Abstract Sandwiches

On Tuesday, when I picked Isla up from nursery, she hugged my lap as she sometimes does.

‘I MISSED you, Mummy.’

‘Really?’ I asked.  She’s a Daddy’s girl, see.  I am obviously still questioning every bit of affection she doles out.  To me.

‘Yeah,’ she said

‘Did someone pay you to say that?’

‘Uhm.  No.’

When I’m happy, my eyes kinda crinkle up until you can’t see them.  Like Isla’s.  Because, y’know, I’m her mother.

I did a little dance in the carpark, my day made at one o’clock.

‘Mummy funny,’ she laughs.

Yeah, I s’pose I am, a bit.

Isla’s funny, too.  She has my eye crinkle and my sarcasm.

Yesterday, she was loaded with big foam puzzle pieces.  Her arms were so full she was just a stripey sweater on legs.

‘I LOVE you,’ I tell her.  ‘Where did you come from?’

She cranes her neck and looks at me sideways.  It is my own incredulous face looking back at me.

‘From my bedroom,’ she says.

True enough.

I did the pee-pee laugh with that one.  Also true.

Since Isla’s started nursery, I’ve been doing some thinking.  I’ve also been doing some Math, mostly at 4AM.  Mayhaps, more about that later. For now, I will say this: Don’t do Math at 4AM.

Anyway.  This is what I’ve been thinking.  Since Isla started doing things.  Outside the house.  Without me.

This is how life goes.  I’m proud of her.  I’m allowed to miss her.  We need to keep going. And I’m so fucking proud of her.

I’ve been thinking that getting help to do things makes me no less of a mother.  Because I’m the one who misses her when she’s at school.  And also when she’s asleep.

It doesn’t matter that sometimes, I can’t lift her onto the toilet. Because I’m the one who claps when she pees on it.

I’m (one of) the people who reads to her at night. And in the afternoon. She sits on my lap, in my chair. And I can still find that place on her neck that I’ve loved since before she was born.

And sometimes, still, she falls asleep on me.

We wake up two mornings a week, and I make her lunch. Her sandwiches have holes in them, because I have very few knife skills. I don’t care. She eats her lunch.

I might squirt mayo hearts on the bread.

I send her out and she comes home and hands me her empty lunch box. And sometimes her boogers.

She makes me a coffeeshop and a dragon out of blocks.

She goes into the fridge and gets a snack. I tell her not to ruin her dinner.

And she gives me that sideways glance. The one she gets from me.

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Kinda like this.  Isla isn’t sure about empty envelopes.

Day One, Again

I’d lost track of how long I’ve been at this blogging thing.  But WordPress told me last week.  I’ve been writing at Gin & Lemonade for six years.

Well.

That makes me want to apologise that my last post before this was a muddy puddle.  But I won’t, because y’know, cute kid.

Someone asked me recently how I was doing.

‘Yeah, she’s two.’

‘I know,’ said my friend, in Edinburgh, on the phone, in a building where I used to work.  ‘But I asked about you.’

‘Oh.’ Actual-ha-ha-dry-laugh.  ‘Ehm.  ‘How ’bout you go first?’ I said.

Because I don’t know how I am.  But I’m trying to find out again.

Our very big medium-sized house in the country is set on sloping gravel that we’re getting paved.  The first step in that process was widening the front door and ramping over the front steps.  That happened over two very noisy days last week.

We took Isla to Inverness for the weekend, on a trip that included getting stuck behind some elk at the safari park, catching Pokemon and Finding Dory.

And came back to a finished ramp into the house.

I know, I went very quickly from ‘me’ to ‘we’ again.  But my point is this.  I plan to use the ramp to get out more.  Yes, I’m looking forward to racing Isla all around the house, but maybe I’ll go further and take a class somewhere, and go for coffee more often, take the camera places.  Fill up some new notebooks.

I have been out of the house before this, but the spontaneity and heart is taken out of it when your husband breaks his toe on the ‘portable’ ramps (one track for each wheel) that the OT department gave you.  (Thanks, but no thanks, but thanks?)

And so, new ramp, new me?  Not quite.  Because I like me.  But I’d like to do more of the stuff I like: writing, working, blogging, laughing, finishing coffee, talking to people who aren’t two. Maybe working outside this house.  And yes, making sure Isla eats and sleeps and learns and laughs.  Because when she does all of those things it’s like I’m doing those things.

But more ‘me’ things on the list, I think.

And so, hello. How are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line By Line

If we were having coffee, we’d be hiding in the kitchen while Isla counts the balls in her ball pit and Neil plays the shit out of Isla’s toy guitar.

