Sometimes, It Hurts.

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.

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This is how we roll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isla’s Mural

My best friend from Uni has been staying with us for the week.  She thinks she’s a physiotherapist, but she’s actually an artist.

This mural appeared on Isla’s wall in two and a half days.  Acrylic, emulsion, and magic.

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And Isla loves it.  Of course.

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Emma doesn’t have a website yet.  But I’ve decided she totally should.  So that’s pending.

Isla says thank you, Auntie Em!

Dear Competition Judges

I’m writing to explain why I did not submit my story for your esteemed competition.

It’s because I suck.  And because I have a toddler.  And because the story has only one line.

‘Whose idea was this?’

Well, mine.

And I was very excited about it.  Until the week I had to write the story was the one week my husband had to work in his city office.  Which meant he wasn’t here to ply me with White Russians until I fell asleep  wrote a complete story.

And did I mention we’re moving?  Yeah, that’s next week.  I’m sharing the home office with empty bookshelves, full boxes and a bedframe.

And we’re still waiting to hear about our mortgage.  Which is y’know, kinda important for the move.  I spent a bunch of time this week gathering proof of residence, because I’m still American.  Apparently.  I sent copies of my green card (I really have one.  It’s actually a stamp.)  And then there were copies of my tax returns.

And I still needed more proof.  Two years of proof.  And so, I suggested we send them a picture of Isla.

I unpacked some utility bills and copied about 40 pages of bank statements.  At the bank. Because who gets paper statements any more?  So I went to the bank and probably rambled on a bit too much, but thankfully the lady at the bank was really understanding. Or maybe it was that thing where customer service people aren’t supposed to call customers really fucking stupid.

At least to their face.

As the paper pile grew, so did my heartburn.  How was I going to scan all this?  And would I like an envelope?

I took my envelope and my kid and trudged to the library.  I scanned four of the 40 pages and hoped for the best.

Even with all this daytime stuff happening, I thought I would be able to write my story at night.  But did I also mention that Law & Order: SVU is really good?  And that there are 5 different episodes a night 34 different channels?

I forget about this stuff when Neil is home.  Because, well, we read a lot.

And then there was Storm Gertrude, the awkward little sister of Storm Jonas.  She rattled some windows and kept me awake.  Which was good.  I got the whole story in my head.   When I got up from two hours of sleep, my new story threads were as frayed as my nerves.

Other stuff is happening that isn’t my story to tell, but I’m having flashbacks to my Grandmother with Alzheimers breaking out of movies and into other people’s cars. Flashbacks to eggnog and bacon-grease and nice teeth and peach polyester not-so-much power-suits.

And how, farther back than all that, she was my best friend.  And I still miss her every day.  These are weird, if somehow appropriate, feelings to have in the midst of packing up to move into my first home, with my favourite husband and my favourite kid, all of which I wish she was here to enjoy.

So, apologies for not writing a comedy that includes a cooking show and a paramedic.  I tried.  But life happens.

And, full disclosure here, I haven’t written a piece of fiction since before Isla was born.

I look longingly at my notebooks and prompt books.

And then I blog.  It would seem that these words are safer.  But I’d like to shake things up again.

The competition entry fee was part of my Christmas present from Neil.  Yesterday, I did some crying while I paid him back.  He didn’t ask, I just felt like a fraud.

I’m even tearing up now.  I can write over six hundred words about not writing.  That’s a real skill.

I’m going to really try at the new house.  Maybe unpack some new characters.

Starting with 500 words a day.  Coffee essential, White Russians optional.

Will write harder,

Lorna

youshouldbewriting

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing Is Caring

And so.  Happy 18 months to my sweet, funny, already-geeky girl, Isla Madelyn.

This afternoon, I found myself sitting with a bag of ice on my foot.  The kid throws a mean sippy-cup.  And then she came up and stole a piece of ice for her teeth. Sharing is caring.

Here she is inspecting some of her Christmas haul.

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Complete with Christmas penguin deely-boopers.

And here she is decorating her Daddy’s beard.

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Hope you’ve all had a great few days, or months.

Here’s to more words in 2016.  Maybe even tomorrow.

Lorna xox

 

I Should Be Writing

And so, I’m sitting here in the kitchen. Today’s the first day out of the box for my computer, Truman Bubbles. If you look beyond the monitor, out the giant window, there’s trees. And thistle.

On our first morning here, last Monday, we were serenaded by sheep. We’re not in Edinburgh any more.

Isla’s been running up and down the hallway pushing her new walker thing. I’ve already removed the musical panel.

The TV is obscured by other boxes. However, I’ve only managed to finish one of the books I brought up with me for the first week here.

There’s been a lot of listening to music on my phone while parked between Isla and the boxes. I keep thinking I should be writing. When we were packing up the other place, I kept a notebook out, specifically for these days of flux. But I don’t know where it is now.

Neil’s been making trips with the moving van and drove up for good on Tuesday. He missed a midnight picnic and I missed him. I’ve also missed our coffee machine.

I’ve learned a few things about myself this past week.

1. I apologise way too much.

b. I can no longer drink instant coffee.

I won’t apologise for the coffee thing. See, this is me working on things.

In other news, when I find that notebook, I’m going to fill it up. I’m going to read through the books in my currently reading box. I’m going to have races with Isla down the hallway. She’ll always win, it’s a single-track road.

Last night, Neil and I went out to look at the stars. Because you can see them up here. When we spotted a shooting star, Neil said he made a wish.

I did, too.

What Will The Next 20 Minutes Bring?

In an attempt to revamp/reramp this blog, I’ll be participating in Writing 101. Hello!

This is my 20 minute free-write. Honest.

Isla is down for her afternoon power-nap. So I thought I’d write. 9 months ago, I thought I’d use her naps to write more often. In truth, she naps and I wait for her to wake up. Or I look at her. I look at her and wait for her to wake up. There is a lot of looking at her. I’m still not over that part.

The part where this amazing and beautiful, funny and strong-willed child came from me, by way of a seven hour first date, five and a bit years ago.

So yes, there’s a lot of looking at her. I think I actually marvel at her. Several times a day. She just takes my glasses off my face and laughs at me. Her way of saying, ‘Get over it, Ma.’ But I won’t. Ever.

Our days are now filled with lots of orange food and annoying toy jingles that I hear in my sleep. She waddles around in her walker, plays with the remote controls and pushes all her parents buttons. Already.

For the record, we don’t mind.

Before Neil goes to work, he makes me a coffee that goes really far back on the table, so Isla doesn’t get to it first. Becoming a mother has taught me to drink really fast. No more three-hour litres of coffee.

Isla is my caffeine. No, really. I’ve emerged from the new baby foggy fatigue. I think it’s because Isla gets bored every ten minutes she isn’t sleeping. She likes to listen to music while I wear her sunglasses. She likes to eat books.

I have more help around the house, but I like solo baby-wrangling, too. I put on an audio book for some hands-free reading. And I look at her.

Last week, while I was looking at her, she pointed at me and said ‘Mama!’

I might have marvelled again.

This happens a lot around here this days.  My kid!
This happens a lot around here these days. My kid!