Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Big is Halfway to Eighteen!

Xander has been NINE for nearly a month and I still can't get over it. 

What a giant he feels these days and a shining example of young man he is becoming.  It is shocking how tall he feels up against me. Standing just shy of my chin. Tall, slender and increasingly long limbed.  Growing out of clothes yet again.  I wonder how many years now before he is as tall, and taller than me... it can't be many.  He seems to have grown up overnight. In height, looks and maturity.  The strops that I described last year are all but gone. That isn't to say he is never stroppy or that he never speaks to us with a total attitude; but this year of 2020 has seen him mature so much, reacting like a young man and becoming more helpful in a way that he wasn't before. Maybe forced to mature, because the world became such a crazy place to be this year. 

Mostly I'm shocked that this birthday marks the half way point of childhood, in official terms at least.  Half way through his life as a child. Not that boys really grow up at the age of eighteen of course, we all know that! 

Xander, it always astonishes me how quickly a year goes by and that I'm emailing you the snapshot of your year again. Eight was definitely the year of maturing. Reacting and behaving more responsibly. Taking it on the chin and accepting the consequences when you don't behave appropriately. Becoming ever more helpful around the house (even if sometimes it is for the bribe of some pocket money!); getting ever better at tidying up, entertaining your little brother (even when you don't want to!), helping make breakfast for you brothers or taking the recycling out to the bins.  

There was even a time this year where you washed up for us because the dishwasher broke down.  I reminded you that a dish washer was still a luxury item to have in a house and that a good deal of people still didn't have one in their kitchen like we have.  "Well how do people wash their dishes then?" you asked.... in a sink with water and soap Xander... "That's weird" you said!     You didn't find it so weird when it earnt you £5 for doing it though! Haha! 

You continue to be your brothers hero. They endlessly look up to you, want your attention or to play with you. Zac loves it when you join in his games and plays pretend in the way he wants to , and I know he absolutely loves that he can play Minecraft with you too now and be big. I also know it feels like Lucas doesn't leave you alone, that even when you're there quietly trying to play a game on the iPad of Xbox, or watching something on the TV that he constantly jumps on you, pesters or whines at you. I know it can be completely annoying to be the biggest, I was the biggest too. But they just simply love you, because you're always being such a good big brother to them.

One of the first thing you did when you were eight was take a tumble on the yard that sliced a flap off your knee and filled it with gravel. For a minor injury, I must be honest, I found it pretty stomach churning. Doctors having to lift it and wash out all the gravel (and you experiencing your first experience of gas and air!). But surprisingly no stitches. Stuck back together with steristrips, a double check with the A&E doctor again the next day and then about three weeks worth of visits to the practice nurse for dressing changes. It was pretty gooey and now you've been left with a scar that you'll probably have forever! 

Then you had a lovely couple of months. Whizzing through a short block of Speech and Language to resolve those sh, ch and j sounds following on from your time when you had your hearing loss. Loving your new hobby karate, thrilled with the Gi you had had for your birthday and earning yourself your red with white stripe belt before we had even got to Christmas. Enjoying Daddy and you days out to the Avengers Station and a Morgan and West Science Show, and a Mummy and you day out to the cinema. You had joined choir in school and were really enjoying singing and feeling especially grown up when we agreed you could on the choir trip to Birmingham to sing with the Young Voices choir event 2020. 

The big one. Your first overnight trip from home that wasn't sleeping at Nana and Bampi's. Sleeping in a youth hostel overnight with your teachers and choir friends after a performance in the World Resorts Arena. We were able to go up and watch the performance and it was such a buzz and joy to see you sing in such an epic event, with 6000 other children and famous singers and dancers too. What a wonderful experience for you, even if it did feel very strange that we were not bringing you home with us at the end of the show. You haven't stopped talking about it all year and have often asked if you can go again when Coronavirus goes away. 

At eight your favourite things have been Harry Potter, Karate, Minecraft, Lego (of course!), chess, xBoxing and Warhammer. You've liked to watch Teen Titans, Dragon Riders and Minecraft stories on the TV and a lot of Warhammer games on Youtube.  You still love Maths and Science, riding your bike and scooter, and a good old run around wild a park. 

