Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Sexual fantasies and rules for the 8th day.

I was out running with a male friend of mine the other day.  I have to confess that during our runs, we do talk a lot of sh*t.  But it makes us both laugh, and keeps us going the extra mile.

Anyway, earlier this week, the subject of my sex life came up… as is often the case these days.  It seems that married people are desperate to know whether us ‘single women’ are getting more or less action than they are!  

And so the conversation progressed to the idea of an 8th Day.  An extra day in the week, when none of the usual rules of social conduct apply. 

Imagine that on this day you could do whatever you like, with whomever you like, no holds barred and no ramifications when you get back to the seven day week.  Sounds cool, right?

Well, it does to begin with.  But then we decide that there actually had to be some rules.  The rules about how we would interact with people when we went back to the seven day week.

What if we had an attraction to someone’s other half?  What if, on this 8th day, we did something about it.  How would we face that ‘someone’ having had a bit of ‘you know what’ with their other half?  Or if, like my running partner, you were married, would you not feel some guilt?

Under the rules of this 8th day, there is no way of getting round the fact that we would have to remember what we’d done, and live with it. 

So, when push comes to shove, would any of us really want it?  Say for example that on our 8th day we met someone who moved us to cosmic ecstasy (credit to @OutsideToilet for that phrase), how would we feel when, for the rest of the week, we had to go back to our humdrum lives?  Would it not just make us question whether we were ‘happy’?  Despite knowing that this ‘cosmic ecstasy’ was only possible because of it being the 8th day, owing to never having to argue over whose turn it is to make supper, empty the dishwasher, or take the bins out. 

Surely what makes a successful relationship ‘successful’, is the ability to share. To share intimacy for one, but also the small kindnesses in life. 

The fantasy of our 8th day ‘person’ would be somewhat diminished if we saw them the following morning, hair dishevelled, looking hung over, and not taking the bin out… even though it was their turn.

What makes people ultimately happy, is not the candle lit dinners, or weekends away, but the combination of these things and the sharing of life’s ‘crap’.  Making us feel that the burden is not on our shoulders alone.  Being able to laugh at the stupid things that go wrong.  And by seeing just how weakly human another person is, feeling more comfortable with our own weaknesses.

The 8th day is a great fantasy.  And having the lucid imagination that I have, it’s fun to discuss. But the grass is rarely greener.

Ultimate happiness lies in accepting the humdrum world and finding someone to enjoy sharing it with.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Cutting the apron strings…

This weekend has been a weird one for me.  The kids were due to be with their Dad, so it shouldn’t have felt so odd….  But it did.

My eldest went away on a four-day school trip.  It’s the first time that he has gone abroad without either parent.  He wasn’t allowed any electrical devices – which meant he couldn’t take a phone.  So he can’t contact me if he feels homesick.  And I have no way of calling him, you know, just to check everything’s OK. 

The honest truth is, I know he will be having an absolute blast.  The school is so slick at organizing these trips, and my son himself is a very sensible child, so I have no concern for his safety. 

What’s more, two of his best friends, who are also sensible kids, are on the same trip.  I can only imagine that they will be going to bed and talking all night.  Then up early to do their activities.  By the time they return they will be exhausted and frazzled.  And knowing my child, as I do, I am expecting him to return tired and grumpy!

But when I dropped him off at the school bus on Friday morning, with his rucksack on his back, it really hit home that my little boy is not really a little boy any more.  He is a teenager in the making, with an attitude to go with it!

My job may not yet be done, but I can feel the early signs of being ‘phased out’!

Friends of mine have commented that it’s wonderful for a boy of his age to go on such an exciting trip.  And they’ve all said how good it is for his independence and maturity.

I agree wholeheartedly.  But there is another issue…

As a mother, we have to learn to let go.  We have to learn that we will, eventually, be phased out.  And of course, this is natural progress.  I am aware that now my children are slightly older, I have become less tolerant of screaming toddlers.  And I’m sure, in time, I will be ready for my kids to become young adults.

