So, what has the past month of January been like for me?
Firstly, I’ve realised that my belief that my role as a carer would be pretty much obsolete once Rune had moved out, was quite ridiculous! Yes, I have a little more actual time alone and India is at school Monday to Friday but my role hasn’t stopped at all. I’ve still needed to attend countless meetings and of course, India is home from Friday afternoon to Monday morning and school holidays. And being a teen with SMS, albeit very high functioning, she still has her issues which often times require careful handling.
The first few days after Rune left were a bit of a whirlwind. I just felt like I wanted to do everything that I couldn’t do with Rune at home. And I wanted to do it NOW! I saw grown ups and had time to myself and that lasted two days. By the third day I really started to miss Rune and by the second week, I was ready to collect him, bring him home again and apologise for making the poor boy leave home and to tell him it had all been a terrible mistake.
That second week was very hard. Listening to Rune sobbing uncontrollably on the phone for over half an hour each evening that he misses me and India and he just wants to come again…..wowzers. Not good. But we both got through it, we visited him on the Sundays and the weekday phone calls became easier.
I resisted the urge to go out in the evenings for a cuppa somewhere or attend a meetup group as I was so focused on my upcoming trip to India with Jayne and needed to save every penny! Oh actually, I did go out one Thursday evening to attend a shamanic journeying evening with someone lovely I know. It was his first time at holding the circle and I really wanted to support him.
Other than that, I’ve been trying my hand at pastel portrait painting, clearing up the garden, decorating the bathroom upstairs, upcycling furniture, planning my India trip, painting mannequins and generally keeping myself very busy! I plan to write a post with pictures very soon so look out for it.
India and I had a lovely walk one Saturday afternoon to the Ashdown Forest. It was sunny and cold and we walked for a good hour, or so.
On that first Monday evening, I attended a small meeting in a pub to exchange ideas and tips for running a small home business. I loved it and kept having to bring myself into the present moment as I found myself drifting off into the land of disbelief that I was actually out of the house, after dark and talking to real life grown ups without anybody I gave birth to in the vicinity.
On Tuesday I decided to visit hairdressers. I wasn’t going for a major new style, just a trim and neaten up. My usual go to hair cutting sessions have been from home. By me. And I’m no hairdresser! A wonderful YouTube video tutorial showed me how to give myself layers. Basically, throw your head forward, make a ponytail on top of your head and cut the bottom of the ponytail. It worked okay I suppose. Not amazing but it did the job and when one is a full-time carer and chief bum wiper, you take what you can get. So, to be sitting in a chair of an actual real life hairdressers with someone who knew what they were doing fixing my hair, I felt like I’d won the hairdressing lottery.
On my way back to the car, I went passed a tiny Italian restaurant. During the seven years I’ve lived in this gorgeous little town I’ve walked past that restaurant many, many times and each time declared to myself that I was going to go in there for a meal one day. I think I should point out here that my never having eaten there was nothing to do with me being a carer. The children and I have enjoyed many meals out at various places, our favourite being Wagamama. Anyway, I walked in and chose a little table on my own and enjoyed a vegetarian meal with a glass of coke. Italian music was playing and there were beautiful paintings on the walls. This was a little slice of heaven and I dreamed of how I was going to travel to Italy one day. I’ve been thinking about a painting holiday…….
In the evening I realised that I was free to step out of the house if I so chose to. So I did! I went to the cinema and saw Passengers, which was brilliant. For so many years films have come and gone and every time I miss them. My cinema experiences have been all about taking Rune to see his U certificates. We used to sit in the back row together and then a couple of years ago he suddenly announced that he would prefer to sit in the very front row. I made it through a couple of films like that but couldn’t do anymore. We were too close to the screen and whilst he may have been enjoying the sensory overload, I wasn’t. I felt like my ears would implode and I would damage my retinas. No one ever sits in the front row, right? Every time Rune did, which was every time he visited the cinema, which is a lot, he is the only one on the front row. He likes it like that! More room for his teddies and crisps!
So, in order for Rune to be supervised, he would sit at the front and I would sit right at the back of the theatre but this just made me look like I was an adult visiting the cinema alone to watch a kids movie. So that’s when the shift happened of I never having to suffer a U certificate movie again. I say suffer but that’s not really fair. Mostly, kids movies are really fab and some are downright hilarious, but you have to understand. I’ve been watching them for 16 years now and I was longing to see a grown up film!
Anyway, I would buy our tickets ( I went in free as a carer), then settle Rune in on the front row with his snacks, drinks and whatever plushies he’d chosen to accompany him that day, and I ( and India too sometimes) would go upstairs to the cafe and have a hot drink and a chat.
After a while of this, I got really brave and started taking India to Hollywood Bowl which was just in the building just next door to the cinema, all within the same complex. We would only play on the arcade machines for a while and I would check back in on Rune but it was enough. India and I were actually enjoying quality time together. On the days I took Rune to the cinema when India was at school, I would sit in the cafe alone, reading a book or surfing the net. It was blissful but still, a bit lonely.
I’d really feel for India though. There were films that she wanted to see but not alone and I couldn’t go with her as I had no one to look after Rune. So they would pass her by, just as my films did with me. One day I decided to take a leap and take India to see a film whilst Rune was watching his. We chose the timings to coincide with one another but it wasn’t exact and that really worried me. Our film started about 20 minutes later than Runes and went on for longer and it turned out that he would have to wait for us for 35 minutes after his film had finished. I gave him strict instructions to go to the cafe upstairs and sit and wait with his PS Vita and to NOT MOVE FROM HIS SEAT UNTIL WE GOT THERE.
India and I enjoyed our film despite the fact that I was regularly checking the time. Panic set in the moment I knew Rune’s film had finished. I was stuck, though! I desperately wanted to go and check on him but I couldn’t leave India. Well, I could leave her, but I mean I didn’t want to. It was the first film we’d seen together in years and to walk out in the last half hour and just leave her to it, would’ve been desperately unfair.
On the other hand, though, I was having a slight heart attack worrying about whether Rune had gone to the cafe as per instruction and it was then that I decided I was just never going to do this again. It was too much of a risk.
But situations like these are typical for a single parent/carer. Caught between your kids all the time, having to watch your more able children fend for themselves, their needs placed on the back burner. It’s all heartbreaking but unfortunately, unavoidable.
Our film finished and boy, as soon as those credits started rolling, I was flying down those steps like my arse was on fire, throwing a quick instruction to India over my shoulder to meet me in the cafe. I hared up the staircase to Starbucks and there he was! My Runey Bear, sitting at a table, perfectly fine and playing on his PS Vita. I hugged that boy.