Warhammer has, quite frankly, become life! Daddy couldn't be happier he has a little playmate now and the two of you are constantly, painting, playing or planning your next game. It isn't my favourite thing in the world and I kind of feel like the game is a bit too grown up for an eight / nine year old, but you certainly feel differently. You have a real passion, have saved up pocket money to buy your own first kit and spend most days after school delicately painting models and improving all of the time! So of course, at the moment, what you want to be when you grow up is a Warhammer Youtuber! 

You have loved every moment of being treated more like a grown up this year, from drinking cups of tea (oh how British!), to watching the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films that had a 12A rating! You love nothing more than a big boy night; having a late night to watch a film that we wouldn't allow your little brothers to watch, or snuggling with Daddy reading another chapter of Harry Potter to you or of course having a Warhammer game.    This is definitely the year you have become Daddy's boy. 

Yes, a lot of being eight wasn't how you would've expected it to be. 

At such a tender age you have had to face a world pandemic, live in lockdown, barely leave the house for weeks and months on end, no swimming, no karate, not even to go to school.  A time in your life where I'm in no doubt you are old enough to remember if for the rest of your life. The six months you couldn't go to school and I home-schooled you instead. You've been so resilient and matured massively during these months at home; but I do not underestimate how hard it was for you too without your friends and family. Not seeing your grandparents for the best part of three months and being so aware of news reports and adult chatter about virus and death. You were aware. You still are aware as we've lived through local lockdown and just coming out of another firebreak lockdown again now. It is still hard. You've said more than once you want to kick Coronaviruses butt.   

You've had to face the disappointment of your birthday not being how you would've normally celebrated it; without a party with your friends, or a day trip. Because although lockdown lifted over the summertime, and we had the brief respite of enjoying life for a little while... by your ninth birthday, we were in a local lockdown again and unable to go on the weekend away we had planned for you.   After months of accepting the situation, it was the first time I heard you say "I knew Covid was going to ruin in anyway" - and oh my boy, we all feel the same. Mummy feels how relentless it is too. I wish you hadn't lost these months to Covid but mostly I hope you will remember the fun we had at home, even the home-schooling, the endless play in the garden, new games, new lego kits, adventure walks in the local area. I hope you felt safe even when the world felt crazy. 

You have loved returning to school since September and it has been just lovely to see how happy it has made you. You've thrown yourself into Year 4 with a bang and your new teacher, Mrs Gallan, is forever commenting how hard you work and the effort you put into learning. You just continue to thrive at school.  You continue to make a good impression wherever you go and I hope the lovely nature you have about you now never leaves you. 

And now you are nine. Nine and able to tie your own shoe laces, more or less reliably brush your own teeth, having showers and independently washing your own hair more often than you have a bath, almost too big for me to pick you up at all and now wearing glasses too - which make you look even more grown up and like a total brains! 

Ok so we didn't get to Butlins for your birthday (we'll try again for your next half birthday), but we think you had a pretty special week anyway. Big Boy film night with pizza delivery watching Fantastic Beasts, a science kit fun day growing your own germs, a overnight living room camping party with your brothers, an off track explore around Pontypool Park to find the Grotto, a pancake parlour tea (and this is all before your actual birthday), and then on the actual day ;presents, Kaspas Takeaway pudding party and of course a birthday Warhammer game and ridiculous late night with Daddy. I think you lived your best birthday life really! 

And now, much like I felt after Belle's ninth birthday, I find myself already looking ahead to your tenth.  Ten feels like such an important milestone and we already have plans afoot to do something a bit different to celebrate our biggest boy turning ten! 

Enjoy this last year in single figures my boy Big and keep making the best of what is being thrown at us. We are so proud of how you've coped with this year of uncertainty and so proud of the shining example of a young man you are becoming. You are exactly who you need to be with all the kind, generous and thoughtful qualities that will take you far in life

The world needs more kind. 

We love you enormously, kid.

Making our world happier just because you're in it. 

Keep being you and you won't go far wrong. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 


Wednesday, 9 September 2020

My Last Baby Goes To Big School

A few days ago I grieved the loss of one important milestone. Today we celebrate another important milestone. In a different life I would've had one baby in the last year of Primary school and another starting the very first year of Primary school! 