The thing is, before I get to that stage, I’d really like to just ‘freeze frame’ them for a couple of years.  Because these really are the magical years.  Old enough to be a little bit independent, but no so old that they won’t let their mother kiss them goodnight, or climb into bed on a Saturday morning. 

And so, when my pre-teeny son arrives home tomorrow, tired and grumpy, I will give him a big hug, listen to all his stories and savour the moment.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Having sex on a first date… the ramifications…

Having sex on a first date… the ramifications…

When I posted recently on the subject of having sex on a first date, I mentioned two male friends of mine who had taken a different approach to their new dates.

Whilst one of these friends has taken a steady gentle approach, the other went for a speedier one.

And this post is about ‘the speedy one’.

As it happens, things got off to a fast start for James.  And by week two, there was some action going on.  But before I tell you more, I need to rewind a little bit, to give you the background.

Only weeks ago, James had been ticking along happily in his ‘single, but looking for a girlfriend’ lifestyle.  He had a female lodger, herself on ‘the hunt’ for a boyfriend and life was very straightforward.

Then, out of the blue, he received a phone call from his ex-girlfriend, who is the mother of his daughter.  She was calling because she was in a very difficult domestic situation with her current boyfriend and she desperately needed sanctuary.

Given the circumstances of her leaving James (unceremoniously, and barring him from seeing his daughter), he was faced with a real conundrum.  He was desperate to see his little girl and didn’t want her to be in a ‘difficult’ situation, but his feelings towards his ex-girlfriend were hardly ‘warm’.

Ultimately, he felt he had no choice but let them come and stay with him.  So they moved in.  Somewhat predictably, the ex-girlfriend managed to start irritating him as soon as she arrived.  Acting like it was ‘her’ house, she suggested that the lodger should move to a smaller room, so that she could have the big one… and so it went on.

And whilst all this was happening, James had met his neighbour’s sister, who he had taken a shine to.

Having taken this new woman out on a couple of dates, he decided to invite her round for a seduction dinner.  The scene was set, the lights were dimmed, and the ex-girlfriend had been dispatched elsewhere for the evening.

The seduction dinner went according to plan and another date was arranged.  During the course of this next evening, having already decided that this girl is probably not going to be a long term option, James found the conversation taking a few twists and turns.  Despite having explained the situation with his ex and daughter, this woman seemed unduly quizzical. She then started to cross-examine him about his impending birthday trip to Vegas. 

Heck – the trip was arranged way before she came onto the scene, the girlfriend / daughter situation had been explained… but as I said in that last post… she had already jumped to the ‘next stage’ and was acting like an established girlfriend would.  This was already putting James off.  He disliked being cross-examined and questioned about previously arranged birthday plans.  Personally, I can’t say I blame him for being irritated.

The following evening, James got home late, to discover his ex and the new woman sitting in his kitchen gossiping!

He was furious.  The explanation from the woman that she had ‘come round to pick up her phone, which she left behind’, just didn’t wash.  He lost the plot and told them that he was going to have a shower, and when he got back, they’d both better be gone.

He felt like he was being stalked.  Checked up on.  Investigated.  And all by someone he’d only just met, who he didn’t really know yet…

But they’d had sex…. And there’s the thing.  Women do, often, psychologically jump ahead and expect more than the man does. 

Maybe, if this woman had taken things a bit slower, she would not have felt threatened by the ex and the trip to Vegas, and would not have been tempted to sneak round and investigate, when she knew he wasn’t there.

What she achieved was an unceremonious ‘dumping’.

So who’s to blame?  And who says that a man can just have what he wants without there being complications…

You’ll have to answer that one for yourselves…

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

John Lewis's Christmas advert…

OK – I’ve been resisting this for at least a week.  I was teased into watching the John Lewis ad when I heard the presenter on my favourite radio station talking about it.  When I got home from the school run that morning, I gave in and looked it up on YouTube.

As sweet as the advert may be, it didn’t actually make me cry.  But what has made me really mad is all the sh*t that’s been written on the BBC website about it.

