Moving Forward

What a fab four days I’ve just had!

Hope, my 19-year old daughter came to stay from Thursday to today ( Sunday) and I’ve just dropped her off to where she currently lives with her partner and baby girl.

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Hope and Demi

Relations between Hope and I have been pretty strained over the past three and half years and I’ve cried more tears of that girly than over almost anyone ever. So, I’m hoping things are starting to get slowly back on track. We’ll see. Baby steps and all that.

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Hope was raised with her two disabled siblings, India and Rune and to say that her life wasn’t easy would be a gross understatement. At times it was damn near diabolical and my heart has broken for her a million times.

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Hope, India, Rune and a storyteller at Guilfest 2004

As a lone parent for 17 years now, trying to juggle the needs of all my children has been very hard but this was made even more so by the fact that India and Rune ( and Rune still) presented with extremely challenging behaviour for many years due to their condition of Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS) and If I was to write about all that Hope has been through at the hands of SMS, this blog post would go on for hours. Hope has quite literally seen it all.

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Hope and Rune

She has witnessed an almost infinite amount of meltdowns, both inside the house and at every other place we ever visited and when I say meltdown, I mean full on, up to three hours non-stop. And let me tell ya’ folks, there ain’t no meltdown like an SMS meltdown. If it wasn’t Rune, it was India and vice versa and sometimes both at the same time!

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My gorgeous twins, India and Rune. Looks like butter wouldnt melt, right? !!!

So let me explain an SMS full blown meltdown.

Screaming, throwing every object that’s not stuck down, including heavy objects such as furniture and TV’s ( and if the TV isn’t being thrown, you can bet that another object is being thrown AT the TV), full on frenzy of ripping paper, clothes, punching, biting, kicking, scratching at their own faces, pulling hair, head banging, a complete inability to listen to reason and….and….so much more besides.

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During these times, Hope at aged four and upwards and ongoing, remained calm and at times was the spectator and at other times was the target. Oh yes, Hope has definitely been a target. I think what breaks my heart the most is the fact that I wasn’t able to go to her, to comfort her. All my mothering instincts wanted to take her in my arms when she was struck at and give her kisses, cuddles and attention. Just to tell her everything was going to be okay. But what I did instead was scream at her in an attempt to be heard above the noise and destruction that I would ‘be with her in a minute’, which of course I never was. So, Hope would simply retreat quietly to a place of safety and wait for the meltdowns to pass. And then she would witness me with my head in my hands in total despair, crying my eyes out. In short, Hope’s needs have largely been placed on the back burner for the whole of her life.

Life was so chaotic in our household and the unpredictability of the twins behaviour, coupled with the fact that Rune rarely slept a wink at night, meant that Hope could never invite friends for sleepovers. Heck, she could barely even invite friends to come into the house in the daytime! Rune couldn’t cope with visitors to the house and he couldn’t cope with going out a lot of the time, either.

I was determined to make it work out for Hope on her 12th birthday and so, for the first time since her 6th birthday, she had friends over for a get-together. It was going well and we pretty much all stuck to the garden as it was a sunny May afternoon. Rune was in his room upstairs. Then disaster struck. One of the mums came to collect her daughter and a couple of friends and she arrived at the front door just as `rune decided to make an appearance for the first time that afternoon. Said mum bent down to say hello to Rune and got punched square in the face for her efforts. She reeled back and started to cry. Hope and I were mortified! Rune went back upstairs and the mum grabbed the children in a hurry and left. That evening I phoned her to apologise again and she told me that her husband said that his daughter was no longer allowed around our house. I sank into a sort of hopeless depression after that incident. Just another one to add to the list. My poor Hopey Bear.

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Hope’s 12th Birthday Party.

Despite all of this, Hope really does love her siblings very much. She just needed some time away to do her own thing, go her own way and now, at age 19, she is the very proud mummy of a 21-month-old, adorable little girl who has all the strength of her beautiful mummy, a shock of blonde, curly hair and her mum’s blue eyes. She is adored!

 

I love my Hopey with all my heart and soul. I’m so, so proud of her for so many reasons, not least for her strength of character, for the way she copes so well with a demanding toddler, for her soft heart. Sometimes I think to myself, ‘if I could only turn the clocks back’, but no, that’s wrong. We are all on our own individual life journeys. Our experiences are there for a reason! Hope and I have learned so much from the past 17 years and I can’t imagine not having experienced that. My twins have taught me so much along the way and I’m eternally grateful to all of my beautiful babies for coming into my life and helping me to become the person I am today. Couldn’t have done it without you, kids.

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Beautiful Hope.

Love Heidi x

Grannies Do Goa ( and no, it’s not porn)!

1st March 2017 marks the day that my bestest old lovely friend Jayne and I have been waiting nearly 3 months for. We’re off to Goa, India. Actually, we’ve been waiting for 27 years for this holiday.