Today I gave my last baby to school. Sob.  From here on in, school will get the most of him, probably the best of him for the foreseeable weeks as he inevitably gets increasingly tired from his full days!  I know I've been lucky; to have been able to work part time and enjoy so many one on one adventures with him, lucky that we haven't had to use full-time external childcare because Grandparents are so on board, meaning the boys have been able to predominantly spend their pre-school years at home. 

I've babied him. Obviously. He is my last little one. 

But today, when I took his Reception 'front door' photo and compared it to his Nursery 'front door' photo, it was undeniable how much he has grown up; up the door (massive growth spurt in a year!) and in himself. His face has changed and matured. Shockingly much less baby when you compare the two photos side by side! 

So much of this last year has been robbed from him. Barely any Nursery time at all, no Nursery graduation in the way it should've been. A world full of uncertainty and already an unsettled start to this new school year too. I was anxious when his brothers started school of course, but not like this. This whole starting / going to school during a Pandemic is a whole new level of anxiety of sending children to school. Thursday I still felt bravely optimistic sending them. Today I felt tearful dropping him off, dropping Lucas and Zachary off. 

We've had a stressful few days; a dodgy night of croup with Zac, back to school colds, a very poorly Xander with a very high (40.2) temperature. Which then meant obviously household COVID (negative) tests because of it. Covid testing coming before antibiotics and Xander having to suffer a prolonged deterioration with a nasty ear infection. But here we are. The all clear, for COVID at least. So today it was the big day for school.

My Little Lucas. Today you started Big School. Two days later than you should've done. You couldn't start Monday with all of your friends because we were a household having our first taste of COVID testing and quarantine. You couldn't go Tuesday because we were waiting on results.  So today was your first day. 

Last night you were not very impressed about it. You told me you only wanted to go to Baby School. But this morning, we arrived at your classroom door and you didn't miss a beat! You didn't hesitate. Your teacher greeted you and you opened with telling her about your new Thomas bags for school and proudly holding them up in the air to show her. Then in you went without looking back. Without a fuss. So confident. I'm so proud of you! 

Much more confident than Mummy. 

It wasn't the moment in the way I wanted it. Imagined it. It felt rushed handing you over. It felt entirely wrong that Daddy and I couldn't take you together. Like we had done for both of your brothers. But there is a one-parent-only policy at the school at the moment. Because you've guessed it, Covid. 

I felt under pressure to rush back to the car and get myself to work and to my own classroom children. I was so lucky that I had been told I could go to work late so that I wouldn't miss your first day. But I wish I had taken an extra moment to watch you in your classroom, watch you go and hang up your bag and settle yourself in.   If it had been Monday I could've soaked up this milestone a bit more. Your first, but my last. My last 'first day' of school.  I feel the enormity of it was robbed from us. By circumstance. By it not being Monday. 2020, the gift that keeps on giving.  

But my boy, I will watch you on the next Monday. I will watch you and then I might not know what to do to myself when I get home; with my six hours at home by myself. With no little one to look after. It was strange when I started having those two hours while you were at Nursery, but a whole day? I might actually have to do some cleaning or something to fill my time! Haha! 

I know you are going to be oh so very tired. I know you're going to find the long days and never being able to have a nap really hard as the weeks pass. You might be a summer born baby, still so young in your ways and one of the youngest in your class; but my boy you are school ready in so many other ways. Your bright little brain is ready for all the learning your teacher can throw at you!

My Little love, today was a Big Day for you. A new chapter. An end of one era and the start of another. 

I've had to share you more today to watch you and allow you to become a bigger boy. I know you're going to have the best time. It made my heart a little bit sad, this whole starting school business, but what a privilege it is to be allowed to watch you grow up!


One more step along the world you go. 

We love you enormously, Lucas. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Missed Milestones

Thursday morning it dawned on me, while I was taking the annual front door photos; that if Belle was here to take her back to school new year group picture, that it would have been a pretty significant one. As the front door pictures go. That next year will be the same.   

This year she would have been going into Year Six, the last year of primary school, with all the lasts of primary that would include. The residential trips, the grown up trips, the multitude of events across the year Year Six do marking their final days in primary school.   I wondered which of the Year Six teachers would have been hers. 

Then the prom leavers party that has become the custom in the boys school. The prom that for the last few years we have been tasked as official photographer for and loving the buzz of the kids excitement. This year it will be her cohort. The friends she might have had.  The special dress and shoes we won't be buying. 