Now, here’s the thing.

It’s an advert.  It is designed to attract as much publicity as possible, so that (hopefully) more people will go to John Lewis when they are doing their Christmas shopping. 

Adverts are designed to create/heighten awareness of a product/ service/whatever and leave the viewer with a positive impression of it.

They’ve been around for years.  So what’s the big deal?

Well, from what’s been written on the BBC site, the great issue everyone seems to have is whether or not it is accurate to portray a child having such a generous spirit at Christmas time.

The negative commentators suggest that the positive commentators have never actually encountered a child.  As all children (according to them) are entirely selfish.


Now that’s what gets me mad!

Last night, on the way home from school, I dashed into the supermarket with my youngest son.  He had managed to smuggle his wallet into his schoolbag and had brought it with him into the supermarket.  Inside it was a £10 note.  All the little mite’s savings in the whole wide world.

“What’s your favourite wine?  Do you prefer red or white?” He asked, as I picked up a half case off the shelf.

Well, quite apart from my worrying that he sees me drinking too often, I thought it was amusing that he wanted to know what my preference would be.

When we got to the stage of paying for all our groceries, he plucked his wallet out of his pocket, took out his £10 note, and went to hand it to the cashier.

“What are you doing?” I enquired, as I insisted that he put his money back in his wallet.

“But I’m buying your wine Mummy.  You deserve a treat.” 

And so, having persuaded him that he really should save his pocket money for something else, we got into the car.

He then opened the mini box of Celebrations that I had said he could have and tipped the contents onto his lap.  He then demanded to know exactly which of the contents I liked most.  I’m not a big chocolate fan, but there are a few things I quite like.  And as the little one and I have very similar taste in food, he knew that I would go for the Bounty.  Which also happens to be his favourite.

So there’s the dilemma.  My son offers me his favourite chocolate.  If I accept, there won’t be one for him.  If I refuse, he will think that I want it really and I will be taking away his opportunity to ‘do something nice for Mummy’.

As we sat at the traffic lights, I accepted the chocolate. And the two of us sat there happily chomping away in contented silence.

My son rocks.  He is so kind, sweet and sensitive, that just thinking about him makes me want to hug and kiss him.

Anyone who says that kids are selfish and would never give away all their savings or their favourite chocolate (or do what the kid in the advert did), should consider what it is about them, that they have created a child who wouldn’t.

And just in case you missed it.....!!!!

Monday, 21 November 2011

I don’t mean to be a tease…. but…

Over the last few days, I have been driving myself crazy.

I had a random conversation with a friend this weekend.  I have no recollection of what started the conversation, but this friend of mine started talking about a condition her husband has.

And as she spoke, describing the symptoms of his behaviour, it was as if she was describing me – in finite detail.  I nearly fell off my chair.

I have been aware for a very long time that sometimes the way my mind works is a bit ‘different’.  Not always in a bad way, (there are elements that are very positive) but during my childhood, my parents and close friends were, on many occasions, very frustrated by my behaviour and this has continued through to the current day.

I really hate being cryptic, but until I know for sure that this is an issue for me too, I really don’t want to divulge any further details.

Over the last few years, this behavioural pattern has become more of an issue for me than ever before and so, I have decided to make an appointment with my GP to discuss it further.  Until I know for sure, I want to keep it under wraps.  I have however discussed it with one friend, who quite rightly questioned whether it will help me to know and have a diagnosis.

I have done the internet research.   I am aware of the dangers of self-diagnosis, but as I seem to tick the box for almost every single symptom of this condition, I feel I have no choice but to investigate further.

And what will I do with the information if my suspicions are confirmed?  Well, apart from the massive relief I think I will gain from knowing for sure that there is an explanation for my behaviour and the way I feel, I am hoping that there will also be a way of addressing and dealing with the issues.

Oh dear.  I honestly hate being cryptic.  If my suspicions are confirmed, I will most definitely let you know…

Until then… I will not be turning into a mad axe murderer or doing anything that endangers anyone!!

