School days shortcuts (homemade doesn’t always mean better)

My seven-year-old son (Crackernut) came running out of school this week and told me he needed to go to school dressed as an Iron Age man. Rather a random request – but I then realised it was their term topic (scoff, scoff, I should really be on top of this stuff right?).

Despite being in year three and knowing exactly what day his birthday or half term is, or when the next Wii game is out, he usually has no idea about dates and times – where it doesn’t really interest him. So something that has been told him half an hour before at school is quickly forgotten as he runs ahead home to watch TV. Selective memory!

His school isn’t too bad at giving notice, but this costume could be needed in the next couple of days, so I was relieved that this time they’d put a note in the bag as well as relying on our children to give us the full details. Thankfully, I have a whole week to sort it out (I can tell you’re already envious).

Crackernut said they were told they can’t wear a ready-made bought costume, I expect so the school isn’t forcing people to spend money and is encouraging the children to be creative. Fair enough, but we don’t all have boxes of material at home, and inevitably it’s the parents who have to be the creative ones!

Have you seen an Iron Age outfit? For boys it’s brown and cream or red clothes. Brown trousers and an oversized shirt with a belt, and a cape and boots. Here’s an idea…

Continue reading “School days shortcuts (homemade doesn’t always mean better)”

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Taking time out to heal

We needed some serious downtime! We last holidayed in August 2014 and had a mostly lovely time in the New Forest, interspersed by terrible guilt trips and the stomach aches that hit you when you feel to your bones that it’s all wrong.

But since then, life’s been, well, difficult. We endured the back to school strain of my second daughter starting secondary school and also reaching her twelfth birthday (the same transitions we saw with Abi only two years before). Abi’s 14th birthday, Christmas and New Year followed in quick, emotional succession and then, to top it all, the second anniversary of her death, after which we had to prepare to celebrate my rainbow baby’s first birthday. Loss and Life so closely entwined. A rollercoaster is an accurate description of the emotional journey these events took us on. We’ve felt burdened by the strain of our loss and trying to cope with normal pressures of family life. Continue reading “Taking time out to heal”

Back-to-school emotions

I love September. It’s a bit like my New Year. September is usually a lovely month weatherwise, I feel refreshed after the holidays and I’ve usually had a spring clean in readiness for the new school term.

But I’m deflated this year. Last year was different, odd. I was about three months pregnant and completely focused on that. The pregnancy hormones and tiredness kept me occupied.

This year, I have my healthy baby who brings laughter to our house daily. Yet this year my grief emotions are surfacing again for new reasons.

My second daughter left primary school in July and tomorrow will be her first day at secondary school, the same school Abi attended for just six months before she died.

I remember us taking photos of her. That ‘first day’ photo. I have to do this again, see my daughter dressed up ready to start this big new stage in her life, just as Abi was.

Abi was so excited about growing up. She was awake early every morning for school, had everything ready. She spent months choosing her school bag, and deciding how to wear her hair. My other daughter hasn’t gone near any of her school stuff. She’s not interested in her bag or how she will look. She’s not looking forward to it one bit. Abi headed off to meet her friends an hour early! My other daughter wants me to walk with her. While she’s very mature for her age, she’s emotionally more attached to home and me, and her anxiety holds her back. I believe, though, that secondary school will be the making of her.

My stomach will be in knots for her and for the loss of Abi for some time to come, as she walks the path that Abi took for just six months… and when that time is surpassed, perhaps it will get easier for me as the experiences will be ones that Abi never got to live… It’s just another mountain to climb on this journey through grief.

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Abi on her first day at secondary school

Summer term and the grieving mum

Another summer term is in full swing. Our second without Abi. So, how is it for a bereaved mum at this time of year?

Last year was a fog. We were fumbling through, trying to stay above water, keeping things ‘normal’ for our other children in the sense of their school routines, dragging ourselves along to plays and sports day, everything merged into one long ordeal. Abi had been dead just four months.

Continue reading “Summer term and the grieving mum”