The application to high school we won't be making. 

A significant year of missed milestones.

I've realised that next year, in September and early October, as we attend some high school open days, (open to Years 5 and 6 for a look around prior to the application process), with Xander, that she would've been starting at the high school we would've already have picked for our family.   Another September to come with another very significant missed milestone. 

And I'm ok. I've marked this should've been week in my thoughts. I haven't gone to pieces. Part of me cannot believe I'm old enough to have a child going into their last year of Primary School! I'm flabbergasted enough Xander has gone into Year Four! 

But today I tried to visualise how far up the front door she might have been for her photo this year. Taking my best guess that she would probably tower over Xander. And as he is now somewhere over the first 'line' on the door she would probably have hit the second.   Her 'I'm in Year Six' moment without her in it. 

Missed milestones. 

A lifetime of missed milestones and stolen moments. 

Friday, 21 August 2020

Little is FOUR!

On another damp and blustery day, Lucas is busy building train tracks and the older boys are busy watching Netflix. I'm feeling somewhat grumpy that the final two weeks of home before "back to school are looking pretty dismal for the weather... but I'm taking today's opportunity to sit quietly in the corner on my laptop; updating Lucas and his fourth birthday and then might move onto loosely completely some more planning ready for the new school term. 

It is hard to believe that our youngest baby is becoming a school aged boy! If I'm honest, I'm kind of struggling with the notion of no baby bringing up the rear as Lucas gets older. Not for a minute do I really believe we have the energy or the capacity for another as I hit my mid-late thirties and Jon on the cusp of forty. And I definitely have no desire for a return to the perpetual sleepless nights or the early days feeding demands of a newborn.  Its all inconsequential anyway when it would be something short of a miracle to be pregnant again now. But the pangs of broodiness are yet to disappear completely. I think its mostly these last weeks and months of the infancy chapter of our lives.... just the (very occasionally used) buggy in the boot left to vacate! 

Lucas is FOUR!

Little Lucas Elias. You continue to be absolutely determined NOT to be Little.   We are reminded almost daily that you are a big boy; because you tell us so, and because you are growing at an alarming rate these last few months... standing at 104cm tall already and filling out.   Clothes that Zac is outgrowing are simply being put straight into your drawers because the disparity between you is ever closing!  I'm pretty sure there will be a time where you wear the same size clothes and shoes which will be confusing for the washing I'm sure! 

I can't believe you are already four. It has been an absolutely crazy time of it since your last update. All the Monday and Tuesday afternoon adventures I planned for us while you were still half days never happened. Who would have thought you would ever have lived through a lockdown situation?! To have spent months nearly completely at home; all but a once a week short walk. No Nursery, no seeing grandparents and family, no daytrips, no park or soft play  or the other places you enjoy.  We've been at home and you just took it in your stride; accepting almost instantly that this was the way it had to be but frequently asking me "When Coronavirus goes away can we...." 

And here we are in what we hope is the 'other side' but resolved to the possibility these last few weeks have just been a respite and things might end up back into a lockdown situation. Mostly I hope you get to do Reception properly and not have it pulled from underneath you like Nursery has been. I'm so sad you didn't get the full Nursery experience, and especially sad that Nursery Graduation couldn't happen. A milestone that was so special for your brothers that you couldn't have in the same way.  

So instead we threw you a Graduation Birthday. It wasn't quite the same of course, but we made the best of it; complete with a cap and a sash and the smart little outfit I would've bought if you had had your school day.   

You loved your birthday! You had been so excited about it for such a long time.  No party this year, but at least we had been able at this point to form an extended household and have garden visitors. So Grandparents visited and we had a lovely all day party in the back garden! And the day before we were brave and ventured out for our first day out following the re-opening of places...  not the Thomasland we had originally planned for your big birthday day out but the next best thing for you at Perrygrove Railway.   You couldn't believe it! The first 'real' place you had been since lockdown... "you taken me to a train ride Mummy, really?!"   The three of you were so happy all day, running around the tree houses and going on the trains! 

Your birthday was the lockdown turning point for us and although summer hasn't been quite the same, or as jam-packed or as busy, we've have still been places, seen our friends and started to live again. 

