5 Things that make me feel good…..?

February 22, 2011

Its all too easy to get wrapped up in everyday life and not stop and think about what makes you feel good just in your everyday activities – I spied this twitter feed and so here we are. I am on my lunch break in the office (we have to have an hour for lunch over here in Sweden – that is good), so thought I would take time out from what felt like a very miserable day to respond.

1. My son’s teacher stopped me in the corridor this morning to relay a small incident that occurred in the classroom yesterday that showed huge improvements in his way of coping! – good and poud, powerful combination.

2. I was just asked (in Swedish) “Where has your arse gone?” – weight loss without trying always makes you feel good.

3. Waking up this morning, I felt good – it is not yet as regular occurance as I would like it to be, but it is happening more often than not – good progress.

4. Thumbs up from the legislative organisation I have been negotiating with just recently (in Swedish) – thank goodness I got the process right!

5. I am cooking supper for good friends and work colleagues this evening – despite being full of cold – that always feels good.

So maybe this day is not as miserable as I first thought – amazing what taking time out to think differently can do.

Advertisements

Living in the country that you are in

February 18, 2011

This is my son in ridiculously cold winds – he needs to get out and about everyday – whatever the weather!!

 

One of my wonderful friends sent me this poem yesterday. To put it into context for me –

 – I didnt sign up to go on holiday in the first place, in fact I had been told it was something I wasn’t able to participate in!

–  I also avoided any kind of preparation as it then all became a bit too real and a bit too scary

–  however I always had in the back of my mind that everything would be wonderful once the plane touched down.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

 

My son is not disabled, nowhere near. He has some very real challenges in his behaviour, ability to learn and socialise – within what we class as a “normal” environment. As yet there is no clear diagnosis, as yet I do not think he needs one. I am growing to love Holland passionately and know that I will not be leaving anytime soon – I am now working on bringing others with me to this wonderful place, because some of them really are missing out on the trip of a lifetime!

 

Togetherness

February 15, 2011

One of my closest friends had her daughter 2 weeks after I had my son.  We have both been fascinated watching them grow up together , both becoming individuals but developing an incredible bond between them that even geography doesn’t seem to impact on.

As they have grown up the differences between them as  individuals  has become more apparent. However they are both completely accepting of each other – with no question & do not judge each other on any level.  Their educational development couldn’t be more different, my son struggles to sit still for more than 1 minute as a start, which brings lots of challenges, Boo however is very studious and clearly advanced in academia. My son is boisterous, loves the outdoors and all things sporty, Boo couldn’t be more girlie living in a wonderful world of princesses, pink and glitter.

Their togetherness was summed up for me in one moment that I was fortunate to witness a couple of weekends ago.  My son gets very upset about not being able to just read something, write something down etc  it really impacts negatively on his self confidence and subsequently he actively avoids any kind of situation where he might have to ask for help, particularly from his peers.  They were sat together in Boo’s Dads chair, both attempting to read a book. N got up from the chair, ran around the chair, sat back down again, several times – Boo just shuffled into his space and back out again without a murmur, N then asked (very  casually)  “What does this page say?” Without missing a beat, Boo read out the page to him. He shrugged said thank you and shuffled back down again.

They just get each other – that for me is togetherness.

Thank you again to http://www.stickyfingers1.blogspot.com/ for yet another inspired title.

PS unfortunately there is no update on my 24 hour post yet – very frustrating, but it is what it is!

The last 24 hours!

February 8, 2011

I have decided to capture the last 24hours in photographs – the idea being given courtesy of http://stickyfingers1.blogspot.com/ in the weekly gallery. I have posted a link, which I hope works!

I’ve had a successful career and held some senior positions, however the last 24 hours had been one of the most stressful times in my career. I am CEO of the Scandinavian company, belonging to a UK group of businesses. The business is having a tough time (through the actions of clients & creditors), but through it all we have pulled together still managed to smile everyday.

However being at the top is sometimes very lonely & not being able to really say how you are feeling on a really stressful day can be torturous. Add to that being a single parent in a foreign country ……! So here is my 24 hours, I hope it gives you an insight into my life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(I really hope that you are able to use the slid show for all the pictures – first time I have tried this)

First thing – taking my son to school, singing “Here come the girls” in the car whilst my stomach is churning & heart racing

My first cup of coffee & I am fighting the urge to resort to emergency measures!

Add my twitter feed.

Checking that the numbers are right – we can;t stretch it any further & have gone through this a hundred times. I am responsible for peoples’ livelihoods & therefore I have to check again

Pacing the floor, all I can do is wait. The day seems to be going on forever. Being in someone elses’ hands is not something I am wired to deal with.

Pick up superman, with an air of noddy holder to him from after school club. He’s had a great day at school and is full of life. Suddenly things are not quite so stressful

Finish the 100 project for school – we had to make something to represent 100 days of school. It has taken my strongest negotiating skills to get N to sit still (5 mins at a time) & colour in the cardboard 100 & then stick 100 good behaviour stickers to it – but it’s finished & he actually looks me in the eye & says he likes what he has done!