Yours cryptically, Lara Lakin.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Suicide… what makes someone jump…?

Today has been a bit of a shocker.

It started off all right.  My little one was due to go to a birthday party, which meant I was due for a couple of hours free, to have a good old gossip with my friend Sarah.  And I was really looking forward to it.

The party started, the kids were off into their own social whirl and Sarah and I snuck off to have a coffee and a chat with some of the other mothers.

But Sarah was clearly not her usual self.  She whispered quietly in my ear that she wanted to have a private chat.

So we found a quiet corner and she dropped the bombshell. 

The day before, she had been due to have lunch with a girlfriend.  They were going to meet on the top floor restaurant of a hotel.  By the time they arrived, after various delays, it was mid afternoon.  The restaurant was almost empty, except for them and a man at a nearby table, sitting on his own, drinking a beer.

They got chatting, ordered wine and food and then, finally, realised that they had been waiting for an inordinate amount of time.  They tried to get the waiter’s attention, but he seemed to be not just distracted, but in an almost frenzied state, unable to take notice of anything they said.  At that point, they realised that the security man was outside on the balcony, talking to the man who had previously been sitting having a beer. 

And that’s when he did it.  Whilst they sat there watching, this attractive well dressed man, roughly in his mid-forties, jumped.  Only a split second later, my friend heard the thud, as he landed on the pavement 12 stories below.  He died instantly.  For his sake, I’m glad it was instantaneous.

For my friend however, the horror of what she witnessed is only beginning to surface. 

She spent over an hour and a half giving statements to the police.  And today, she has started having flash-backs.  She has started to remember details about this man.  His brightly coloured shirt and tie.  His goatee beard.  His apparently calm exterior, as he sat drinking his final beer. 

And she started to question whether she should have been less selfish, wondering why their food had taken so long to arrive.  What if she had been more on the ball?  If she had noticed earlier, could she, being a woman, have had more impact on this poor man than the male security guard?  Could she have talked him out of it?

Clearly, these are questions that no one will ever know the answer to.  And whilst I can fully understand her emotional response, questioning whether she could have done anything to dissuade him from this terrible act, obviously she has no reason to beat herself up about it.

I know that many people feel that suicide is a very selfish act.  Personally, I disagree.  I have been through a few horrors in my life.  The most recent being the period that I was still living with my ex-husband and going through the horrors of divorce.  There were countless occasions when I woke at 4am, heart racing, sweating, sobbing in fear of what was ahead of me, and feeling like I was in free-fall with no sight of the ground - not to mention the terror of the trauma I was inflicting on my children.  But never, not even once, did I ever consider ending it all. 

And why?  Because I knew that my life has a value.  It may only have a value to a very few people, but those people are the centre of my world.  Most specifically, of course, I mean my children.

No matter what may happen in my life, I will fight tooth and nail to ensure that I am there for these two beautiful little people I am so proud to have as children.  I want to see them grow up, hopefully go to university, meet the ‘person’ of their dreams and have fulfilling lives.  To end my life, would be to devastate theirs.

My dear friend is in such a state, that she has accepted that she needs to speak to someone professionally – a counsellor, or something similar.  Despite previous traumas in her life, this is something she has never considered before and it is a huge leap of consciousness for her. 

And what of that poor man?  Was he loved?  Did he have a family who will today be devastated by their loss?  Did he have children, a wife or friends – anyone at all who might have been able to help him?  What was it that pushed him to the brink?

From what the police said, it seems likely that my friend will have to give evidence at an inquest into his death. And it is possible that some of these questions may be answered.  But will the answers will help my friend, or make her feel worse?  I only wish I knew.

I do know what it’s like to hit rock bottom; to feel totally alone, desperate and helpless; but to feel so bad that you take your own life, is beyond my imagination.

Sometimes, no matter how tough we think our lives are, it is important to step back and count our lucky stars.

And on that note, as I go to bed tonight, I will be giving my kids an extra big hug and kiss.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Is it ever OK to read someone’s private diary…?