I wonder if you'll remember anything of these months when you are grown-up? 

In many ways this lockdown and home-schooling situation has suited you. You have totally blossomed and flourished; going from unreliably recognising numbers and knowing little to nothing about letters to knowing all the numbers and ordering them to 30+,  reliably adding two numbers within 5 together, beginning to add two numbers between 10 together, counting in 2s, 5s and 10s,  writing numbers, letters and your name, smashing set 1 sounds and being able to blend and read CVC words independently and now beginning to have a go at CVCC words too!   With just a little 1:1 time every day you have become ever so Reception ready.   Even if I still think you're far too little! 

At FOUR you have become a force to be reckoned with! My goodness! Throughout June the threenager emerged and you have become increasingly strong-willed and determined; attempting to be more and more independent with a lot of "No Mummy don't help me" and "No Mummy I do it myself". You are feisty with a little temper emerging, an answer for everything already, demanding, screamy and dramatic. Apparently every time you're told off  you tell us "You broke my heart". Even as a veteran parent I feel like you are currently putting me through my paces!

But my boy are you a little sweetheart too. With all the "I love you's" for us all, cuddles in abundance, a beautiful chuckle and cheeky sense of humour (although verging on annoying little brother for your bigs they might say!) You couldn't look up to your big brothers anymore than you do; you constantly want their attention, have bonded more with Zac throughout lockdown and love it when he plays with you. Then you have Xander totally wrapped around your little finger on all the occasions he drops everything to build you a train track, or takes you around a playground that is slightly too big for you, picking you up and carrying you even!   You are firmly placed as baby of the family and Daddy says I spoil you. He is probably right.  

At FOUR you absolutely adore trains. At the end of Nursery you told me you want to be a train drive when you grow up. I don't think there is a day when your train track isn't emptied out of the box and built all around the living room, or your not thinking of the next Thomas and Friends train to add to your collection.   Thomas is a firm favourite for now; I'm hoping it remains that way for some time to come because I would really love to take you to Thomasland for your fifth birthday now as we failed to get there for your fourth. 

You love letters and numbers and the Numberblocks. If I'm honest, I think Numberblocks taught you more through lockdown than I did! Haha!  Your favourite colour is orange. You like Paw Patrol Mighty Pups and a sing-song from the back of the car; current track choice being Trolls World Tour.

You love being outdoors, a play in the garden or a trip to the park, you love your scooter and often ask if we can go out for a scoot. You've cracked it now and have become a total whizz, trying to go faster and faster to keep up with your brothers (and leaving me on pins waiting for you to crash!) We've almost got you there on pedalling your bike but you'll always choose your scooter over it - probably because you can go faster!

My Little, you are much more ready for the next chapter of adventure than I am!

You have blown us away this year Lucas and we couldn't be more proud of you. 

Loved millions and more, our baby one. 

Mummy and Daddy xXx 

Friday, 31 July 2020

Double Figures

I am many blog posts 'behind'.

Belle's milestone tenth birthday, an unthinkable hospital admission, Little's fourth birthday,  Lockdown Life, Week 1 and almost Week 2 of this years Six Weeks of Summer.... 

I can't even really blame lack of time; more so deliberately putting the first blog of the list off. 

Belle was ten. 

I had a vision, an idea of what her tenth birthday would be. 

Then it was nothing like it at all. 

I had an idea, two years ago, that for her tenth birthday I would raise a little more money in her honour for Sands. I wanted to get to Ten Thousand for her tenth birthday (after her first birthday had raised absolutely whopping £9693 - click link).  I had thought about organising an "Anabelle in Wonderland" themed afternoon tea, fun and quirky or even toyed with the idea of running a sponsored10k for her tenth. Which sounds absolutely laughable really when my current fitness levels are probably at their very worst ever!   I had intended to do some training; but could never quite stick at it for one reason or another. So still two years on I continue to play about with C25K - one step forward two steps back constantly - sticking at it really well for a bit and then falling off the running wagon for more weeks, if not months, on end. I think I need my on PT!  I've been on the treadmill on and off in lockdown but at the moment I can barely manage a Week 1 'run' and I haven't been that bad for a very very long time! That is another story really. 

I had ideas. But didn't action any of them.  I held back.  I beat myself up about it. 