Phone rings – not the news we were hoping for. Take several more calls whilst N plays his DS for 30mins. Turn phone off because he needs & deserves my full attention for at least an hour.  My team know how I manage my time & that they can get hold of me in an hours time.

Fried cheese sandwich for my tea – for those that understand the stress induced need for carbs!

Sleep eludes me – there is no photo of my in my pyjamas – that would be too much for all concerned.

Back to where I started yesterday morning – gave “Here comes the girls” a real good shout out today. Laughing all the way to school.

On my way upto the office – head is spinning, not sure what today holds again, in the hands of others.

Wish me luck!

Shape

February 2, 2011

I am writing about this picture because it represents such a breakthrough. My son has some real challenges concentrating, sitting still basically focusing on one task for more than 45s (it has been timed in a professional assessment!) His frustration and annoyance at himself has led to reduced self confidence and behaviour that has proved very challenging particularly at home! I have fought for help for him in the UK and got nowhere. We arrived in Sweden and within 2 weeks he had been assessed, first stage and we were on our way to progress. The school has been fantastic and we have put some great strategies in place that have made such a difference to his confidence and performance in school it is astounding. He completed the above picture just after the new year. In order to do it he had to sit still, with a group of his peers (his cousins same age) and concentrate – those pieces are really fiddly. Also this is his own picture from his own head! The fact that he did this voluntarily is amazing. Then add in that there are some proper well formed shapes and I burst into tears! Even 3 months ago, this would not have been possible. Why was he not getting the help he needed in the UK is a whole other debate and one that I get extremely annoyed about. The important thing is that he getting the support he needs and he is thriving! & for now that is all that matters.

A different Christmas

January 26, 2011

Coming from a wonderfully large family – eldest of 6 girls we have always gone to my mothers’ for our Christmas celebrations. With there now being husbands, grandchildren and dogs it is quite a houseful. During the last couple of years I have taken the same options for key events, reassured that I will have few decisions to make and there is a comfort in knowing how it will all work. However 2010 we decided to do something a little different – we spent it with my son’s godparents.

Not only are they his godparents but they have also been amazingly supportive friends to me too, through all the trauma of the last 2 years. I am indebted to them. I was nervous about being somewhere else for Christmas, but having ensured that Father Christmas knew where we were and that he had to leave presents at Granny and Daddy’s respective houses also, we were set.  I was also extremely lucky that my sons godfather spent some quality boy time on the 24th with my son so I could get my legs waxed (see previous post!), hair cut and nails done! Everything seems so much better after all of that!

Christmas day was lovely. Father Christmas even wrote a letter and left it for my son to read, signing it with “Ho Ho Ho!” which is apparently how you know it is from him, which reassured the whole present whereabouts query. The day was different to previous years, different people and less of them, but the enjoyment and love no less.

And why write about it? – well not everything has to be the same all the time, trying something new or different can be really scary, but sometimes you just might find that a change is just as great and boosts your confidence that you can do something a bit different!

This picture was taken at the end of the Christmas day, it stars my son and his ever companion, Humphrey. They did not even make it up the stairs! A true sign that a wonderful time was had by all!

Lessons learnt Jan 2011!

January 24, 2011

I’ve been way too philosophical in my ramblings these last couple of blogs, so time for some humour (philosophical of course) I think. Lessons my son has learnt in the month of January 2011 – through no planning from myself

1. Your Mummy is not light on her feet. Nor is she as light as a feather. Therefore if you bash into her the chances are high that you will suffer also. Shouting “out the way mummy!” 20s before careering into the back of her, whilst you are both on ice skates will not prevent the inevitable fall ontop of you, dead weight!

2. Saying “Mummy I like you face without makes ups, it is not scary!” Will illicit squeals of delight and lots of embarrassing hugs, for a longer time period than you will probably want.

3. Telling Mummy that she is much more squashy than a pillow and therefore more comfortable, will not necessarily illicit such large squeals of delight, but will certainly be taken in the spirit that it was intended!

 4. Skateboarding on laminate floor (not in my care!) inside a room full of furniture will end in disaster.

5. Being able to not wee on the toilet or the floor just once does not make up for all the times you “forget” past or future! No matter how many times you remind me!

6. Telling everyone within a 50m radius “Mummy you really need to wax your legs!” is not going to further your chances of getting to visit the pick ‘n’ Mix counter on the way home.

7. Falling over more than being upright and still trying to skate on ice until you are exhausted, has made me the proudest Mummy in the world ever!

8. Despite me waking you at 11pm every night to lift you to the toilet, you still tell me you love me every time before snuggling into my comfy places (see point 3). This will always make me cry and always will.

And what has my learning been? That however tough it gets, I am surrounded by unchallenging love that knows no boundaries and has no demands – and that is pretty special. Oh and I need to wear less make ups, wax my legs more and get quicker on the ice!!

An everything pie

January 18, 2011

I have always had the same routine for bedtime with my son. The main aspect being reading him 1 or 2 stories before he goes to sleep. I’ve done it since he was about 6months old and the routine has worked, wherever we are, stories cuddled up in bed mean time for a sleepy. How long this will last I am not sure, but I hope it is for a long time to come.