Well, as a matter of principle, I would of course say ‘no’.  The very thought of someone reading my innermost thoughts, without my consent, is tantamount to an assault – so I simply would not do that to another person.

But…. what if that other person is your seven year old child, who has gone through a big trauma with his parents divorce, and who is very closed about his feelings? 

Are these extenuating circumstances?  As a parent, do I have either a right, or a duty to see what he’s written, in order that I can unravel any issues he may have.  Or is it still completely taboo?

Well, as it happens, I have just recently discovered that my little one has started writing a diary.

Just like I did as a child, he loves to write little stories, many of which I have kept safely in a little box I keep their treasures in…  the home made birthday cards they have made me and my eldest’s first ever pair of baby jeans… complete with holes in both knees!  The things I hope they’ll appreciate when they’re older.

The discovery of his diary (which he sleeps with under his pillow) brought back a memory of the only time I have ever kept a diary. I was in my late teens and going through a particularly difficult time.  I’d left home and was not on speaking terms with my parents, I had a tempestuous relationship with a boyfriend, with whom I broke up and made up and finally broke up for good.  On top of all this, I’d moved to London and didn’t know many people, so it was a difficult time. 

For almost a year during this period, I kept a diary.  The most painful bit was the breakup with the boyfriend, for whom I carried a torch for years after.  (Exorcising the Ex) Writing everything down really helped me.  I kept the diary for a few years.  Then one day I stumbled upon it, whilst rummaging around at the back of a drawer.  I started to read it and it made me cry.  It brought home to me just what a bad time I’d been having and dredged up some deep feelings.  The diary had been kept in a box, along with letters from the same old boyfriend.  So I had a sort of ‘exorcism’ and threw the lot away.

Throwing it away made me feel the most extraordinary sense of relief.  It was as if, by throwing it all away, I could not punish myself by reading any of it again.

I think it is this reaction to my own diary, that makes me feel so strongly about reading someone else’s. 

I do really dread to think what impact the last couple of years have had on my children. I have tried hard to protect them from the fall out, but there is always a limit to how much you can protect your kids. 

And so, he’s writing a diary. He’s only seven.  The contents of his diary are most likely to be about what naughty stuff he’s been up to with his friends!  And comments about how much his brother annoys him. 

So do I read it, or don’t I? 

It’s such a tough one.  But I can’t help but feel that even at seven years old, everyone is entitled to a bit of privacy.  A little bit of himself, that he wants to keep to himself.  And even as his mother, even though he’s only seven, I think he’s entitled to it.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Having sex on a first date...

It would seem that whilst I am most definitely sitting on the shelf (though I refuse to resign myself to being a long term dust trap), a couple of guys I know have progressed their dating to the ‘snogging’ and ‘canoodling’ stage. 

And I have been listening to their tales with bated breath, fascinated to hear their male perspective on the whole thing.

Let’s be honest, there aren’t that many men out there who are prepared to go to a bar and share their innermost thoughts with other men.  There’s the bravado, the teasing and usual macho ‘guy stuff’ that goes on, that prevents this.  However, as I am a woman, and a single woman at that, these two lovely men have been a bit more open with me.  And what’s fascinating is that whilst they are clearly very different characters (one is very outgoing, confident and brave enough to take it on the chin if he is rejected; the other is much more reserved and fearful of rejection) ultimately, they both want someone they can have a meaningful relationship with.

So, with all this going on behind the scenes, I was fascinated to receive a link to an article from a friend of mine.  It was entitled:

Top 5 Myths Women (Still) Believe about Men

In brief, these myths are:

1.     Myth: A man won’t respect you if you have sex on the first date
Apparently, this is hogwash – because it suggests that the act of ‘withholding’ sex equates to respect.  Not so, says the article.  Every situation is different. 

I have spoken to quite a number of men about this.  And I have come to the conclusion that it probably is true that a man won’t think less of you for having sex on the first date.  But just because you’ve had sex, doesn’t mean you ‘know’ each other, or that it will lead to something more meaningful.  So, if the relationship doesn’t pan out, it’s not because you had sex early on, it’s because it was never going to work.  Unfortunately however, a woman who has had sex early on, is likely to have believed it is more meaningful and will be infinitely more wounded than if she had abstained.

