Team outing. That Book

So Feb 2020, a team night out

Belated Xmas meal, we won’t go without,

Secret Santa’s bought and ready to share

Oh how exciting …we open and compare!

Three mugs and aftershave, jewellery too,

Presents unwrapped, we were quickly getting through.

Sweets and chocolates, many a mood to lift,

Then final present opened – oh what a gift!

Knowing that poetry is a love of mine

There was a book of poems! How divine!

I opened at a page, eager to read,

But my eyes opened wide, I couldn’t believe..

‘Insecurity over Ageing’ stood out on the page,

I looked around, with mild refrain,

Turning a page, I couldn’t help anticipate ..

But shocked to see ‘Agonising over weight..’😳

Nervous laugh ensued as I took a ‘deep dive’

To see what other little gems I could find.

The giver was blushing (and rightly so)

As I read out the topics – see pic below..

He’d obviously bought it, based on something I adore,

How insightful and thoughtful, couldn’t ask for more.

But he was clearly mortified, as he’d not read the themes!

And the book then provided much laughter in reams…

As I decided to share and read a poem out loud,

Desperately trying not to attract a crowd,

But the lure of ‘The Orange’ was just so appealing

While the giver was sitting looking up at the ceiling.

So this book was actually a gift well intended,

And I really, REALLY wasn’t offended,

The evening table talk, had taken a humorous turn,

And the book I’m sure, of the craft helps me learn 😉

Look up..

Look up from your phone,

What can you see?

Look up, look up,

See your family!

Look up from your phone,

Your neck must be sore!

Look up, look up,

You’re becoming a bore!

Look up from your phone,

There’s a whole world out there!

Look up, look up,

Don’t say you don’t care..

Look up from your phone

You have your whole life ahead,

Look up, look up,

And choose the steps that you’ll tread.

Look up from your phone,

Life is passing you by,

Look up, look up,

Don’t say I didn’t try!

Look up from your phone,

And see all the beauty around

The real life that exists..

Just listen to the sounds !

It’s amazing and it’s here!

Right in front of your eyes!

Look up and live in the present!

Let go of your phone and its ties !

Garden oasis

Sitting in the garden
Relaxed and calm;
Glass of wine
And a breezy balm
The tinkle of water
From next door’s pond;
Sun shining, of which
I’m VERY fond.
Love the sun
Hope it stays a while
A great job it does;
Makes everyone smile. 

A message to all our swimmers!

A message to all our swimmers,

From us Officials all in white,

We’re really not that bad you know,

We just have to do what’s right.

Mostly, we’re just PARENTS,

Who want to see all Swim well,

We hate spotting a DQ!

As the Referee we must tell.

Here are just a few of the things,

That fill us Officials with DREAD,

Especially for younger swimmers,

Who, close to the mark sometimes tread.

Backstroke can cause a classic mistake,

Of turning far too EARLY.

Our hearts will sink if arms stay still,

DQ triggered : soooo unlucky.

Breaststroke also tests our nerve,

As we watch for a touch with both hands,

Sometimes it’s also hard to see,

If a SIMULTANEOUS touch lands…

RELAYS can be ultra stressful,

With takeovers being on show,

The swimmers have to touch the wall,

Before the next swimmer goes.

As the Swimmer gets older,

Their mistakes get fewer by far,

We know a DQ is frustrating,

As they set themselves a very high bar.

BUT IT’s all part of LEARNING!

From every mistake they’ve made,

And a better swimmer they will be,

With STRONGER FOUNDATIONS laid.

SO. We’re really not that bad you know,

We only do what’s right,

We really enjoy the swimming

(But NOT the dressing in white 😂).

Why oh why did they choose swimming ..

Why, oh why did we encourage swimming,

When athletic abilities were starting to show,

They could have chosen running or gymnastics,

Why we stuck with swimming, I’ll never really know..!

For our life outside it is limited,

In fact you can say it’s dead…

As every day in the pool is a must,

With those 4am starts out of bed 😧💤

It’s really not for the faint hearted!

Grit and determination is key !

Focused and driven key traits to possess,

But not just the swimmer – the whole family!!

The early morning’s are a killer,

Clock watching through most of the night,

Making sure they get to the pool on time,

And us parents looking an awful fright😂💤

So why did we encourage swimming,

When their ability was starting to show?

It’s because they LOVE it and LEARN GREAT skills😘,

So don’t regret their swimming.. just watch them grow😘

Facing the Beast from the East..

Woke up with a Headache, it was the journey ahead,

I was NOT looking forward to it, it was filling me with DREAD!

The forecast was snow, and heavy at that;

I REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO GO, and that was THAT!

