Thank you Lego Duplo

After being at Cybermummy over the weekend I’ve been working on getting my 10-year-old to forgive me for what she called my deserting of her. I was finally back in her good
books this morning thanks to the great people at Lego Duplo.

On Saturday I entered a draw that was being run by the kind people at Lego Duplo and was lucky enough to win a runner-up prize. Well today the postman delivered that
said prize.

 Yes I am forgiven, thank you Lego Duplo.

I have to say this gift has kept my daughter and foster child happily occupied for over
an hour. We have had houses built, schools and even a boat. I love the way Lego
Duplo allows my children’s imagination to flourish.

Brodie says “Thank you Lego duplo for my prize, I love playing with it. They are so fun and I can take them anywhere and also add them to my other sets.”

 

 

 

Empathy

em·pa·thy
[em-puh-thee]
– noun 1. identification with the feelings of another

How many times have we read birth stories and cringed with reminders of the pain.

Felt the tiredness of a new mother.

A parents nerves on the first day of school.

We have all at one time felt empathy for someone.

Today I was reminded that I could emphasise with another on the lost of her daughter. The pain no body ever wants to face. The loss of a child rips at your soul. Changing you to the very core. You are not person you was five minutes before. You can never go back to that place. You are a grieving parent. The life role nobody ever wants to play.

Birthday parties, proms, graduations, weddings these we wish to plan not our child’s funeral. This isn’t fair, this isn’t how life is supposed to be.

How do I look this grieving parent in the face and say “everything will be ok”. I don’t know what ok is anymore. I know I have reached a place of survival a place where I accept life goes on. Yet the smile still never reaches my eyes.

I still haven’t worked out why the rest of the world carries on when inside I feel like it has stopped.

I still have moments where the tears fall unexpectedly. Times when the remembering overwhelms me. Her smile, her giggle her smell.

Does time ease your pain? I don’t know, some say the rawness eases of but for me there are days where I’m transported back into the agony of that fateful day.

Do you move on? The truth is we have no choice as the world turns on it’s axis the days become nights the weeks turn into months. We can’t stay still even if we desire to.

I have learned to laugh again. I see the joy in life once more. I embrace the future as what is yet to be. But the truth be told part of me is forever in 2008 that piece of my heart that will be forever with my daughter.

Will I be whole again, not anytime soon. I just hold on tight for eternity.

As for empathy it hurts. Knowing the pain my fellow grieving parent is feeling destroys me. It’s the pain you wish on nobody. My only words to share are these “don’t try to cope, just survive”.

I haven’t coped but I have survived.

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So I’m home from Cybermummy

So how do I feel after my crazy weekend at Cybermummy. Firstly exhausted it has been a busy few days, travelling to London was an experience and the conference itself was
a long and intensive day.

Was it worth it? Totally, I got to meet some amazing people who I hope I can say have now become friends.

From a blogging point of view I still have a lot to digest. My mind is full of ideas
and plans but I really need to work out where I want this blog to go and how I
want it to mature and grow.

The workshops were informative and meeting the brands was helpful though as a blogger with a ten-year old and two teenagers I was feeling a little left out in the midst of
all the baby stuff.

I have already been discussing changing the format of my blog but I need to make sure
that who I am and what I believe is still at the heart of my writing.

So watch this space…………

 

My letter to Livvy

 

Dear Livvy,

Have you ever just sat there and had your whole world change for you? I’m
sure many people have their wedding, the birth of their children. I have,
becoming a mom was one of the most wonderful things ever. Nothing could prepare
me for the complete influx of emotions as I held my daughters in my arms. These
beautiful girls, I was going to love them and protect them for their whole
lives.

As I sat in that doctors office I had to face the realisation that I
couldn’t. Something stronger than I, had begun a battle I didn’t know for sure I
could win,Rett Syndrome. How I hated hearing those words, for months I had been
searching the internet for some answers, the reason that my little girl had to
suffer. I had come across this condition a few times but I wasn’t willing to
face it. I tried to convince myself that it couldn’t be this, nothing that held
the words life threatening could be part of my world, my baby.