2.     Myth: Men love the chase.  Not so.  If a man is interested he has to stick his neck out, risking rejection or humiliation.  But on the other hand, women love to be chased.  Fair point!

3.     Myth: Men prefer something to be left to the imagination.  Well, the writer seems a bit confused over this one.  Apparently, men just want to know what a woman will look like undressed (no shit, Sherlock!).  But for those of us who don’t inhabit a nudist colony, he is unclear about whether women should be going out dressed like a tart or a nun.

4.     Myth: A man can’t be friends with a woman without wanting to have sex with her.  The writer thinks this is false.  And I agree – but only if he’s not attracted to her, or if he’s happy to accept it is not going to lead anywhere.  And this goes both ways.

5.     Myth: Men are intimidated by strong, independent women.  Again, the writer and I both disagree with this statement, on the basis that ‘some are’ and ‘some aren’t’.  But it’s hardly rocket science!

OK – I said I was fascinated to receive the link.  I was, before I read the article. But I have to say the title of the article was a typical case of ‘over promising and under delivering’. 

And so I go back to these two lovely men I know.  Both setting out on the dating game.  Both of them kind and decent people.

One of these men already feels that the ‘lady’ in question is a decent woman, but not necessarily a long term prospect.  He is however hoping for a bit of ‘bedroom action’ along the way.  The other is undecided as to whether the woman in question is a ‘possibility’, although he clearly thinks she’s a decent person.  But he has not made any overt ‘bedroom’ plans and I suspect that if he decides there is no possibility of a long term meaningful relationship, he will call it to a halt before he gets to the bedroom door.

So here’s the bottom line: everyone’s different.  There are some men who have the confidence to go out and date women, and are prepared to take it on the chin if they are rejected.  There are others who miss opportunities because they’re too shy and fearful of rejection, because a woman they are attracted to wants a bit of a chase.  There will be men who never had any intention of developing a meaningful relationship with a woman, they just want to get a bit of action.  And there are men who are treated appallingly by women, who want to be treated like a goddess, until they find the man they’re really after.

So why do we create such problems for ourselves by gender stereotyping. 

Speaking for myself, I realise (with the benefit of hindsight), that I have to put myself ‘out there’ if I want to find someone.  And if I want to minimise the hurt I will feel if I’m rejected, there has to be a point at which I stop, before I know the man well enough to know if it’s a long term prospect. 

For me, that stop point is the bedroom door, because I will never be able to separate sex and emotions.  Some women can.  But I just can’t.

And I do not believe that a woman should blame a man for taking his opportunities if they are served on a plate.  That said, I would have a great deal of respect for a man who identifies that I would be deeply hurt by it and knowing that he has no long term interest, decides not to cross the threshold.

But for now, it’s a moot point… a bit of canoodling or snogging really wouldn’t go amiss… but in it's absence, I will live vicariously through my two lovely male friends' dating experiences, and remind myself that there really are some lovely men out there. 

And remember, whatever you do... there are always RAMIFICATIONS...!!!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

It’s official… Christmas is cancelled…!

Seeing as I have been having a miserable week this week, I thought I may as well finish on the same note.   I’ll put a big black mark through the diary and strike this week off as one to forget.  Then hopefully, I will return to my usual positive self next week…

Christmas, chez Lara Lakin, has now officially been cancelled.

And the reason?  The kids are going to be spending it with their Dad, and I won’t see them at all that day. 

I have to confess to being one of those people who love Christmas.  I love the decorations, the tree, wrapping presents, and having the kids running around, yelling and screaming with excitement.  I also love the food and preparing the vegetables the night before, whilst drinking mulled wine.  And I have, for the last 15 or so years, been the person who has done all the cooking.  It’s exhausting.  But I still love it.