You’d be convincing me that I can write a mystery on a wharf including a dog collar for NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge.  While I do feel better about this assignment  than the Short Story Challenge, it would seem that the only story elements I can work with these days are:

Coffee

Peppa Pig

and

Angst.

Isla just wandered into the kitchen, opened the fridge and took out a yogurt.  She grows a year older every night.  Today, she is a teenager shuffling around the house and raiding the kitchen.

Pass me the tissues.

So, the TV is on in the backgroud.  Neil has traded the guitar for turning on the washing machine.

Yes, I know I’m lucky.  I’m lucky my husband does things around the house, I’m lucky my child does her own thing, even if that thing changes every five minutes.  And the things don’t stop until she zonks out at 8.30pm.

I’m lucky we live in the country.  With the peace and quiet.  And the sheep.

I’m lucky to have people come into my house every day to help me wrangle my very active child.  I’m lucky she goes for walks and brings me back flowers.  I’m really lucky if she gives me a kiss with those flowers.

I live for those kisses.

But I’m lucky Isla isn’t clingy.  I’m lucky she likes people who aren’t me.  I’m lucky I’m the one who cries when she leaves the house.  I’m lucky I’m the one who needs hugs.  I’m lucky she likes to read.  To herself.

I’m lucky we have all these friends to visit in other places.  I’m lucky shopping and coffee and looking at those friends has become a treat.  Because y’know, seeing your friends all the time can be really fucking boring.

I’m lucky that Neil is taking Isla out for awhile, so ‘Mummy can write.’

Before they left, Isla brought me some paper.  Apparently, she’ll kiss me if there’s words on it when they get back.

youshouldbewriting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Need A Break From My Phone

Hello,

I’m looking to take photos without my phone and need suggestions on digital SLR cameras.  Want to learn and do more with my photography.

Camera must be chunky for my spaz hands.  And I could use auto-stabilise.  And point-and-click.  Any thoughts?

Will mainly be used for toddlers in the wild.  And for epic scenery.

Thanks in advance.  Longer posts coming soon.

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More of this.

 

 

And So, To Start. Again.

I’ve decided I’m still a writer.  I need to write more, but I’m still a writer.

I have lots of notebooks.  Some are even full.

I also have a husband whose nicknames don’t stick, and a daughter who has too many.

I have CP and a sporty wheelchair which I love, even if my post-baby hips are too big for it these days.

I don’t know where I’m from.  New York, by way of Dallas and the Highlands.  And Glasgow.  And then Edinburgh.  And so, I’m from everywhere.  And nowhere.

My work (and life) background is in equalities  and social justice, with corporate writing and editing thrown in.  These days, I make a game out of cleaning up Cheerios and answering fake phones.  I miss working, but the coffee is better at home.

When I started this blog, Neil and I lived in Edinburgh, read a lot of books and drank a lot of beer.

I proposed to him and we got married in Docs.

Then I thought I had the flu, and Zerbert became Isla.

The three of us have moved to Skye and we move into our new house next month.

And so, if you want to read a blog about a married, disabled, expatish mother who should be writing, then this is that blog.  And I’ll be writing it.

Hello.  Again.

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Isla and me.  Scenery was happening.

 

Guest Post: Stop and Go

Guest post by Susan from Adventures in Low Vision

After work, I ride the bus to my husband’s office. I enjoy the camaraderie of a shared ride in rush hour despite the lack of air conditioning in the summer. I like the arrivals and departures, sensing the mood of the day in my twenty-minute travel.

As I boarded the bus last week, I passed my fare card over the sensor, greeting the driver. I tap to the middle of the bus where two vacant seats welcome my weary self.

Sure, I could settle in the area in the front of the bus for people with disabilities, but at my stop, students hop on from a college. It’s easier for me to exit via the rear door. Typically, I breeze out the door before any students deposit money into the silver farebox.

The ride, it starts well. I zone out for 15 minutes, anticipating the hard left that happens before my block. My body shifts with the turn, and I pull the cord to request my stop.

The bus slows up. Students step on as I stand to collect my bag and white cane. I glide over to the rear exit, pushing on the bright yellow handle that even my eyes see clearly. The door burps open a space, then freezes. I push again, but the door just absorbs it, refusing to move.

“It’s a push, right?” I say to the lady sitting across from me. I think she nods. I push again without success. I turn as the driver releases the brake. The bus starts rolling.

I am missing my stop because I don’t go to the gym. I open my mouth. Before I can say anything, the lady near me hollers with control, “Back door.”

We yell it together once more. The driver hits the brakes. I shoot a grateful smile to my fellow passenger as I throw my shoulder into the door. It flies open, offering me exit. I step down to the sidewalk with relief, knowing next time I’ll have to hulk it on that door.

I love it when my upper arm strength is the issue, not my dodgy vision. There’s never a dull moment on the bus.