Nearly six hours of road, in a ten year old car,

It surely wouldn’t cope, it’s WAY TOO FAR!

But I had NO CHOICE, the deed was done,

Time off work, I had nowhere to run.

Five thirty we left, the roads were fine

I took a deep breath, ’This journey’s MINE..!’

Carys had her laptop, in a world of her own,

Sat up front, nerves of STEEL were shown.

Through ‘A’ roads we went, only a dusting of snow,

Traffic was heavy, at times moving slow.

M6 we joined, with a feeling of relief,

These roads will be good, surely bad bits would be brief.

Then into a blizzard, it came on FAST,

GRIPPING steering wheel TIGHT, windscreen got a water blast!

A few miles further, and the blizzard had gone,

Back to black roads, we could safely carry on.

But as the journey continued, white roads we saw more,

Lulled into a false sense of security, visibility was INCREASINGLY POOR.

Across the Pennines we continued, snow was HORIZONTAL by now

Felt as if we weren’t moving, had to check out the side window!

My grip was getting tighter, as snow lay thick on the road;

Lorries had NO HEED for cars, I wanted another transport mode!!

Reluctantly we made a pit stop, no time would ever be good,

I wanted to carry on moving, thankfully Carys understood…

A frequent countdown of timings, helped to focus as conditions got worse,

Every hour that was knocked off the journey, made me feel that little less terse.

An essential part of the trip, on traffic was being kept up to date,

My hubby at the end of the phone: for news, he was my key mate!

All around us was darkness, limited lighting not helping AT ALL,

Carys still watching her laptop, occasionally asleep she’d fall;

Little did I know, that MUCH worse we were yet to see;

But as we left the M74 behind, all I saw was clear road…YIPPEE!

My heart soared higher, looking at this black road ahead,

Cats eyes shone brightly – not long until a nice warm bed!

Excitedly I got Carys to call our friends, 3o minutes behind,

’This ‘ A’ route is MUCH BETTER than M74 you’ll find!’

As soon as the update was given, it must have been a CURSE!

Conditions changed dramatically, and the road got HORRENDOUSLY worse…

Everyone else must have realised, how bad this road would be;

For it was largely deserted, except for a couple of vehicles…. And ME!

Snow was coming down thick again, wide road on either side,

But ice was hidden underneath, and my car did nothing but slide.

My knuckles were WHITE, focussed on keeping control;

My tongue getting drier, intent on avoiding a car roll.

Carys was still in that world of her own, looking up now and then,

You’re doing OKAY, don’t worry at all!’, before head bowed down again.

GREAT! I thought, the PRESSURE’s ON ME, to get us there safe and sound;

My heart in my mouth, my grip still tight, a new DETERMINATION I found…

After driving ALL THIS WAY and all these hours, come hell or high water,

I’ll get to Edinburgh – swimming – for MY DAUGHTER!

But as a heavy, industrial vehicle approached, and my car did ANOTHER slide,

I prayed hard and focussed to stay on course, refusing to just go and hide!

I then kept looking in my mirror, consciously driving slow,

Hoping my friends would catch us up, giving comfort of someone I know;

Unsurprisingly they did! I was doing no more than 20 miles an hour!

The roads were getting bendy and steep, but I needed to regain my OWN power..

Spurred on by their appearance, helped give the last of our journey a BOOST,

Surpassing the fear I had previously, steadfast calmness had now been let loose.

At the sight of every bend and hill, my focus didn’t waiver;

A consistent pace and in control – each one nailed, I’d savour.

Those last twenty miles were horrendous, much worse than the previous three seventy

But with sheer determination and will, I was proud I’d had guts a plenty!

The outskirts of Edinburgh arrived, with roads showing a tiny smear of black,

SOOO CHUFFED I’d actually made it, for there would have been NO Turning back!

While parking is another tale (!) taking over an hour at least,

I’m very proud that we survived, facing the Beast from the East!

My sleep was VERY restless that night, EXHAUSTED more than I knew,

Seven plus hours of driving… But all safe and sound ….PHEW!!

———————————-

This horrendous journey was for my daughter’s first British Champs…

I’m having a baby.. but I can’t handle pain… I’m just not prepared!

Having a baby?
My God, no way
I’ll never cope
Take it away!

Oh, you know I don’t mean it
It’s just that I’m scared..
I mean, I can’t handle pain
I’m just not prepared!

I’ve heard that it’s bad,
The birth, you know;
So I don’t want to do it..
But I’ve no choice now…OH NO!,

Now it’s 7 months later
And my baby is here;
It was a wonderful moment,
I had nothing to fear!