It was to be, since that day back in 2001 when it seemed like overnight you
had disappeared. Your words, your smiles, your eyes all left and replaced with a
child who cried and screamed with so much frustration that my heart broke. Your
personality changed, little things became gigantic. I remember your nanny moved
her living room furniture around, my goodness the fear and pain in your face, we
had to leave. Nanny’s house a place you had loved so desperately days before
caused you so much distress, why?

Finally three years later we were getting an answer. In a way knowing became
a little relief, you had come back into our world a little through the years,
the smiles, the cheeky behaviour returned, but with them came the added torment of
seizures.  I remember vividly the first one, you had been so upset all day and I
couldn’t work out why so I had you cuddled up in my arms hoping to bring you
some comfort. Suddenly your whole body went tense and then shook with such
violence, I screamed with fear. It seemed as soon as it started it had finished,
I began to doubt it had happened then 2 minutes after another was to strike. My
brave little girl, that was to be a precedent for the rest of your life, so many
weeks spend on the hospital ward, so many different medicines trying to control
those evil things, seizures the brains way of sending your body into a complete
nightmare of spasms.

So we had our answer, the reason behind your world. Dad and I sobbed as we
sat in the car, we couldn’t even begin to drive home. In our head we tried to
make sense of the news, yes we had the reason why our daughter could have over
100 seizures in a day but no they couldn’t cure it. Oh how I had prayed that it
would be something that could be cured, but no. I heard the doctors words, I’m
sorry Mr. and Mrs. Meredith, Livvy has Rett syndrome, quite a severe case. Oh
just couldn’t be a normal case, had to go and be severe. Just like you not to do
something by halves.

Our emotions were wild, anger, rage, despair Daddy and I felt them all. Our
precious little girl. We were supposed to be able to protect you, how, why? This
wasn’t fair, you were beautiful, why you? Maybe some say at this point why them,
but that never crossed my mind, the last years I had watched you fight your way
through the variety of symptoms with such spirit that I never felt why me,
always why you? I was so proud of my brave little girl, but hadn’t you suffered
enough. Rett syndrome NO. God and I had words that day as I sat in the car, I
had loved God from an earlier aged, loved, worshipped. Tried to live my life
respecting all others and here I was facing a future uncertain for my beautiful
daughter. Why?

We could have sat there for hours if it wasn’t for the fact that there behind
us, you were demanding our attention, in fact you were giggling at our tears and
when dad had hit the steering wheel with frustration you burst into loud
laughter. You didn’t care that they had diagnosed you, so what; you just carried
on with the same strength, courage and laughter you had done for the last four
years.

It was a revelation if you want to say that, Dad and I had a choice, we could
let ourselves be consumed by fear and maybe’s or we could follow your example and
live our lives the best way we could. You were my inspiration. Your sisters
reacted the same way I suppose, way to young to understand the implications of
the diagnoses all they could see was that Livvy was just Livvy, they were so
right.

Rett syndrome was what you had not who you were.

I’m not saying it was easy from then on, Dad and I cried at night in bed, the
dreams that you hold for your children had all been lost, you were never going
to university, and have your first kiss, fall in love, get married. Life for you
was going to be a struggle; you were going to suffer at times, how we so didn’t
want that. The sense of being inadequate was overwhelming. Our baby girl, why?
We had to let go of the dreams we had for you and make new ones. How you taught
us the way of living for the day, what a special lesson we learned.

I’m not going to say the fear of losing you was never in my mind, some days
it consumed me, I shook with it. Dad was better at copying than me with this,
though he tells me now it was just complete denial.

May 2005 we nearly lost you; your syndrome had added a new element to your
seizures severe breathing abnormalities. It came on so quick one minute we were
dealing with the run on the mill daily fits, next I was watching the hospital
staff trying to get you to breathe. The message had hit home, you weren’t going
to be here forever. The next 48 hours were hell we didn’t know if you were going
to survive, but you fought every step of the way, the inspiration you gave, how many
people could say they’ve been on a intensive care ward and watched a so called
seriously ill child laughing at the male Dr, laughing I say more like flirting
with you. You could spot a cute guy at 50 paces. You minx.