Since becoming a parent, the day has started with being woken at some unearthly hour to hear the sound of little voices whispering animatedly as they discover what Lara, sorry, Father Christmas has put at the end of their beds!  Hearing the sound of paper being ripped frenetically and the squeals of muffled laughter.  The very idea that they should wait until 7.00am, so I can see them open their pile of goodies, is a triumph of hope over experience!  And I feel very sad that this year I won’t be part of their day.

I am sure I am not alone.  I have no doubt that countless other divorced parents, mothers and fathers alike, will be in the same position.  But what makes me sad, is that for other divorced parents, it is a day when they put their differences aside, and share this special day with their kids.  Last year, this is exactly what happened.  But this year, I have been told, in no uncertain terms, that we have got to take it in turns.  And there is nothing I can do about it – other than look forward to next Christmas, when it will be my turn to have them.

I have told the kids that we will have ‘our’ Christmas on Boxing Day.  And as I don’t want to be completely miserable, I’m going to try and look on the positive side.

As much as I love Christmas, it’s hard work.  Cooking a turkey, which then sits festering in the fridge for a week, peeling endless potatoes, sprouts and carrots.  I will not have to do any of it this year. 

I also feel strongly that as I won’t be there to see them open their stockings, their father should do them this year.  And I’d be lying if I said that the thought of him having to buy all the stocking fillers, and wrap them, which he has never had to do before, does bring an evil little smile to my face!

What’s more, the kids have never got excited about the traditional Christmas meal.  So when they come home on Boxing Day, I will do kids party food for them.  Cocktail sausages (on sticks of course), jelly and cupcakes.  It will take far less work and be enjoyed infinitely more.

I have had a number of offers from family and friends, to spend Christmas Day with them.  And I feel bad that I just don’t want to be anywhere but home.

To me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without the children.  So I will sit at home, possibly with a couple of friends who don’t have children themselves.  I will watch all the terrible repeats on TV.  I might even push myself to watch the Queen’s speech!  And I will try to give myself a break - something I rarely do.

But Christmas itself is cancelled.  It’s official. 

Signing off from my week of tiredness, grumpiness and crap.

Yours, as ever.  Lara Lakin

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Top ten reasons I’m having a crappy week…

1.     My little dog pee’d on my duvet – and I didn’t discover it until I was about to go to bed at midnight.

2.     My best friend ‘A’ is leaving London.

3.     My son’s bloody brilliant remote control helicopter has broken.  WTF – he’s only had it for 24 hours and he did nothing wrong!

4.     My best friend ‘A’s chillies, which he gave me to make chilli oil, have gone a bit mouldy!

5.     I found a grey hair in my eyebrow.  Which confirms my fear that I’m just a sad old bag!!

6.     I bought half a dozen bottles of my favourite wine on discount at my supermarket, only to discover that it wasn’t the wine I thought it was.

7.     The furrows between my eyebrows are definitely deep enough to grow plants in.

8.     I am convinced that my youngest dog has mental health issues, owing to the fact that having asked to go out 10 times last night, she subsequently pee’d on my duvet.

9.     I met the kindest, funniest, most considerate man you could ever hope to meet… and I don’t fancy him.  How devastating is that…?

1. I had one last piece of chewing gum left in the car.  And my son asked to have it.  I hate chewing gum.  I hate seeing people chew chewing gum. But it was the last piece I had.  I let him have it…! 

B*llocks.  I have had a crap week….

But I am an eternal optimist.  I am sure next week will be better.

Well... it better be!!!  And you know what... whenever I read http://www.outsidetoilet.co.uk/ It makes me laugh so much... I almost forget the crappy week I'm having... almost!!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

When a relationship ends….

Today I had some bad news.  It was news that I was, to a degree, expecting.  But sometimes, even if you know something is going to happen, it doesn’t really sink in until it does.

As I do not want to identify the people concerned, for a variety of reasons, I am going to refer to my fabulous, wonderful friend as ‘A’ and their other half as ‘B’.

I have been friends with A and B for quite a while and I have enormous affection for them both – but it is A who has become a very close friend and who has had a massive impact on me during the last year.

