Since our return from Cornwall the children have been at home for just 4 sleeps as school holiday's are juggled alongside G & I working. G has also clocked up a week in Germany & just over a week in Canada in the past 3 weeks.
In the past I've often loved the silence, the chance to get on & do in peace & quiet. But this time I've found it hard. I've underestimated how after a difficult day at work, conversations about play ground friends & Pokemon from the Small's provide a balance to the days palliative care conversations.
I've felt a little lost from the usual routines, and envious/sad/guilty at listening/reading about others times with their children. I don't know if this has a lot to do with my 11 year old starting seniors in a couple of days. It doesn't feel like two minutes since he would be sitting on the toilet with his feet dangling far above the floor. Now he's like Bambi - long limbed & awkward, and about to embark on a whole new experience.
I've even missed G, usually I am pretty independent in coping without him, he's always travelled with his job, ever since we first started courting. I'll digress & tell you a story....
After a particularly long stint away my son, then very small came toddling into the bedroom. A blotto almost under the covers G had arrived back in the night.
With a squeal my little one shouted "Mummy there's a strange man in bed"
" No darling, that's your father" I replied **
We had part of the bank holiday weekend together, just me & G. We pottered through some of the jobs that I needed him to help with - Loft Clearing. Reminiscing through boxes of CD's. G had more CD's of shame, my collection was defiantly more eclectic & random, but together they charted the past 20 years of our lives.
And we Sunday breakfasted out, at the little French Cafe in town, feeling terribly grown up & pampered....
Then for the rest of the week I was home alone. I pottered &mooched/mopped, but didn't really achieve much, just worked & made my way through the biggest pile of ironing. Waiting for Friday.
Now Friday has been & gone. My Small people are back & so is G. They have had a good time at Grandma & Grandpa's. Life is back to its normal rhythm. The cyclo cross season has started & the 11 year old has gained his first war wound of the season. I have pile of muddy lycra to wash. The 8 year old squeezed every drop out of Saturday playing with the girls from next door. It's noisy again.
It's good. The end of the Big Hush.
* New Winter Shoes for my girl
**(whilst having wishful thoughts I'm sure)
A 50 mile Bike ride from our hospice through the Peak District to Flagg and back, to raise money. The hospice I work for needs to raise 2.7 Million pounds a year on top of local health funding. It provides care for people across the whole of North Derbyshire, at home, or in the inpatient unit as well as a beautiful day centre.
So on a very Sunny Sunday, my little man, his Dad, and 2 other 'lads & their dad's' donned their yellow team shirts & peddled for pounds - along with another 59 cyclists willing to go the miles.
At 11 he was the youngest cyclist, for what was an adult aimed event. It wasn't an easy ride, taking in some of the White Peaks as well as popular spots such as Chatsworth House. The atmosphere was fantastic - as with any group of cyclists there was an air of competition, but also the sense that this was something special. There were people cycling for loved ones, others to support a local charity.
To say I was proud was an underestimation of how I felt. So many people have supported him in fundraising, people I have never met have given generously. Friend's, family & colleagues all wishing him to do well. There was a whole lot of love going on. For me it was also the knowledge that at 11 years he realises he can give, it may not always be easy, but he can make a difference, even now. That life isn't always about him, it's about a mindfulness and awareness of others needs. He gave honestly & simply. That's a big thing in my book of life.
They started as a team of 6 and finished as a team, one of the youngsters struggled, but the togetherness was the deal, and it is sportsmanship at its best. It's not the first time I've seen these growing boys work as a team, there was a moment on a tour in June where one cyclist rather than lap his team mate, put his arm out and pushed him across the line. Giving.
(at the start, before the Sheldon climb....)
To relax after there was the obligatory post match de-brief & barbecue, where the fellow mums & wives joined us. As well as bikes....
And celebrations as we watched the final stages of the Tour de France, the final moments as a man who showed the meaning of teamwork & honesty claimed his rightful win. They say its been the cleanest Tour yet, and what a role model Bradley Wiggins is proving to be. I'll let my 11 year look up to him, Wiggins is nearly as good as his dad & cycling cousin in his eyes.....
If anyone would have told me 10 years ago I would be going to Camper Jam - I would have laughed, rolled my eyes & said I gave up camping when I left Guides....
Last Friday I put my new found long distance driving skills to good use, and drove myself and the Little Miss to a Hotel (*) near Weston Park, where Camper am 2012 was being held. Letting the boys set up camp in Brightside.
We are ladies who like to stay in style.... (Not quite ready to get under canvas)
I think the conversation went along the lines of... 'Yes Daddy the Hotel is very nice, I've put the bar of soap in my bag already - Hello Big Brother, its nice & warm here, how about you in the camper??? Wahhahhhhaahaaaa!'
Saturday saw us arrive to fields of Campers, horror stories of vans being towed on & off the pitches due to the wet ground, and claims of a good nights sleep & barbecued gammon for breakfast....
Wake up Brightside, surely it wasn't that bad???
Under skies that could not decide whether to shine or rain, we walked through the fields of fellow campers
To the display area.
Matching Tear Drop Trailer anyone???
Little Miss - Oh yes please, I like the flowery bedding....
Grey Camper anyone?
Me - Oh, please please please - It matches the front door
G - Eyes Roll......
There was a red Split selling Olive's & Italian Lemonade
A stall with the loveliest name....
And all sorts of collectables to add to your Camper, some more interesting than others....
And then the heavens opened....
I felt sorry for the traders & the visitors.... The land was a washout, people couldn't get to the stalls safely & stock was getting damaged. It was as close to Glastonbury as I will ever get....
As soon as there was a break in the rain it was back to Brightside to dry off. Lo and behold a miracle occurred (2 actually), the sun started to shine again, we opened the sun roof, and G washed up!
Sibling Love - Part One
Look cute whilst strangling Big Brother
Sibling Love - Part Two
Attempt to post Little Sister up through Sun Roof (I think she may have found some dirt...)
What happens when you bounce in a Camper
Sadly the rain & mud put paid to the Sunday Day visitors, after the event organisers were told by the Land owners that they would not allow any more people in, as the grass would need to recover for a big music festival in 4 weeks....
It was such a shame as so many people had gone to a lot of trouble, travelling hundreds of miles, looking forward to what is usually the biggest VW event in the country. I left on Saturday evening with Little Miss, but G said here was a really good feel to the evening events....
Yet despite the mud & rain (& dodgy toilets) it was a really event, if you have one near you, its worth taking the children, there is always a good family feel, everyone is welcoming, and lots to look at and do, stories told, info to be swapped.
The 11 year old's T shirt says it all - OCD Obsessive Camper Disorder - I tell you, it's contagious. Would you like me to tell you the story of why & how Mr Brightside became our bus? He is now very special to us (especially G).
(*) Hotel was free on G's travel points, a plus side to having a husband who is away a lot (oh, & a bed all to ones self...)
Hello, me? I am a wife to G, mum of two growing small people 11 & 8. A specialist nurse, living and working on the edge of the Peak District, North Derbyshire. Often scatty, usually very busy, fidgity daydreamer.... Good sense of humour, sweet tooth, big feet, blessed.