Anyway last night we read a Mr Men story – called Mr Happy and the Wizard hat. It is one of the new generation of Mr Men books that include other Mr Men within the story and another character central to the plot. Anyway, Mr Happy finds the wizards spell book and hat in a library and returns them – meeting a variety of Mr Men along the way. As a thank you for returning his book and hat, the wizard cooks Mr Happy an everything pie.

It gave me an idea – what if life was an everything pie? All of a sudden you are in realms of how to make a pie? What ingredients to use; the quality of those ingredients; when it is made; temperature of the oven; who you impart the successful recipe to; how many pies you have to make before you have the perfect recipe; whose advice you ask along the way, would make some really interesting conversations and thought provoking recipes.  Then I thought what if you just bought an off the shelf pie? Now that brings with it all sorts of presumptions and pre-made decisions that you have no influence over. There are things you can influence however, the price you pay; if you follow the cooking instructions; what accompaniments you serve with it; who you share it with; whether you recommend it to someone else.

There are pros and cons to both options and time could easily become a deciding factor. My point is though trying to enjoy a slice of life from an off the shelf pie may well produce instant gratification but will you be able to re-create it and how long does it last? Putting the initial effort and time into your own recipe, although a longer process with more risks of failure, could mean you ultimately end up with your own everything pie, that satisfies your needs long term and some of those others around you.

The cynic in me says (and my cellulite bears witness to) the fact that actually I just like eating pies!

Keeping it simple & smiley

January 7, 2011

Trying to keep everything simple has served me well over the last couple of years – accept; learn; smile; move forwards. Anything more complicated seems like a bit of a waste of energy.  There will always be situations that you can’t apply that logic to, but in the main it has served me well. These are the main things I have accepted over the last couple of years– read into them what you will.

Believe what they have to believe – there are always people who have to believe what makes them feel best. This can lead to an unbelievable ability to blank the truth – I have done it myself & I do think it is a particularly well developed female skill – although I can evidence it from males also! Black is white in this scenario – it absolutely is!

Medication does help – but you have to be resolute that it is not the long term answer. It gets you over the really bad stuff, but negates your ability to deal with things in the long term. Although what I have learnt is when you do decide to come off it, do it with medical supervision & not cold turkey!

People can surprise you – I have been lucky enough to continue meeting an eclectic mix of people. I am fortunate that some of them have now become an integral part of my future life.  Some of them have just accepted me for who I am – I am still amazed at that!

Being yourself is actually quite difficult – when you have spent a long-time (years) trying to be something that you aren’t really, being yourself can prove quite an uphill battle. Simple things like taste in music; dress sense; hobbies can all of a sudden be a bit of a challenge because you have the freedom to choose yourself!  Reverting to my preferred choice of black on black, is not everyone’s up of tea – but certainly makes me feel better!

Does it really matter (& will it) ? – I have battled over alot of things that I really though mattered over the last couple of years. The reality is that the majority of them haven’t mattered at all. In fact some of the less important things at the time, were really important in the future. Just asking myself the question before plunging into the abyss of resolution, has stopped lots of pointless angst.

Friendships can’t be one sided – don’t waste energy trying to make them work if they don’t.  But for those that do, make a real effort in everyway – they are vital to survival.   

All these things have made me smile, eventually! & I am determined to keep going & smiling in 2011.

& so into 2011

December 31, 2010

If I had £1 for everytime someone had said to me “2011 has to be a better year for you – doesnt it?” in the last couple of weeks…….?

Having heard that this time last year, probably as many times I am looking back to 2010 & realising how grateful I am for the huge learning curve that it has been & am now determined keep moving forwards. Because, actually, 2010 has been a much better year for me – but for the inside me, not necessarily the outside one.  Although I am externally much more true to myself (black is back!), the big changes have been on the inside – I have learnt an awful lot & as ever with me, they only way I learn, is by real experience (just ask my teachers!)

1. Not everything needs to be dealt with positively, you can allow  yourself a little bit of a wallow!
2. You are who you are, you shouldn’t change (compromise yes) for anyone.
3.  Those that matter to you are all that matter – it really is that simple.
4. People who leave your life, leave for reasons, if you dont understand those reasons, accept it and move on – don’t waste valuable energy on trying to work it out.
5. Allow yourself to celebrate the small breakthroughs – inside your head.
6. Although instinctively risky, trust your instincts. If it feel right or wrong it probably is. Don’t paper over it, deal with it & enable yourself to move on.
7. Do sweat the small stuff – it adds up to big stuff.
8. If it helps, medication is a great way of supporting you, but it is only a temporary fix & you should always strive to support yourself.

Maybe I should write a blog dedicated to 1-7 describing the epiphany moment for each, I may well have done so already – work it out. Number 8, I’d struggle with, lack of memory plus alot of it wasnt real so where’s the learning in that?

There are all sorts of blogs out there at the moment, what to change in 2011; how to make it better; how great / bad 2010 was; resolutions; resolving to not have any resolutions; you get the idea. If you take one thing from my ramblings above – it is what it is, learn – onwards into 2011!