I was gutted. The next weekend I dropped my husband off in Newcastle for the start of the run and I drove to the finish line, found a place to sit and waited for him to finish which he did in 1 hour and 58 minutes. I smiled at him and was so proud of him but I hurt so much on the inside watching the clock tick by wondering what time I would have made.
Last year I was pregnant so running was sidelined and this year I haven’t entered as I’m secretly hoping to be pregnant again by the time the run comes by. Running is something I currently dream of doing. Whenever MissB is having a bad day I would love to just put my running clothes on and run but I can’t. Running with my husband isn’t something we can do anymore as we have no baby sitters and by the time the baby is in bed, I’m usually so exhausted going for a run is the last thing on my mind.
I love running and I miss it
The prompt this week is emotions – something that over the last 7 months with MissB I have certainly experienced and so I begin my story of the emotional rollercoaster that is having a baby.
Relief – I’d say that is the first thing you feel as that screaming bundle of arms and legs is dumped on your stomach. Relief that a) that “thing” that has been been growing inside you for the last nine months is finally here and now has a face, ten fingers, ten toes and a good set of lungs. You spend nine months trying to convince yourself that everything will be ok but there is always that nagging voice in your mind and as much as you read the statistics on stillborns you just keep smiling trying not to let the worry show, you put on a brave face for your partner, you don’t discuss it aloud as to voice the worry makes it real. b) Relief that labour is over, there won’t be any more contractions and you can finally relax a little.
Pride – this is the next overwhelming emotion that springs into mind. I remember coming out of the shower soon after giving birth and seeing my husband sat next to the bed staring in awe at this little bundle of baby that you somehow miraculously grew inside you. Pride that you created that and pride that you have given your partner something that nobody before you ever has. Pride that you chose the right man, the man that stood with you through every contraction, cried when you did, laughed when you did and did everything right. Oh that feeling of pride is an amazing emotion.
Hopelessness – the feeling of being absolutely useless, oh I know this feeling well. It crept into my brain that first night in the hospital. The realisation that as much as I’d researched and read every book possible about having a baby, the truth be told I knew absolutely nothing. The hopeless feeling when trying to breastfeed and MissB just wouldn’t latch on, the hopeless feeling when all she would do is cry and I didn’t have a clue what she needed, the hopeless feeling of needing to change the nappy but having never done it before, not knowing where to start. Oh this feeling has appeared quite frequently over the last seven months and boy is it a miserable one.
Despair – yet another feeling that creeps in during those first couple of weeks. The realisation that you’ve only had two hours sleep in the last 24 hours, that you are mentally exhausted, that your body feels like it has run several marathons back to back, that you can’t physically drag yourself out of bed but you have to as your baby is hungry or crying for some unknown reason. The wondering to yourself – what the hell have I done, why did I do this – but this is normal, this is the baby blues, this is just your emotions going mad. It will pass – and it does but for a few days you do wonder whether you’ll ever be able to love this screaming entity that has stolen your sleep and your life.
Hopelessness – again, because this creeps in time and time again. Hopelessness at having had the baby screaming for nine hours in one day with colic and not being able to do a damn thing about it. Having tried infacol, colief, gripe water, winding, walking, driving and every other piece of advice given in those bloody books all without success. Watching the discomfort your baby is in and not being able to provide the comfort and relief that a mother should be able to provide.
Failure – The feeling you get when after 4 weeks of perservering you finally give up breastfeeding and switch to formula as you body just can’t sustain it, you’ve watched the weight dropping off you, you stand on the scales and realise your BMI has dropped to 16, you are skin and bones, the baby seems constantly hungry and your husband begs you to stop breastfeeding as you are just fading away. All that bloody pressure to breastfeed is great but it doesn’t help when no matter how much you want to, you just can’t. Breastfeeding for the last time, knowing that this will be the last time and crying as you see your daughter latched on for the last time. The pain from the engorgment for the next few days, the guilt and sorrow that you can no longer sustain your baby by yourself. And even though after switching to formula and baby and mother are so much happier, the guilt still goes on with the feeling of constantly having to explain and defend your reasons to everyone.