As we left the hospital  two weeks later after spending hours thinking this was
it. I left with a determination I didn’t know was in me. Who knows how long we
have here, life is not guaranteed. So we better get out there and make the most
of it.

We had always been an outgoing determined family, wasn’t going to let a
little thing like the fact you were severely disabled get in the way. We had
been places, thrown you in ball ponds, in oceans. No cotton wool treatment for
you, though I’m sure you would have slapped us if we had tried.

This was different though, this made me question a lot of my beliefs, our
faith kept us strong, knowing that life was eternal was a great strength and
comfort, ‘when the body gives up the spirit carries on’ is wonderful and
inspiring but I happen to love and adore that body. That wild curly hair that
never stayed tidy. Those piercing eyes that communicated all to us, which could
see deep into our souls.  Your fingers how soft they were as I held them tight.
My goodness how I love you.

It was a time for life affirming decisions, a way of stripping away layers in
who I was. I had to find my inner strength and stand and fight. It wasn’t easy,
despair was just around the corner, so many nights I just sat there watching you
sleep, thinking is this it?

Will I lose you today?

You young lady was a minx, whoever you met within five minutes were twisted
around your finger. The staff at your school loved you, they like us had
experienced the bad days when it had broke our hearts to see you struggle, but
just when our tears were going to fall, your mischievous side would show and
bring us laughter. How could we feel sorry for ourselves when you certainly
didn’t?

Your strength gave me strength. As a family we were as close as ever, we
realised the importance of making sure we told each other how we felt, the words
I love you were said with real meaning.

Gosh how we laughed with you, shopping was an adventure, if you weren’t shoplifting into your wheelchair, you were kicking people who got in your way right up the bum. I mean didn’t they see you!
You took no shortcuts on life, you lived it. The Dr told us you wouldn’t walk
again, so my goodness you walked. People tell us it was due to our strength, but
you can drag a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. You were so strong,
so amazing. Everything at double speed, we now know why, you had to pack in as
much as you could. We took you camping you tried to escape from the tent. Ice
skating the faster you could spin round that rink the better, canoeing you
wanted the oar to paddle yourself, donkey riding, the way you had Amber at your
beck and call. Tractor driving, this list could be endless.

Your light shone so bright, you taught us all so much, your sisters are so
loving and kind, they really care for others. They have so more understanding on life
than children of the same age. Yes since losing you they have suffered maybe
more than others, but they wouldn’t give up one moment of their time with you
for freedom from their pain. They tell me they would do it all again in an
instant. You and your sisters are amazing; Dad and I glow with pride.

The last year of your life had been so dramatic with its highs and lows, you
walked independently for the first time since the seizures, but your abnormal
breathing was getting worse. I saw your sadness, you hated the way you couldn’t
get your breath, fear in your eyes, yet still you tried to smile.

The day your body died, I remember holding you, so peaceful and still. You
hadn’t been still. Your body moving no matter how much you didn’t want it to.
Now you were still with a beautiful smile on your face Peace.

Our faith and belief gives us the knowledge that only the body died that day,
November 7th 2008 will be a date that will never leave our minds or our hearts.
No more smiles, no more twinkle in your eyes, no more Livvy as we could
physically see. But we knew we hadn’t lost you completely. We know that your spirit
is eternal and that our mischievous Tinkerbell will always be with us. We also
know that you had lived your life to the full, you have achieved so much, gave
so much and taught so many.

Now it’s your turn to fly to be free, free from the syndrome that consumed your
body, from the aching pain in your joints, the fear from your seizures and
breathing.

You are free.

Brodie and I sat today talking about you as we often do and we were wondering
what you had been up to today. We decided that after eating a lovely breakfast
you had been for a swim in gorgeous warm sea, played in the sand. Then you went
horse riding and galloped as fast as you could. You then had a delicious dinner
as we know you love your food, in the afternoon you had gone for a walk in the
woods as you love trees just like me, and then in Brodie’s words you sat
“playing with fairies and rabbits” and had a nap on the grass. You then visited
a room full of wondrous books and sat quietly and still for a read, you love
books, and you sitting still meant a lot. You then had a tasty tea, a Jacuzzi
followed by warm bath filled with bubbles. Then at bedtime you snuggled in a big
princess bed. A lovely day you had young lady.