But in the end, to be honest it is just as well I did hold back; because you know 2020 happened and all our lives worldwide got derailed! Maybe my subconscious knew for whatever reason it wouldn't happen this year. 

Her tenth birthday was hard. They're always hard. But this year not only was it a milestone birthday, we also had to abandon Plan A.  Travel restriction and bloody Covid meant we had to cancel the beach hut style weekend away we had booked. At the last minute we were instead throwing together a Plan B to have a mermaid themed garden party instead.  On paper it sounded lovely; I spent far too much on decorations (the surplus came in handy for Lucas's birthday too), I put together party bags even, I even ordered in an afternoon tea from up the road which was really beautifully presented. But it still wasn't the day I had imagined.  In the very end it was a nice evening when we finally were able to just sit. The day itself was nothing but calm. 

Plan B went wrong too; the standard panic of 'running out of time', a balloon that escaped the car as we opened the boot in the cemetery and not even the weather really on our side for the first year ever! A day with showers and the most annoying wind that meant everything we planned in the garden had to be gaffer taped down to within an inch of its life!  

Jon, my closest friends, have all said I need to take the pressure off myself to make her birthday perfect. To allow the day to pass without big plans. To realise that it doesn't have to be all singing and dancing.  And after my health scare in the days following her tenth birthday this year, they may well be right. Maybe her birthday needs a change. Low-key. 

Or it could just be a ridiculous coincidence that I had a brief minor heart attack (for no physically found reason) at the age of 35 in June. Because it is always June isn't it?  Stillbirth, miscarriage and now cardiac incident all in June.   

So now I'm on a weekly phonecall with Cardiac Rehab until mid-September (and feeling like I've almost doubled my age overnight!) and have been referred for grief counselling via their services too. I know it is the right thing to do; because even if there is a remote possibility that my heart issue was at all caused by the grief and stress of a never-ending June, then this cannot continue.  Fear of making myself seriously unwell each year cannot be added to the list! 

June. Ten years of reliving June 2010. Ten years of being utterly consumed by grief for the month from start to finish and before. I just don't know how to do it any other way. 

My darling Belle, 

Ten doesn't seem real or possible. It is such an important milestone. Double figures! I remembered feeling so grown up when I had my double figures birthday. We would've made such a fuss of you!  I wish that was our reality.  Instead we have had the sort of milestone that we cannot quite fathom. A decade without you; a decade that we've survived in its full range of emotions but never quite coming to terms that you, our only daughter, died before she got a chance at life. 

Once upon a time I imagined how if I survived ten years then I would feel stronger. More accepting. That maybe at this milestone somehow the grief would change and or become easier to bear. That the rawness would pass. Because in those early days ten years felt like an impossibly long time to live. I thought ten years would be a significant turning point. In which direction I yet not know; but it is fair to say ten years passed by far more quickly than I could've imagined and that raw June grief is still only ever just beneath the surface.

It can't have been ten years, can it? 

Each year we try to imagine what we would've been doing, or buying for you for your birthday. We almost torture ourselves googling a "What to buy a ten year old girl?" lists trying to discover what would have been on trend this year.   Would it have been fashion clothes, handbags, an iPod, jewellery or jewellry making kits? Books or stationary? Craft? Maybe even pop concert tickets; although I'm not sure about the influence of the likes of Little Mix or others!   I watch your slightly younger brother who is now all about Lego or Warhammer, building and painting models and marvel at how grown up he is all of a sudden. Maturing. And you are 16 months older again than he is.  Who would you be now?  On the cusp of Year 6, the top of the Juniors and applying for secondary school places.   I wish I could picture it; but mostly all I see is the tiny 4lb 5oz baby girl you are. 

This year we had a mermaid themed party but I'm under no illusion that would've been what you might've picked for yourself! Maybe parties would be out now and grown up meals with your friends would be in. Maybe a girly pampering sleepover complete with take away, films, nail painting, footspas and face masks?  For all the maybes of a reality that will never be, we had originally planned a beach hut themed weekend away; this year I wanted to escape for your birthday, to spend your tenth birthday at the seaside. Something different, something special. But it wasn't meant to be.   I don't think anyone could've imagined the turn this year would've taken. Locked down, travel banned and staying at home for months on end because of a virus. 

