And so, after painting all the pictures and doing all the puzzles, Isla and I went out.
We’ve paved around the house so we can have races and stuff, so there’s that. But we live on a hill.
‘Go over the stones and roll down the hill with me, Mummy.’
‘I can’t, baby. I wouldn’t get back up.’
‘Please, Mummy. Just try.’
Which is what we ask her to do.
So, I tried.
And my heart broke a little. Because Isla said, ‘That’s awight, Mummy. I’ll play on my own.’ And she did. And I angled away for a bit so she wouldn’t see me cry. Because she’s seen it before. Not a lot. And yet.
You can be the biggest advocate, with the filthiest sense of humour. You can shout for a living and then come home and just live.
But sometimes, CP hurts.
When strangers think Isla is my much younger sister, and she wants me to run down hills and get on the other end of a see-saw. That’s when it hurts.
Then you come in and you burst. But then you go on. Because there are trains to play with. And a nearly three year-old face to memorise.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.