It does sound great, but part of me thinks that although I know all those
things are there for you, today you were in the paddling pool with your sisters,
running in the garden with them. Close to us all.

Olivia Georgia Meredith not a minute goes by when I don’t miss you, I have no
regrets, having you as my beautiful daughter was such a gift. Gosh we had bad
times, but inner strength you have shown and given me. The true meaning of the
word love, the amazing way of really living life. Some people say you came to
teach, to me you came to give your love, your joy, your strength your
inspiration. I thank God every day for the gift he gave me in you. Some people
offered me pity when then heard of your condition. I pity them in a way as they
never got to experience the innocence of a child who laughed just because.

Who loved just because!

That’s a great way to live life, just because.

No reasons needed, no questions asked, or answered, just because.

I’m not going to tell you that some days my grief doesn’t overwhelm me of
course it does. The physical missing of you has left such an ocean in my life.
Your sisters still cry, Dad still gets angry. We were talking about our grief
today, and I asked the question what would Livvy do if we cried all the time
and didn’t live our lives to the full. Kennedy said it perfectly “she would kick
our butts”. Oh you so would.

I’m struggling to find the words to bring this to an end, I’m not sure if
it’s an essay for you, about you or a letter to you. One word I couldn’t end it
with is goodbye because that word means leaving. I know you haven’t left us; you are
just out of sight for a while.

So I’m going to end this with,
See you soon

and of course I love you to the moon, stars and back again.

Mom xxxx

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I’m at Cybermummy 2011

Oh my goodness I’ve done it. I made it through the doors. It is amazing, overwhelming and exciting at the same time.

The brands are all so welcoming. So far I have only really chatted to Lego Duplo, Boots and Butlins. I’ve also totally fell in love with a pair of crocs for Brodie. Their new winter styles are gorgeous and so funky.

Anyway I’m here!

So many bloggers in one place, let the revolution begin.

I’m on my way to Cybermummy 2011

As I type this I am sitting in first class on my way to London Euston. I have left a sad Brodie in tears at the station. They had to have teachers training today, was hoping to escape under the cover of school.

How do I feel? Slighty like an awful mother but in truth nervously excited. Not sure what the next few days are going to bring me but I look forward to them with anticipation.

I’m hoping to learn a lot about the art of blogging, maybe get some direction on how or where to take this blog. I’m especially looking forward to the Blogger activist workshop as this is where my heart lies.

I’m nervous about actually meeting people, it’s a lot different chatting via twitter than it is face to face, but I’m sure it will be fine. So excited to be spending time with Simply Hayley too.

So if you see me tomorrow hiding up a corner, come say hi.

Cybermummy 2011

I should be so excited but to be honest I feel sick. Cybermummy 2011 is only two days away and yes I have my ticket ready but my heart is beating so fast I feel it may explode before I even make the train.

Can you tell I’m nervous? I feel like a fraud going to be honest. There are all these great bloggers out there and then there is me. I write whatever is in my head. This blog is my own personal therapy.

I am wondering what it will be like? Are the people from the blogs I read going to be how I imagined? I feel like I know these people yet the truth is I don’t. That is freaking me out a little, strangers but not.

The workshops look great, there will be brands there too. Not sure I will have the confidence to approach any but hey ho. Maybe I will slip my card into a pile and just hope for the best. Marketing myself has never been my strong point. I get lost around the point people start mentioning statistics.
Or what’s your blog about? My answer is simply “whatever is in my head today”.

It’s going to be an experience that’s for sure. I also get to escape child free for two days and spend some time with my best friend.

So yes I am looking forward to it in a nervous sick to my stomach way. It will be a personal challenge for me, writing is easy, talking is another thing all together.

So if you are going to be there this weekend I’m looking forward to meeting you. One more thing, there is coffee right ???

 

Having to adapt

I feel ashamed of myself. Yesterday as we celebrated my daughters fifteenth birthday I was in a rather awful mood. I’m told no one noticed but I know my heart wasn’t in the right place.

