Posted in Emotions

Friendships

I was thinking today about the things in life we may take for granted and to be honest the list is quite long, but I’ve settled on friends. I don’t mean that we take for granted our friendships but the fact we have them at all.

I for one always thought that I struggled to make friends but then I look around me and back at the past. I may not have a large group of friends, but I have a really good selection. I know if I picked up the phone and called one of them for anything that they would be there and that’s something that some people don’t have. My forever friends aren’t all from the same pats of my life but rather from different times, which shows just how true they are. True friends don’t stay with you because you do the same things or know the same people. They stay because it feels right.

I remember being younger and playing with friends in primary school, partaking in every craze going, Pokémon, yo-yos, crazy bones, and everything else our parents probably hated. We ran around in our summer dresses pretending to be the spice girls whilst obsessively collecting their collectable photos for the album.

Why could I Not do the peace sign?
(Far Left)

I remember growing up down a little cul-de-sac and all the kids were of similar ages, I suppose that’s the advantage of moving into a new build area. Everyone buys their first homes and starts families, I guess. We played out from the moment someone knocked on our door and asked our parents if we were allowed, we didn’t leave the cul-de-sac and came home when the streetlights came on. We spent hours with our dollies pretending we were parents and hours with our craft sets playing at being teachers. Summers spent on the playing field at the top of the street building forts and treehouses, not letting the boys play with our girl gang and Barbies, hundred of Barbies with missing shoes and as we got into our teenage and stopped playing out, we would still come together like friends and neighbours do.

Apparently I was immune to the cold weather.
(Third from the left)

As a teenager, I remember hanging around in my local park or friends back gardens whose parents were more laid back than mine. We would drink awful cheap cider and acted like mini adults. We partied, we drank, we smoked and stayed up late talking about absolute rubbish, thinking we were older than we were and worried about problems that seemed huge at the time but minuscule now.

Obviously there was some very poor quality cameras on the go back then.
(Third from the left)

As an early adult, like most do we drank, we partied and went out three or four nights a week, fuck paying the bills and being on time for work when we can have fun. We were stupid and immature and thought that because we were of adult age we could look after ourselves, but we were wrong. We weren’t ready for the things that life threw at us and we suffered for it.

Macys next to the portland hotel… 2 for 1 drinks to start the night.
(Back right)

We flicked between friend groups and changed our interests to fit in, as someone who doesn’t drive (I am learning… slowly all these years later) would you ever think I belong to a car club? No? well I did. We drove around for hours every night. Parked up in car parks and down quiet streets and probably irritated all the local residents, we camped out in little Ford Kas and Corsa’s and went to rallies and shows. We worked on cars in driveways, kitchens and anywhere you could. I knew what engines were in what cars, despite what insurance certificates said. If we look at youngsters driving now, they’re all driving financed new cars. Where is the pride of building up your own clapped-out banger and adding a spoiler?

Donnington show, free cans of Monster were thrown at us from a monster truck
(Next to the guy in the daft black hat on the left)

As time went on, I grew more responsible and got my own place, focused more at work but still partied on the weekends. Slipping into new friend groups with ease. We spent weekends partying at the beach camping and drinking, listening to live bands, we swam in the dirty ocean without worrying about disease and would stay up hours chatting about life and what we want in the future unaware that we were already living our futures as we partied.

P on the Beach
(Far left)

And then all of a sudden, we are full on adults, proper homes, proper jobs, responsibilities, beautiful children, marriages, divorces, and challenges that we fight and battle every day. We can come together when we all have time but it’s so difficult to schedule anything, but it doesn’t matter. We have different friends with different interest. Some will go to harry potter quiz night, some will come to your house for a cup of tea to sit and put the world to right, some will dye your hair, some you won’t see in months or even years but when you finally do it’s like you have never been apart.

Celebrating my birthday
(Far right)

My point of this is to say that over the years I have had many friend groups and found it relatively easy. Some came from location, some from work, some from circumstance but it was easy but what if it wasn’t? I look at William who is always alone, it doesn’t seem to bother him, but I wonder if he knows he doesn’t have friends, I wonder if it’s something he wants but he doesn’t know how to get it.  Does he see children playing together and want it but it’s too hard for him? Or is it just something I want for him? I think about the children in his class and how they can interact with each other, and I want that for William. I want him to experience friendships, even the ones that crash and burn, the ones that you realise are one sided and the ones you will remember and cherish forever.