So this year there was no 'out for breakfast' that had firmly become our tradition of these last few years.  We had a slow morning at home, afternoon tea was collected ready for the garden party, we waited until dinner (and hoping the morning showers would pass) to go up to your garden. 

When we arrived at the cemetery it was in a shocking mid-lockdown state; everywhere we looked was overgrown and neglected. Grass up to my knees, or more.  I hadn't thought about how the council would not be attending graves at the moment.  I could've cried, just imagining the state we were about to find you in...  But you wouldn't believe it, we drove down the hill and I could see that your grave was all nice and tidy! I don't know who; but someone had recently mowed yours and your neighbour's plots!  I can only assume that your neighbour's family had been tidying up and had noticed the date on your headstone, or simply because you were a baby maybe, decided to tidy you up too. How amazing and thoughtful is that?! We were so grateful to our mystery gardener. 

But then the day got derailed, as it so often does on your birthday.  If there is one hiccup, I've learnt there will be many... on a day when we're not very equipped to cope.  

It was just going to be one of those days. Time started to feel like it was running out, one of the balloons had somehow become detached from the weight and escaped to the sky as the boot was opened (resulting in an hour round trip to get it replaced), and the weather and the wind especially just would not let up!!!  Wind and garden party decorations do not really go together! And the weather certainly wasn't right for the new paddling pool for the boys to pretend to be mermaids in! 

I'll admit I lost it completely at one point. The wind, of all things, totally pushing me over the edge. Not my finest hour by far.   Last year I thought I had finally learnt to breathe on your birthday. This year showed me once again how I still haven't a clue! 

Somehow we pulled it all back together. The garden got decorated with serious amount of gaffer tape, we all enjoyed the afternoon tea and the boys had a lovely play in the garden, albeit in their onesies because it was particularly cold!  We sang happy birthday, we enjoyed the Little Mermaid cake I had decorated the night before. In the end we got there once again.

But it was the hardest of birthdays. The hardest of days.   The way things should've been still hurts this family so much, you're missed beyond what you could ever realise.  The gap in every family photo. The boys missing piece and brothers who so often mention their sister they never knew. Missed by us all. 

I just cannot imagine a day when I will find my peace with your absence. 

We love you endlessly. 

Happy double figures birthday Anabelle Violet! 

Sunday, 7 June 2020

In The Dead Of Night

3.00am and awake.   Partly because I worked until almost 1.30am tonight to finish writing my class reports. Partly no doubt because I took a long nap this afternoon. But mostly because I feel so unsettled. 

No, worse than unsettled. Tormented. 

I took myself to bed this afternoon because I could barely breathe. Between feeling constantly nauseous, my chest racing and feeling shaky, I haven't known what to do with myself. On the verge of a panic attack for most of the day.  Now here we are at 3.00am and I can't stay in bed for exactly the same reasons that put me there 12 hours ago! I'll try and sleep on the sofa in a bit even though I know at this point that at least one of my boys will be up for the new day in 2 hours. 

June has kicked in with a vengeance this week.   

Increasingly feeling that urge to run away again. With nowhere to go. 

The last three to four days have been increasingly horrendous. 

Every year. This never ending cycle. The reality of life after trauma. 

The June 2010 the replay. 

Today (or yesterday, as it is now) the 6th. The first major "what if" day among many of them; should of, could of, wishing something different had happened in hindsight day. Wishing a different decision had been made, wishing the dice had fallen another way.   Wishing even though I know there is no guarantee the outcome would have been any different if a different intervention had happened today. 

Swinging between almost wanting to feel grief in its full force because I need to feel it as part of this June process. But feeling so very tired of feeling so utterly broken and damaged. Feeling so tired of trying to function for the sake of everyone else.  Needless to say patience has not been my forte this week. Nor is it likely to be for the weeks ahead. 


Probably not helped this year by the big plan changing. 

Probably not helped by the insanity of 2020 in general. 

Probably not helped by the Welsh 'Back to School' announcement this week that definitely set the Corona anxiety part of whatever this is into full drive. Although ironically being in work Friday and whilst writing reports into the evenings this week has been when I've felt most calm, in-control and like myself. Apparently my professional hat is helpful. 