Of course I had pain
But it wasn’t THAT bad;
I’d do it all again
And no, I’m definitely not mad!

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Kids: life’s tools…

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My kids I love them very much,
But I still don’t think they know;
How much they mean, how much I care,
And the lengths to which I’d go.

Because they are my world. My hope?
That they treat life with respect;
And are good and caring and kind,
With manners they won’t forget.

Life’s not easy, but as a child,
They have freedom to do what they like:
Not constrained by adult pressures,
They could even – and do! – go on strike!

But Adulthood has obstacles,
And I want them to be prepared;
As we can’t always protect them,
Yet we don’t want them to be scared.

So we will give them tools for life,
To help them along their way;
We’ll share experiences, and our
Wisdom… until our dying day.

Motherhood…

Motherhood had never really been my thing but with my mid-30’s approaching, it was a case of now or never. I reluctantly agreed to ‘go for it’ and shockingly, one month later, I was pregnant.

We were gob-smacked!

It was one thing to say we’d try for a baby, but another for it to happen so quickly, even though I’d done the ‘sticking your legs in the air after sex’ thing to give it a helping hand. We still didn’t think it would happen, at least, not that quickly!

The youngest of four children, I have always been the ‘career’ one. My brother and sisters all got married and had children while I was busy enjoying my job, having boyfriend problems and fighting shy of commitment.

To me, having children would have been to sacrifice a happy, carefree, selfish life for nappies and sleepless nights. Not on your Nellie! I couldn’t see the attraction and when babies were ‘shown off’, I couldn’t understand why everyone got gooey-eyed. Apart from which, I’m allergic to pain and didn’t really fancy giving birth!

So, I couldn’t quite believe the pregnancy test was positive after years of avoiding the possibility. I was in a state of panic and fear, while my husband was in a state of satisfied superiority that all men seem to adopt when they get someone pregnant so quickly.

As the pregnancy progressed, we became oblivious to the impact that having a baby would have on our lives. Between a threatened miscarriage, studying for exams and renovating our house, we didn’t have much time to dwell on ‘life after birth’.
But at seven months, I was admitted to hospital. I went into panic mode after I had steroid injections to strengthen the baby’s lungs in case she decided to make an early entrance. I wasn’t quite ready for the birth experience, especially after I overheard an eerie, ear-piercing wail from somewhere down the hospital corridor.

Five weeks later, after a further four admissions into hospital and without the benefit of attending antenatal classes, our daughter arrived. She was three weeks early. I suffered hours of agonising labour (in my back) in the hospital before giving birth to an audience of my sister, mum and husband (he arrived at the hospital with an hour to spare).

After the birth, I was so elated it was all over that I went into shock.

It had been a difficult five weeks and birth; the hospital midwife didn’t realise I was in labour so only prescribed paracetemol, even though I was doubled over on the floor, unable to speak with the worst pain I have ever experienced. Not a bad thing as I can now boast a natural birth, despite it not being by choice.

I held my daughter only briefly before giving her to my husband and mum to look after and then proceeded to phone close family and friends from the hospital bed! I had switched off from the pain and having the baby. I viewed it as ‘job done – that was a piece of cake’.

Then it hit me over the next few days. Not just the pain, but also the overriding sense of responsibility that comes with having a baby.

Practical things like how do I stop her crying? How on earth do I get the vest on over her head? How do I bathe her? How much food should she have? Things I had not thought about before because we were so worried about her just arriving safely and being healthy.

But more important than that was the realisation that her whole outlook on life will be determined by how we bring her up: will she be well balanced and kind, wise, confident, sociable, respectful, independent, patient?

We will influence many of her characteristics. What a massive responsibility! Bigger than any financial services product launch or media campaign I’ve been involved with.

And I hadn’t bargained for the heart wrenching, overwhelming feelings of love, protection and tenderness, which I now feel for my daughter.

I go gooey-eyed when I see her. I look into her eyes and cry at her perfection and marvel at the miracle that can conceive a child. I am fascinated that I carried her, a little person growing inside me for so long.

I love it when she looks up at me with her deep blue eyes while I am feeding her, so innocent and placing all her trust in me. I have cried when she has cried, not wanting to see her in pain, and know I would give my life for her like a shot.

Yes, it’s sleepless nights, dirty nappies and a lifelong commitment. It’s singing nursery rhymes instead of pop songs and it’s total unselfishness (goodbye to long, leisurely soaks in the bath and spending an hour getting myself ready in the morning!).

But it’s also a raw, deep, all-consuming love which is worth any sacrifice.

(Written in 2003, after the birth of my first daughter).