Birthday Applause

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On the morning of my birthday I woke up to this post. And it was the beginning of a great day. The best birthday I’ve had in a long time. As stupid as it may sound I still think birthdays are special, and have always tried to make the people around me feel a little special on “their”day.
There’s been nothing special about most of my birthdays since we moved to London and the last couple were really depressing for a variety of reasons, so this year, after all the grief of what’s been happening, I made sure I filled a whole week up with little things that make “me” happy… with my girls and with my girlfriends/mummy friends. It was all about people I wanted to be with, as opposed to people I “had” to be with. Yes, I did do the “family” restaurant dinner with Tom (who happened to be here for 24 hours in the role of super-dad attending the Parent-Teacher meetings for the first time ever since Evie started nursery 5 years ago!) and it was … uneventful: the place we went to was nice, I loved the food, the girls always like being out “in the dark”, Tom and I didn’t speak much after he filled me in on his work and I was fine with that… I had nothing to say, so said nothing, we all had a peaceful time and for the first time in ages I didn’t want it to be any different. I was ok.

One person in particular I couldn’t celebrate with, as we are in different Countries almost exclusively chat via our iPhones. We will have our birthday drinks at some point, but I felt I couldn’t not let her know that if I was doing ok, compared to even just a year ago, a lot of it had to do with her, and all the time she spent texting me, listening to my rants and giving me a part of her, her experiences, her thoughts, her feelings. Consistently. Her best quality as a friend TO ME? She has one of the quickest minds I have ever come across: she can judge a situation, say what she thinks, and eventually approve a completely different thought/course of action simply because she realises that we are all different and what works for her might not work for me. I don’t know any other woman who can do that. And feel blessed to have her in my life.

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Thank you C, for an email you sent me 8 years ago…

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Hi C,

I’ve been meaning to shoot you a short email for a while and was going to take advantage of your birthday but sort of (completely :-)) lost the plot. I’ll skip the belated birthday stuff and get straight to the point.

All I want to say is thank you.

For being the way you were, for the values you valued and for the words you wrote to me a long time ago. I came across that email by chance after the summer when I was pretty lost, because I started realising that many things in my – far from perfect – life weren’t exactly what they looked like: a few facts here and there, hidden by a bunch of lies, a very strong gut feeling which created a lot of confusion to the point where I started doubting myself, and I have rarely done that in my life because I have always had to have my own back. Your words reminded me of ME (as in before kids) and the word you once used to describe me: bold. And they helped me put my values back into perspective and remember that WE own our choices, which also means that we are not to be held responsible for other people’s no matter how close.

Where does the confusion come in? As you can imagine it’s because I am not only responsible for myself, I have 3 girls which are the light of my life and I know that my decisions will affect them. As much as I want them to have a “normal” family I have had to come to terms with the fact that I can offer them unconditional love and I can teach them that values are not empty words, that lies and betrayal are not ok and not ok to be accepted. Is that going to be enough? I don’t know. Will I regret my decision? Probably not because I have tried all I can, and I am still trying to find another way through this but I am also very much aware that until the lies and the denial (despite the evidence) stop I don’t have a chance in hell of fixing this. So I took a stand.

All I wanted to say is thank you for reminding me that it is ok to make decisions in life which may not be what we expected them to be.