Successful – that magic feeling that creeps in around the six week mark, that warm feeling you get when you realise what your baby needs, what each cry means, when you baby sleeps for six hours at night and you finally start to think you are no longer firefighting but coping. That feeling when you see that first smile and when you realise that you actually do love this baby. Now I’m sure that most people say they instantly fell in love with their baby but for some of us it takes a little while longer to form that bond and when you finally start feelng that love creep in then you start feeling like a successful mother.
Joy – at watching Daddy interacting with his daughter and seeing the love in both their eyes
Joy at hearing that first laugh, those first words – first dada, then baba then eventually the word you have waited all your life to hear – mama! Joy at seeing them roll over for the first time, seeing them discover the outside world, watching how each day they seem to discover a new skill, the ability to put their foot in their mouth, the ability to suck their thumb, the ability to crawl backwards, the ability to press the buttons on their toy keyboard. So many new things that make you live your life again through the eyes of a child. I’m sure I never realised that the sky was so blue, the clouds so fascinating, the sound of the wind in the trees so restful before but I do now.
Content – that feeling that your life is now complete, as you sit down on the sofa at 8pm with a nice glass of baileys to enjoy the peace and quiet after a long and happy day of new discoveries, laughter and adventure. Those lovely evenings where you can finally rediscover yourself again, have time to paint your nails, pluck your eyebrows, watch tv, have conversations with your husband. Those evenings that you thought you’d never see again and missed so much in the early days. Those evenings where you know there is a good chance that the baby will sleep through and you can go to bed without dreading the sounds of crying over the monitor at 4am. I love that feeling.
And finally the most overwhelming emotion of them all
LOVE – the feeling that creeps in slowly at first but like a tiny stream it gathers force as the days go by until it becomes a torrent. The love you see shining back at you from your daughters eyes, the love you see in Daddy’s eyes, the love you see in your own eyes and feel in every part of body. The feeling that you would do absolutely anything for this little girl that you created, the feeling that will grow and grow as everyday the bond deepens.
Yes it’s been an emotional rollercoaster and anyone who says it’s easy must be lying. Being a mum is probably the hardest job in the world but my god it’s the most rewarding.
This post is done as part of the Writing Workshop over at Sleep is for the Weak
I decided (rather bravely) to opt for prompt number 1 and to talk about feeling sexy in my own skin (eek!)
I guess I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to my figure and looks, don’t get me wrong I’m certainly no amazing beauty or supermodel but I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got. I didn’t always think this way, at school I hated being the short skinny girl that seemed forever trapped in a prepubescent body, I was a late bloomer I eventually found out. I eventually shot up in height and my adult body arrived. 5’10″, size 10 (UK) with a 35inch inside leg measurement - not bad if I must confess myself. If I could change anything it would probably be my face but I’m not too bothered by it really, after 34 years I’ve kind of grown used to it
As much as I don’t mind being skinny, it’s not this stage in my life where I felt really sexy in my own skin. OK so I can get away with wearing nice clothes and I look pretty hot in a bikini and all that but that is just the outside packaging and as much as the men drool, it isn’t this that makes me feel good inside.
If I have to choose a photo of when I felt at my most sexy it would be this one (gosh am I really brave enough to post this photo – oh sod it why not if it offends any one then that’s their problem not mine!)
But – I hear you all cry – you’re pregnant! How on earth can you possibly feel sexy whilst pregnant? Strange isn’t it but it was whilst I was pregnant that I felt the most like a woman that I ever have. It may have been the raging hormones or maybe my pregnancy brain finally lost the plot – but there was something about being nice and curvy, feeling like I was doing what nature intended and growing my offspring inside me which made me feel sexy. OK I admit I was lucky in my pregnancy in that I didn’t get stretch marks, I wasn’t too huge and I didn’t get swollen feet etc and aside from the heartburn I had a pretty easy ride.
I’ve never been the maternal kind really, I’m an accountant, a professional, a business woman and my life until now has been spent building a career and having very little interest in children so imagine my surprise at finding myself enjoying how I looked when I was heavily pregnant. I was expecting to hate being large but for some reason it was nice to put aside all those sleek outfits and wear nice flowing garments which showed off what little bump I had. I truely felt like a woman and comfortable in my own skin. I really miss being pregnant nowadays.
So there you have it – sometimes skinny just isn’t the best
The photograph was taken by sister Sonia Thorpe Photography when I was 36 weeks pregnant.