As I watched my daughter open her presents and cards my heart was heavy. She is growing up and I don’t like it.

Don’t get me wrong she is beautiful, incredibly talented and at times the most frustrating child I have ever known. Yet she isn’t a baby anymore. In three years time she will be an adult.

I sat myself down for a talking to. Why was I so sad? Was I jealous of the life she has yet to live? No I’m excited to see where destiny takes her.

The truth is I’m scared, she doesn’t need me as much anymore. She can feed, clothe herself. She is venturing out in to the big wild world and yes I hate it.

From the moment I knew i was expecting I have protected this child all my children now I’m reaching the point in life where I cannot protect them always. It scares me silly.

Although you will hear me state that I am more that just a mum. Being a mother has completed me and while I know that I will always be their mum my role is changing. Slowly but surely they are all edging towards adulthood and independence. Even my ten year old tells me ‘she isn’t a baby anymore’. But the truth be told they will always be my babies.

I have a period of adaptation before me. I have to encourage their independence their growth and I also have to do it with a smile.

I’m trying!

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My baby girl

Fifteen years ago today I held my daughter in my arms after 15 hours of labour. I was there holding this beautiful chubby baby in my arms. I remember looking down at this child and thinking “wow she is mine”.

My first child, my first daughter.

 

Now that cute little baby is now a beautiful young lady who makes me so proud in all that she does. Her dedication to her schooling makes me proud, her voice his one of an angel and brings me to tears. Don’t take my word check her out.

Happy Birthday Kennedy, my beautiful first-born. I love you so much.

Mums on three

 Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending a event for the three ‘On the Go campaign’ in Birmingham. Check it out here, on there Facebook page.

The whole workshop was about getting moms together and looking at designing an app that would be beneficial in our daily lives.

 

All mums together

 

I must admit I was surprised how attached I have become to my Smartphone. I use it as a camera, for social networking, the calendar, meal planner and for blogging all that of course along with making phone calls or sending texts.

I’m also finding out how useful it is to get me from A to B though my next gift to myself will be a car holder so I can use the sat navigation features more. My list of uses to be honest could be endless, I use it to read books, surf the net, do my shopping I also play games on it though only scrabble and bubble shooter as I’m far from a gamer. My daughter also uses it as a mirror to check her makeup, teenagers ha ha.

To be honest I’m in love and while physically I’m sure I could survive without it emotionally may be a different matter.

Anyway I digress nothing new for me there but let’s get back to the three event.

The perfect app for busy mums!

Statics show that half of all UK mums (48 per cent) admit to going online in the depths of the night just to get everything done.

Research confirms that mums are always on the go, with most mums (82 per cent) now having less than an hour of me time a day, leaving the majority of mums (78 per cent) stressed on a daily basis.

But the market for applications is growing daily with some amazing and useful ones out there. So seriously were we going to be able to bring something new to the scene?

Our first task was to write down on post it notes your daily tasks, one thing per note of what you need to do each day. I confess I was horrified at the results

Our daily tasks

Yet even after this I realised I had missed out so much more. Besides my charity work being a foster carer and a parent the roles of taxi driver to two teenagers and being a wife got completely overlooked. My poor husband, but that’s another blog post.

I wasn’t alone each women in that room found themselves wishing they had a couple more hours in the day.

After chatting for a while about current apps and ideas we were set into groups and given the challenge of creating the perfect app for busy people everywhere.

I loved it, the group was full of some great ideas and inspiration flowed. After the joining of the groups together we designed what I believe is the perfect app. In fact I so want it NOW. Yes you can imagine me stamping my feet .

Now the Birmingham team app goes forward and will be unveiled at a later date with four others from workshops around the country. Then it will be up to you the general public to vote via Facebook for your favourite one. How exciting. I will update you after the competition starts with information on how to vote for mine no sorry I mean your favourite application. But while you wait pop over to the ‘mums on the go’ Facebook page and take a look. Don’t forget when you are over there to enter their great competition to win an amazing Caribbean holiday.

As for me I off to continue my love affair with my smart phone and hopefully remember to pick up my girls and show my hubby some love.