For now, William is happy on his own or at least I think he is. He’s so inside his own head and I would give up everything I have just to know what he is thinking. Is his inner voice as cute as the fleeting moments I’ve heard his real voice? Does his inner voice feel trapped within his disabilities? He forms connections with adults easily, I mean let be serious we have all seen him and Big Nan and that’s love and kinship, so he is capable, does he maybe just not like other children? Do they not engage with him in the way he likes or understands? Is that why he ignores them?

Boys best friend?

I look at this picture and he loves his dog, and Rusty loves him but is it enough? I will always be William’s mom; his advocate and I would like to think I will always be his best friend, but I do want more for him. I want what I had? What most people had?
William’s dad and I have booked his first proper birthday party for next year and we will be inviting his whole class which I am very much looking forward to, but I have this feeling that William won’t notice if his classmates are there or not. He will be more focused on Big Nan, his dad and his partner or me and Liam. I guess until we try these things, we just don’t know but I want him to have a friend. I want playdates and sleepovers and I guess in a way I want him to want that too.

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Posted in autism and covid19, Emotions

There is an App for that…

Is it just me or is being a mom lonely? Is being a mom to a child with special needs even more lonely? Is being a single mom lonely? Or are we all just lonely and on our own different journeys?

At the time I wrote this post (or the scribbles that eventually become a post) in my trusty little blue notebook, I think it may have been the beginning of last year and then I’ve wrote some recently because some of it as usual makes no sense but at one point, I wrote a little list about things that occupy my mind when I can’t sleep which aren’t really valid now.

  • When did someone last hug me?
  • When did William last see so and so? Will he remember them?
  • When can I go somewhere without a lateral flow and PPE?
  • Will I ever need to get fully dressed for work again? (Jokes… I’m on camera 🎥)

I have the answers to all these now but obviously when I wrote them, the tear splashes on the page indicate how upset I was. Especially since number one was about hugs 🤣 and I am notoriously not a hugger. The 2m rule was a huge bonus for me!

 I’m not sure if its Covid and its many strands and the scare mongering that comes with it, but I seem to have become a little very reclusive despite restrictions being lifted. I find reasons not to do things or subconsciously put obstacles in the way.

Covid genuinely frightens me, I was first in line for the vaccines and the subsequent booster. ‘Yes please, inject me with that 5g tracker’ 🤣 each to their own and no judgement for those that have chosen not to but personally I believe that if you haven’t lost someone in the pandemic then you maybe don’t understand its devastating effects and that you are lucky, if in fact anyone can be lucky in such uncertain times. I question if this uncertainty will ever end, if covid will ever fully go away or we can just live with it, but my internal pessimist doesn’t think it will. This is our new normal and not to misquote Shane Meadows but This is England 22! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Every keeps talking about not been able to hide away forever and not been able to live with restrictions but I seem to be quite content being locked away in my home but I don’t think that’s a good thing, it’s a bit like I have Stockholm syndrome but to myself 🤪 Don’t get me wrong, I leave the house and see people and do social things but not like I used to, maybe its because I work from home and socialisation takes much more effort now, whereas before it was as simple as walking across the road from work and having a cheeky pint and a carvery. Maybe its because I’m a single co-parent now so I can’t just do things at the drop of a hat, it must fit in with work and William’s visitation with his dad and can require military preparation whether it is with or without William.

Everything can so easily be done over the phone or a computer now, what’s happening in the world? You can find out on your phone. What boxset should I binge watch now? Ask Google or check the Netflix rankings. Missing friends or family? Video calls via Facebook or WhatsApp. Need to work from home? There’s Microsoft Teams or Zoom for that. Doctors’ appointments? There’s an app for that (which is much quicker at giving appointments than my actual doctor) Meetings for William? All done remotely. Except for seeing Big Nanna, I would walk through a plague of Zombies for that! 🧟‍♀️

I’m not saying I never leave the house as I obviously do but its so easy not to. Everything is online now, I even met my boyfriend L on Tinder, highly recommended. Him (most the time 🤣) not the actual app, the app is like a meat market but more for fish, catfish that is… it passed some time during lockdown before restrictions were lifted and it was entertaining even though I lost all faith in humanity, some people seemed normal and then BAM! Flat earthers, criminal records, married men, women pretending to be men, couples looking for a third??? And that’s only a small fraction of the people I spoke to. What the actual fuck! I was on the verge of giving in when L messaged me. He seemed so normal, but my replies were terrible as I was expecting him to be a mental case or to try and convert me to scientology or something, how we formed a relationship, I will never know 🤷‍♀️ I think I would give the app about a 2.5 out of 10 but that’s purely down to L💕 don’t even get me started on POF or the mommy friends site peanut 🙄

I guess I bring on some of the loneliness myself, whether its social anxiety, pandemic panic or just laziness. Let’s face it I have explained previously about some of my anxieties around playdates and the like. I love my own company and I very rarely argue with myself 🤣

I was never really a visitor; I prefer people to come to me but then also freak out about people coming in my house and finding things to judge me on.