The last year has not been an easy one.  I moved out of my marital home, a house I loved, that I bought my newborn baby home to.  Where I held my kids birthday parties and played ‘hostess’ to my friends.  From there, I moved into a building site, via a three week stay with a very kind friend.  Life was chaos.  Dust and dirt everywhere, my worldly possessions stuffed into boxes in three different locations.  At that point, my divorce hadn’t even been rubber stamped.  Life was not much fun. 

Then finally the dust, literally, started to settle.  The new dog arrived.  And so with it, I met A. 

Having finally realised that I, the fellow dog owner, was not totally demented, A and I became instant friends.  And as our friendship developed, we realised that we had more in common than we could ever have imagined.

A is one of those people who can alternately make me roll on the floor laughing, and then support me when I sob big tears onto their shoulder.  And sometimes, I think A knows me better than I know myself.

But as I was getting to grips with the trauma of the end of my marriage and a very large chapter in my life, A was coming to the end of a chapter too.

Despite deep rooted feelings for B, A has realised that their relationship has come to an end.   And with a heavy heart, A is moving back home to Scotland, to be near family and old friends and to start again.

I totally understand why A has made this decision.  It is no slur on B, just a sad parting of the ways. 

And I am losing a very great friend – not of course in totality, but face it, A will be too far away to pop round for a gossip!

Throughout my life, in all the different stages, I have occasionally met people who have had a massive impact on me.  Their friendship has gone way beyond that of even some of my very longstanding friends.  It’s that bond you have when you just ‘get’ someone.  You understand what makes them tick.  You may not agree with everything they do, but you sure as heck understand why they do it.  And you have such confidence in their discretion and ability to understand and not judge, that you are able to tell them a raft of things you have never told other people.  

And this is exactly the type of person A is. 

I confess I am dropping big salty tears onto my laptop, because in all honesty, I’m gutted.  I will miss A so badly – but I hope A and B’s lives will move forward and they will both find happiness and fulfilment.  If ever there were two people who deserve it ... 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Dinner parties... doing it alone

I have written before about how much your social life changes when you get divorced and how you don’t get invited to dinner parties any more.  Well, last night I had a dinner party.  In a way it wasn’t really my party.  I was holding it for my friend Sarah’s birthday.  But I realised that whilst I have had various friends over for supper, I’ve never had more than two guests at once.

I worried that I wouldn’t even remember how to cook for a group of people!  And to do it by myself, to have to juggle pouring drinks, cooking and answering the door with no one to help, suddenly made me feel vulnerable and hopeless.  Bizarrely, despite having had so many parties over the years, the two year interval since I last held any kind of party, has left me feeling a bit lost.

It was therefore a huge relief to me that our mutual friend David, who is a great cook, had offered to help me.  And so it was all planned.

Having done most of my cooking and set the table, as agreed, I left a list of ‘last minute things’ on the table for David, threw my house keys through his door, and rushed off on the school run.

The traffic was very heavy, so the ‘ex’ was later than expected to collect the kids.  I raced back home, collecting Sarah en route and had the surreal experience of having to knock on my own front door to get in!

David, as ever, had been a star.  Drinks were at the ready, all final preparations had been seamlessly done, music on and nothing more for me to do until everyone else arrived. 

I don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed when people have arrived at my house.  It was marvellous!

Everyone seemed to have a good time.  And David wouldn’t leave until everything had been cleared up.  I really appreciated his help.  But it left me feeling sad that I have experienced more consideration and kindness from David (who by the way is happily married, his wife just couldn’t make it!) than I did in almost 20 years with my ex-husband.

But the best bit of all is that it’s left me feeling I’m really growing in confidence.  All the fears I had when I first left my ex-husband, about my ability to cope by myself, are slowly melting away.  It’s not a fear of being incapable of doing things.  It’s a fear of doing them alone.  And there’s the irony.  I realise that despite being married, I had pretty much been alone for years.

And now I’m getting back on track, and it feels great.

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