A while ago a friend told me that she felt that I only spoke to her when I needed something, was busy with my busy social life and other friends and that I didn’t appreciate how difficult her life. At the time I couldn’t see what she meant and I have tried to see what she meant. The problem is, it’s probably made me worse now. My ice queen exterior has always been a bit of a joke – and it is funny. Nothing like a good ice maiden, stiff upper lip drinking her tea. But the truth is, I’m not quite the ice maiden I was. Last year, with Gwen being ill so much, I’d started to keep things to myself more. I didn’t want to be that person that only talked about their child. I can remember consciously reminding myself at the start of conversations to ask in detail how someone was, what they’d been up to – hell, even what they thought about the weather, Bake Off, dare I mention – Brexit. Then when someone asked how I was I’d just say ‘ok. You know.’ I was trying so hard not to lean on other people, not to take advantage, that I just stopped talking. Last year was a s*** year. Let’s face it, not many people had a good one. We’re all living in the hope that 2017 will be the year. Less than 3 months in and personally, I’m now hoping 2018 is the year it all comes good, for us and friends.
Despite my attempt at University Life (clearly Gwendolyn had other ideas), this year so far has seen us at home, not able to go to nursery, university, soft play – swimming’s not even worth it now as she starts shivering after 10 minutes (& nobody likes all that admin for just 10 minutes). Gwendolyn received her cerebral palsy diagnosis, a quick x-ray showed that her lungs have now gone back several steps & now we might have a cardiac problem too. But. This post isn’t about me. It’s about you. Which is why I didn’t answer your text. I wanted to be positive about something. So as I am not blessed with healing hands or a magic wand (where’s Helena B-Carter when you need her) I made a princess dress for Gwennie and in the 15 minutes she laughed that day I took a video so I could share it as something happy and positive for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I have so much to be thankful for, and I really am. I have amazing friends (even if sometimes we all forget it for a bit), oh my god the healthcare & support Gwen is getting from the NHS right now, is just incredible – and extra bonus – one of her doctors is pretty easy on the eye… Gwendolyn’s alive and today we’re not in hospital, somewhere in the world I have a pretty awesome husband (not that I’ll tell him that too often as his ego’s big enough 😉 ).
So why didn’t I text you last week? Well it’s a pretty bad excuse. Gwen has a cold. I feel like one of those parents writing a note to teacher because Jonny got a cold on Wednesday so couldn’t come in (although technically Jonny, being a boy/man, would have had man-flu rather than a cold which is serious stuff.) Why is that my excuse? Well. I have a guilty secret. I keep a ‘go-bag’ under my bed. A go-bag? What on earth?! I hear you cry. Well it basically contains everything I need to get me & Gwen through 48 hours in hospital (I went for 48 hours as a lady should always keep enough spare clean underwear for such an occasion in case you ever got run over). And anyone that has spent any time in A&E or a hospital ward knows that supplies are vital for your sanity. Nine days ago my go-bag went from under the bed to the front seat of my car. It’s still there. That’s how seriously I take a cold in this household – because we all know what happened with the last one! Last week started with me at the dentist with tooth ache (turns out I’ve been grinding my teeth & the dentist told me to relax and avoid stress – clearly a comedienne in her spare time) and other than that, the only person I saw to speak to, was Gwen’s doctor (easy on the eye one so every cloud..). I’ve not slept properly in over a week. This is either I’m worried because the snot filled snoring has stopped from the room next door, or she’s crying because she feels pants and can’t get to snot-filled snoring stage. So to get to the point, last week I could have called you, I could have sent you a message. But I didn’t because I didn’t have anything positive to say. I could say you looked awesome in that Instagram picture. But the truth is, I know sometimes you feel rubbish and you’re not happy, and I wish I could wave a magic wand for you. But as I can’t, please bear in mind, I envy you. I completely & utterly envy you. I think you’re one of the luckiest people out there. I wouldn’t swap with you, mainly, because at heart I’m a soppy mum who’s besotted with her daughter, but I thought you should know. I think, not only are you a pretty cool person, but I think you have a pretty awesome life. What you probably don’t know is why I think your life is awesome. It’s not because you can go out when you want, do what you want, drink what you want, or because of your ability to drink wine & eat chocolate & not gain a pound. It’ s because you’re not afraid. Because to me you don’t have anything to be afraid of.
So I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m not a better friend. I’m sorry I don’t phone or text every week. I’m sorry it takes a couple of hours to reply sometimes. Just because you don’t hear from me, doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of you, wondering what you’re up to, caring & worrying about you.
Please understand, that sometimes, I’m just waiting that little bit longer so that I can find something positive and upbeat to say. Sometimes I’m busy on my latest effort to entertain my brain or bring a smile to Gwennies face. And sometimes. Sometimes, it’s simply because I’m sat next to her bed, holding her hand – just for a little bit longer. Just incase…