This is probably the worst analogy ever, but Covid is a little like those adverts you used to see on late night Channel 4 before Eurotrash aired… the ones about sexually transmitted disease.
You’ve slept with Anna, she has slept with John, Jamie, Jack and Steve, therefore you have slept with them too. You kind of have to think that like when it comes to contact with people who’ve had Covid… If I’m seeing so and so for a coffee then I must think about who that person has seen before me and where they have been and so on, its never ending and exhausting 🥱 having your mind working that hard when it already feels maxed out navigating day to day life is simply not possible.

I’m not really sure what the point to this little rant was, I’m lonely, I’m not lonely, there’s an app for everything and Covid is the new STI 🤷🏼‍♀️

Much love 😘 M. x

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Posted in Emotions

Panic! at the play date

I have come to realise that I’m a bit of an introvert, it sounds silly as I come on here and share so much information but in real life I shy away from people, I avoid activities and places that I am uncomfortable with, and I want to keep myself away from people who may judge me as a mother or William as a child. I am now at the point in which I don’t know if what I am doing is to protect myself or him. I want to tell you about my irrational fear of playdates…

I went on a playdate once, I mean there has been more than one over the years considering we have one every week minimum but this one is the most memorable, it much have been well over 2 years ago and I must say it was one of the most horrendous moments of my life.

William was definitely under the age of two as it wasn’t until his two-year check-up that I started to accept his potential problems.

Soft play! What kid doesn’t love soft play? My kid; that’s who!

I went with two friends from work who had both had their children around 5 months after I had William, please bear in mind that these two women, were women I felt comfortable with and had spent a lot of time with over the years, but I was dreading it, I remember being stood at the bus stop feeling so sick that I almost cancelled. I had already started noticing the stark differences between my child and children of his age and being around them and trying to sugar coat and deny Williams delays in development was exhausting and the more I had to do it, the less I was convincing myself.

Their children were beautiful but that wasn’t what bothered me, what bothered me was that they were so agile on their feet, they climbed and played independently, they communicated not only with each other but with their moms too whereas William just clung to me crying. He was barely walking independently and struggled to communicate non-verbally let alone with words.

The date didn’t end with soft play, we went for lunch. Their children played and independently ate and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. William refused to eat and remained silent.

I felt like a failure, what had I done so that my child wasn’t like theirs? Was I not loving him enough? Was it because I was working and wasn’t with him all the time?

I didn’t reach out for another play date.
Was that wrong of me? I truly don’t know. I don’t actively seek out play dates with anyone, but sometimes they just happen.

We have play dates once a week with the same child and they go really well but they are often in the comfort of our home, William has familiar surroundings and can easily access his safe place. We have had a few outside the home and some have been great and others not so much, but it all depends on how William handles the situation or environment. We went into our local park once and it is truly beautiful in there, I don’t think I appreciate it enough since its on my doorstep but on this day it was busy, it was a half term of some sort and William was struggling, he wouldn’t walk and I didn’t have the stroller since we are still waiting his referral and he kept laying on the floor to the point I was peeling him off it like day old gum. Teens laughed at him and I felt myself getting more upset, William continued to shutdown… It was not a good play date, but we continue to have them, maybe it’s because I understand William more now than I did back then, I just don’t know. I don’t know why these playdates don’t bring on anxiety and sickness, but others do. Maybe it’s the unknown 🤷‍♀️

I guess I need to put myself and William out there more, but I don’t know if it is what is best, William doesn’t engage with other children at nursery so am I being unrealistic in trying to get him to engage with other children on his days off, is it fair on him? But then am I just saying that because the memory of how bad of a mother I felt back then is impacting my decisions now?

How silly is it that something so simple as meeting other parents and kids can make me feel so anxious that I am physically sick? How do I get passed this? Do I even need to?

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