Jayne and I met when we were both 19 years old, 28 years ago now! We were teen mums to our son and daughter who used to play together and now, all these years later, between us both, we have 12 children and 4 grandchildren, no less!

Way back then, we always said we would go on holiday to India together one day. In December 2016, we booked our flights!

We had originally planned to go to India for a month, two weeks in the North and two weeks relaxing in Goa but for various reasons, a month away from home at this time just wasn’t going to be practical for us, so we decided in the end to just stick to the latter part of our trip.

Having travelled to Goa many times when my children were growing up and knowing the place of old,  I was more than happy to arrange a loose itinerary for us to follow and I was super excited to introduce Jayne to my lovely Goan ‘family’ whom I’ve known for 12 years and who’s newly built guest house we would be staying at.

Jayne and her partner David arrived at my house at about 8.30am. We did some last bits of packing and then left for Heathrow at about 9.30 and we arrived there at 10.30. Jayne and David had a lovely, affectionate farewell and then Jayne and I went on our way.

We were actually doing it! Jayne and I were actually walking off without anyone we had given birth to anywhere within a 70 mile radius of us! This was Jayne and Heidi time. Not Jayne and Heidi the mums and grandmums. Just Jayne and Heidi the women. The beautiful, sexy women we are.

We had 3 hours before our flight so we drank coffee at extortionate prices and talked about……….yup, you’ve guessed it….the kids hahaha! What else? It’s all we know.

We boarded the plane and our seat row number was the first to be called out. We made our way down the plane, passed all the rows of seats only to find that our seats were right at the back of the plane. We loved it! We could lean back without fear of disturbing anyone behind us and Jayne had loads of space to her left, underneath the window, for our bags. This was the first of many examples of how we were being held by the angels, God, The Universe, or whatever name you wish to give to the wonderful spiritual force which cradles us, which is always there holding us, keeping us safe and loved unconditionally.

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.Jayne and I were flying with Air India. I always book through the website Tickets to India as they always seem to provide the best price and I’ve always found Air India to be great. Clean planes and efficient service from friendly cabin crew.  Our first stop was Mumbai and then on to Goa.

 The flight was pleasant although the only hiccup was the flight path video wasn’t working which was a bit of a bummer as I like to track the journey ( to India, never the return journey ). We ate a perfectly acceptable meal; I had veg, Jayne non veg and for the rest of the 8.5 hour flight we talked, snoozed, talked, watched movies, talked, and played online games. Jayne and I were actually talking. Alone. To each other. Uninterrupted by children.

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Gorgeous, sweet Jayne.

 

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What a view!

 

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Happy to be fed xxx

 

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Me and my beautiful friend. I love this chick.

The transition at Mumbai airport was smooth but we had a couple of hours stopover and during this time I discovered something about Jayne that I hadn’t known before and that is that the woman is bloody hilarious. She’s SO damn funny and comes out with these one liners that had me doubled over. I think the reason I hadn’t realised how funny Jayne was before and the only explanation I can think of for that was we’d been too busy raising kids!

 

We arrived In Goa and at Monica’s ( my mum) very tired but very happy. After some quick introductions, it was time to get our heads down. Jayne slept for hours but I woke up after only two hours and ate a huge plateful of Monica’s amazing fish curry. I could barely walk out of her kitchen I was so full! I strolled down the lane to say hello to Fatima and her family and to meet with the beautiful Zeenat ( Fatima’s daughter) who was only 6 months old last time I was here five years ago. No sooner had I sat down was I offered more food. It would’ve been rude to refuse so I ploughed through yet another enormous meal.

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We’ve arrived at Dabolim airport, Goa. How happy does Jayne look?!

 

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A feast fit for a king courtesy of Mumma Monica

 

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More food at Fatima’s.
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Beautiful Zeenat.

 

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Me, Fatima ( far right) and her sister.

 

Following that, I jumped onto my old trusty scooter, a bright yellow Dio, and went shopping for supplies such as washing powder, a plug adapter and an enormous container of water with a stand so as we could refill a bottle or two to keep in the fridge to take out with us. Actually, I say ‘my’ scooter. It used to be. I bought it many years ago, brand new but when finances were low and I needed to buy my ticket back to the UK one year, I sold it to Monica’s son and now his wife drives it. Oh, how I love driving a scooter around Goa.

 

Jayne woke up, proper introductions were made and she met the family. We then went for a meal on Benaulim Beach and I was literally bombarded with many, many hellos from people I’ve known for 12 years, people who watched my kids grow up here but whom I haven’t seen for 5 years.

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The amazing Monica. My Goan mum. I haven’t sen my own mum for 13 years now and Monica ‘adopted’ me and my kids 12 years ago. I love ths woman with all my heart.

 

Following another amazing meal at Rogers beach shack, went to bed that night exhausted, full up with delicious food and deliriously happy.

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Jayne on the phone to her beloved, David.

 

It so damn good to be back.

Love Heidi x