Lost and found


So it’s true, then.

Time really does accelerate as you enter the latter decades of your life. Standing here, on the other side of grief and trauma, I’m sucked deeper and faster into the mundane: a relentless flush down a very slick s-bend.  Continue reading


When all you’re left with is alone

One lonely robot. (c) Married to an Alcoholic

One lonely robot. (c) Married to an Alcoholic

It’s 5am. In the past three hours, I’ve reached over three times trying to find her little toes. Because by this time, she’s padded over the landing and crept into my bed because she’s scared.

And each time I reach over, I remember she’s not here. Continue reading

“I don’t want a new mummy”

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK. (c) Millennium Images/Superstock

One night, lying in bed, saying goodnight to Rosie. Ben is there, too. We’re all squashed in, listening to a recording of Alan Bennett reading Winnie the Pooh, when Rosie says: “What happens if you get married again, Daddy?” Continue reading


source: doorswithinmyheart.blogspot.com

So, as you know, my dad is visiting. Well, I say visiting, but I’ve seen him twice since he arrived about two weeks ago. I know he’s not here to see us – we’re incidental. He’s here to see his sister (my aunt). I don’t begrudge him that. It’s not like he’d ever come here just to see us, anyway.  Continue reading

Happy birthday, Rosie


Yes, I made this. Beneath all that confection lurks a jam and cream-filled Victoria sponge.

Rosie turned five today – her first birthday with a sober dad. We celebrated at a pottery painting cafe in Muswell Hill with nine of her friends. My mum was there, too, all the way from Canada.

Me being me, I was tense throughout, though I managed to chat to a few parents here and there, and survey the children, hoping none of them would break free from the work table and send a shelf-load of unpainted pottery crashing to the floor (they didn’t). Continue reading

Inheritance of loss

These are the things our parents give us (and that we, in turn, bequeath to our children). There are the deliberate gestures – the passing on of certain attitudes and behaviours:

  • no shoes in the house
  • a love of good cheese and chocolate
  • an appreciation of literature and classical music
  • frugality that morphs into a penchant for recycling
  • disdain for flashiness and the pursuit of financial gain at all costs
  • the pursuit of education at all costs
  • a deep sense of justice and fairness
  • a secret love of meringues

And then there are the accidental loans  – the unconscious drip-drip of patterns and behaviours that leak out despite (or in the absence of) the best intentions: Continue reading

Mad and bloated

Ugh, will my rage never end? Today I hate myself. I am not a good person. When my hormones are raging like this, anyone (read: Rosie – poor thing) is in for it, whatever s/he does.

  • Let a chocolate bar wrapper be whipped away in the wind? – Immediate telling off for lack of civic pride
  • Fail to use soap while washing hands? – Stern imperatives coupled with prophecies of doom (where doom = worms and/or Norovirus)
  • Lost school jumper? – Guilt-trip in which price of lost article is repeated a minimum of 15 times, followed by promises that a replacement will not be forthcoming.
  • Half-eaten lunch? – Protracted moaning about feeling unappreciated plus prophecies of doom (where doom = rickets)

Oh yes, I am a bad, bad person. My volume is at one setting (the one where my throat feels hoarse by the end of the day), and the fact of my corporeal self – my physical self – fills me with loathing. There is simply too much of me. And to make matters worse, I keep eating, so that there is even more of me to despise.

Rosie has every right to batter me every now and then, because when I turn into this thing – this person who only (in her words) uses her ‘shouty’ voice to talk to her, well, that thing deserves a boot to the bum.

It’s times like these when I think that certain tribes had it right after all. I do need to be sent away around this time of the month. I should have a respite somewhere, far away from other people. That way, we’ll all be safe, especially Rosie. Except that ‘this time of the month’ inevitably lasts about two weeks, so that’s not feasible, is it?

By the way, a couple of days after my last post, Rosie and I were laid low by suspected food poisoning. Poor kid just lay on the sofa watching telly while I was comatose on the couch next to her. Every few hours I heard her say, “Mummy? Can I have something to eat?” To which I would answer: “Yes, darling,” and then promptly fall asleep. This went on the whole day. Thankfully, she only threw up when I was conscious. At some point, Ben texted me and discovered we were ill, whereupon he said he would come over to help… then turned up about five hours later. You know, when I was feeling a bit better and the urgency had passed. “Why didn’t you ask me earlier?” he said.

Anyway, to his credit, when he did come back to visit again, he helped out a lot – cooking, cleaning, doing laundry. He even woke up on Monday morning and helped Rosie through the dressing phase. That’s about all he can manage, but it’s a big help anyway (even if I have to remind him to do it).

Whatever it is, he is helpful from time to time. Today would have been a day for me to take a back seat and for him, had he been here, to take the lead. When I’m feeling like this – like I could drop kick a tornado – the back seat (preferably in a car going full speed in the other direction) is the only place to be. I don’t have that luxury though. So here I am, driving from that impossible position, and getting more and more pis@ed off.