This summer has been a summer of fun, love of many forms, friendships and fabulous holidays. It’s now the end of the summer holidays and I go back to work on Tuesday after 6 weeks off. It will be a shock to the system as the pace of the secondary school I work at is phenomenal but I am ready for it. Bring it on – something’s got to pay the bills and keep me in this lifestyle I’m enjoying and hey, I’m pretty good at it. I no longer blog frequently but before I go back to work and it consumes me, I feel the need to write, as a memoir to a joyous summer. I hope it doesn’t read like a boring diary entry!
I fell in love back in April and I new that I could get serious about him when we took my daughter, who is nearly 3, to her first Music festival: Truck. I was a bit worried about how she would respond or if she would have a meltdown at the music. We were lucky enough to be able to stay at my dear friend’s house who lives in the village the festival is in. A bloody good job after the calamitous camping experiment we tried a few weeks before! I was fully equipped with ear defenders and black out covers for her pushchair for when she slept. But I needn’t have worried as this was my first surprise of the summer. My gorgeous daughter excelled herself somewhere unusual and out of the ordinary. She needed the ear defenders at times but still tried rocking out with me at one of the more intimate gigs. The best bits for her was getting her face painted (first as a mermaid and then as a tiger), spending a fortune on the helter-skelter, painting and playing and making friends with my friend’s niece. It was also great to see my boyfriend getting on so well with old friends- not that I was worried. At 8 o-clock on the first day she quietly drifted off asleep to Clean Bandit and slept all night in her pushchair with the black out screen (or ‘pram burqah’), quite happily, so that we could watch the Charlatans, uninterrupted. By day two, I was feeling more confident and even went write down the front with her on my shoulders with ear defenders on to watch Public Service Broadcasting. I was nervous to her reaction at first but relaxed and got a real buzz when I could feel her move to the music. The weekend made me feel like a unit with my boyfriend there with me and my daughter. He is brilliant with her and the simple things like being able to go to the toilet in peace or for someone else to push the buggy, I really appreciate and value as I’ve never had that before. I knew I wanted to share more times as that ‘unit’, which we have done through summer.
This year has been the first year my daughter’s Dad has taken her on holiday and so whilst she was at Centre parcs with him, I was treated to a weekend in Ibiza with a friend who I have really grown close to in recent times, perhaps because she is also a single parent. It was such a special time. We were only there for 3 nights and spoilt ourselves with what felt like 5 star luxury and certainly a far cry from our single-parenthood life! We arrived in time for sunset at Café Del Mar and caught one of our fave DJ’s at café Mambo whilst sipping Cava Sangria and getting tipsy. The rest of the time was spent going to an Ushuaia pool party and getting a sun lounger at Blue Marlin beach club. I have no idea how many Euros were spent in those few days but it was worth it to experience and share something extraordinarily exhilarating and relaxing with a dear friend and to feel like rockstars rather than mums.
The festival and Ibiza are a far cry from my mood or circumstance when I first started this blog. It’s strange reading my first posts and my profile blurb which has an emphasis on my single-parenthood and divorce from my daughters Dad in soap operatic style. I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of that. I’m not bitter or twisted and I can honestly say that, unless its the summer holidays (the ex loves a holiday), we co-parent and he is a good Dad. Who says Mum and Dad have to live under the same roof? It’s how you manage it that counts and she is wonderful and happy and that is all that matters. I even think that what happened now suits me and that surprises me. At first I felt guilty having this feeling like it made me a bad Mum but I think it makes me a better one. I appreciate her so much when I have her because I don’t have her full time. I get the best of both worlds – Ibiza, lie-ins, fab dates with my boyfriend when she is at her Dad’s and the joy of being a Mummy when she comes home. It makes me more adventurous with her, hence taking her to Hong Kong or a festival. I also don’t have to live with the ex and can be how I want to be with my daughter. I learnt to live without him a long time ago and I like it – a lot. So, the next surprise of the summer came and faded out pretty quickly. I got a text from the ex whilst he was on holiday telling me he had proposed and was getting married (to the mistress). If I had received this text a year ago I may have been upset but instead, my first thoughts were – ‘And why am I the first person you’re telling? My second thoughts were that I admired her faith he wouldn’t fuck this one up. She is a lucky woman. So, that cliché about time being a healer really is true. It also helps that I love living my life, our life with my gorgeous girl and my gorgeous boyfriend. I’m not hoping for anything just taking each day as they come but I’ve got god feelings about him and us and out little unit.
But even with a summer full of surprises, it is my daughter who is the single most surprising thing in my life and astonishes me daily, especially her language. She is 3 at the end of October but sometimes she feels like a teenager, especially when she has her Greta Garbo moments and insists, “I want to be alone!”. We have just got back from a family holiday in Cornwall and had a lovely time with my folks and sister and her dog, who my little one adores. One of my highlights was watching my Dad, at my daughter’s request, pretend to be Snow White and the wicked Queen in a little role play she invented. Hilarious! She loves role play and we spent many an hour in the cottage pretending to be Elsa and Anna getting ready for the Coronation! But it’s not just her ability to recite and act out little scenes from her favourite movies that amuse and astound me. Here are her other top 10 moments of the summer:
- “I’ve run out of running, Mummy”. Spoken after a series of running races in the garden.
- ” I’m not interested in that”. Best put down ever from a 2 year old.
- “T-Rex is my favourite dinosaur coz he’s ginormous and a bit naughty coz he eats other dinosaurs and I like the Stegasaurus coz he has plates that go red to scare the T-Rex away”. Thank you ‘Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures’ on CBeebies – I don’t think I knew what a T-Rex was at this age.
- Telling my sister, ” Aunty Becky no biting!”, as she pretended to nibble on her arm. She even got my sister to click her fingers and say, “Oh Man!”. One for you Dora the Explorer fans.
- She has a fantastic imagination and loves making up little stories. Her best was about a Unicornio (thanks to Dora she only knows the Spanish word), a kangaroo and a lion, who are teeny tiny and her pets. Her second best was about 2 little fairies who live in her tummy called Bluebell and Pinkbell. Obvs.
- Getting toilet trained in a week. Boom! Glad I left it late. However she has a love of describing her poos and how many she will do – “I’m going to do 3 poos: a baby one a mummy one and a daddy one”. As long as they’re in the potty or the loo, love, go for your life!.
- Wanting to get naked at any given opportunity and announcing it – “Mummy, I’m naked!”. Must be the freedom from nappies.
- When we came back from holiday she said, “I love holidays but I love home more. I missed my toys I’ve not seen them in a week”. A week? How have you cottoned on to such concepts of time so quickly? She is such a sponge soaking up things she hears me or others say.
- Asking existential questions, such as: “why do we live on a planet?” (I’ve told her since she could watch films and it was a Universal intro that we lived on planet Earth and pointed to England as where we live, when it comes on the telly), asking why my Granddad isn’t around anymore when my Mum told her a story about him and “what’s the point in doing exercises?”. I love her enquiring mind.
- Changing the words to songs, much to her amusement – apparently, Yankee Doodle stuck a sausage in his hat and rode in on an elephant. Nice one.