Because it will mean changes to our now settled home routine; even if we've decided the boys won't be returning, it will mean I'll physically be in work more often. It means another increase to our household risk, and June is not the month for me coping with even a hint of increased risk. Because even though I know we're a low-risk family for Corona, so was Belle a low-risk pregnancy and still the absolute worst thing happened.  When you live with the fear of one of your children dying daily as a reality and you've been that tragic 'one in .....' before it becomes entirely believable and likely that tiny risk proportion could be you again. However irrational and ridiculous that is to anyone else. 

Probably entirely exacerbated by the daily "Belle's birthday" packages that have been arriving. Because what is normal about any of it really?   Items to create the 10th birthday that never was party two weeks from today. All the frills and fancies of a garden birthday party without the birthday girl. All for the benefit of her brothers. 

I still cannot get my head around Ten.  


I keep saying it emptily in my head and not knowing what thought to follow it up with. 

Just Ten. 

You might think I should be better by now. A decade on. But here we are, still barely able to cope at all when its all stripped away through my re-live month of the year. 

Its now 4.00am, and I guess I just try and go to sleep again. 
Thursday, 21 May 2020

A Month Today

A month today will be Belle's 10th birthday.  

Which just seems so ludicrous. Ludicrous that a whole decade has passed by.  Ten years living without her.  Ten years filling my life with my boys, but living without her.  I cannot even fathom ten years today. 

I feel massively under-prepared for her birthday. 

Coronavirus has pulled her birthday plans from beneath our feet.  

We had booked a beach hut styled cabin in the Gower for her birthday weekend this year. Something different, something special for such an important milestone birthday.  I had agonised over changing our, her birthday routine. Had felt enormously guilty that we wouldn't be home to decorate her garden on her day. 

But when it came down to it, it felt the right thing to do.  If she had been alive we would've aimed to make her 10th birthday different, and that bit more special. Made a fuss of going into double figures and all that. So it felt only right that we do something really different any how.  Just like we will do for the boys (and you know, come the Autumn I will need to think a year ahead for Xander's double figure birthday plans!)  So back in August (!) we booked the cabin and started thinking about how we would theme a 'Mermaid Beach' away birthday for her.  I imagined spending the whole of her birthday on the sand. 

Clearly we're not going now.

We've been offered a change of dates and re-booking. But we've made the decision we're cancelling completely. If we cannot go for her 10th birthday weekend, we cannot face going at all. It wouldn't be the same. 

Ironic really that I have spent so many of her birthdays these last few years with the urge to run away. Then the year we bite the bullet and book an away birthday we end up more locked down and restricted than ever! And more-so willingly restricted because leaving the house is enormously stressful anyway and of how desperate I am to keep the boys safe slash hugely anxious I am of the boys becoming ill at the moment. But that is another blog for another time. 

Now I feel like I'm running out of time to create a Mermaid extravaganza in the garden instead. Every time I start browsing online for ideas I start feeling panicky. There is a lot saved in a list I need to start picking through.  Last week I ordered her first gifts; something for our wall, and a Mermaid "10" birthday rosette. It sent me down a black hole for a few days, drained and exhausted.  That moment every year where I start choosing items that probably wouldn't have even been on my radar had she been alive. You know, like a mermaid ornament to go up the grave.  

Today I've set myself the task of ordering the bits for a birthday cake, so cake toppers and whatever are here in plenty of time. Because that is the other stress isn't it in all this Coronavirus nightmare. Not all parcels are arriving in a timely fashion at the moment!  Today its feeling too much. 

It is really difficult this May to pick apart what is May / June anxiety and what is Covid anxiety. What an intense 10 weeks we've lived already. Everyone. Of course everything feels heightened at the moment in whatever part of this insane situation we're all feeling overwhelmed by.  But the usual spiral has started the last ten days too. And then on top of that the guilt for the boys, more than ever this year when little about life is normal, that they need me to be strong and normal and not going to pieces for the best part of six weeks or more. 

Birthday build up Twenty Twenty; feeling like everything is out of my control, panic, chest racing, restlessness, impatience, poor sleep.  And feeling angry. So angry. 

Here we go nearly June.
My Photo
After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
View my complete profile

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Blog archive


Mumsnet Badge

Written by C.E Morgan. Powered by Blogger.