I love Saturday mornings! We all get out of bed…well…whenever, really. I get myself a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee and head back to bed. This half an hour is like a balm to my very soul. Yes, I know, that sounds a bit extreme, but without a half an hour to myself each morning I do not feel set up for the day.
Around ten or eleven, Charlotte, Lillie (if she’s around) and Ads come sauntering into the kitchen. Without me asking, the girls start chopping the fruit, Ads starts to fry the bacon and I begin to make the waffles, first making a dairy and gluten free batch and then beginning on the normal batch. Abigail and Becca wander in around half way through to lay the table, setting out the yogurt and maple syrup and honey.
When we are all done with our various jobs we settle down for the real business of the day: Waffles en masse! We began this over lockdown and it is my favourite morning of the week. I love that everyone helps out, that a conversation begun in the kitchen continues around the table. I love the rhythm and beauty of it all:
It’s been cool to have Lillie back! She and Charlotte attempted to give Abigail the blue hair she has wanted for ages. Fortunately it was only semi permanent because it turned green gradually over time!
I am not a mum who strongly and bravely puts her own struggles to one side. My mum did that and I never knew how she suffered until after the event, by which point it was always too late for me to do anything (or if I couldn’t do anything, then to simply be there for her). Her strength robbed me of being able to love her when it really mattered. I am neither strong nor brave. My feelings are written all over my face. I do not seem to be able to hide anything.
As I have mentioned before, menopause sucks! I do not recognise who I am anymore. One minute I am so hot I need to climb into the freezer and the next minute I want to crawl into the stove. I am laughing and being my normal merry, silly self and then ten minutes later I am crying about what a terrible mother I am. Thing is, nothing happened in the interim to suggest any reasons for my total eclipse of any-sort-of-sense-what-so-ever. Tears turn on like a tap and turn off by, well I simply don’t know, so I just have to wait until they stop of their own accord.
I am like frankinclaire. I know not what belongs to the very odd Claire which sometimes takes possession of the very normal Claire. Sigh. And (yes there’s more) because I have never not shown any feelings to my family before, I am horribly prepared to not do so now. Really, I do feel the most sensible decision is to run away. Perhaps I could hide on a tax evasion island in the Caribbean and rename it Menopause Evasion Island. I could come back when it’s all over? But no. Apparently I must stay and parent. And wife. And friend…or whatever the right verb is.
And just when I feel the sirens of Menopause Evasion Island getting so loud that I do not feel I can do anything but run towards them, my children happen. My wonderful, forgiving, thoughtful, incredible children, who still love me even though I’m not really me at the moment. But they throw a ‘We love you’ party so than I will know no matter which Claire I am, I will always be their mummy:
In fact, they wrote about one hundred reasons why they love me. Many of the reasons are because I have always been there for them, throughout the good times and the bad. And I hear the silent message they are trying to communicate. A silent message which drowns out those siren calls, and which tells me that no matter the version of Claire, they love me anyway.
In being unable to hide how I am feeling, my children can bless me with their love. Weakness is never really weakness, is it? It’s just an opportunity to love the person who is struggling just a little bit firmer, a little bit more exuberantly and a little bit more thoroughly. Because we were never meant to be alone, struggling on Menopause Island or any other island. We are meant to in fellowship, supporting one another, loving one another. It’s why God put us in families, in churches and in communities.
We used to have two of the friendliest most wonderful cats in the whole of history. We had them for twenty odd years. George and Lucy. We now have two of the most unfriendliest cats in the whole world. However, there are chinks showing in their armour. Each month that goes by is accompanied by a cat who is a little more interested in being part of the family rather than the leader and ruler of said family. I managed to capture such a moment for posterity. He was a cat who wanted to be stroked. It did not matter to him whether I was busy trying to help Becca with a presentation. Oh no no no. If cat wants stroked, cat gets stroked…we shall make them into cuddly cats yet!
Whilst Abigail was dying her hair blue (or, more accurate, green), Becca cut hers! She decided she wanted a fringe. Suddenly she looks sixteen. I do not like my eleven year old looking sixteen! She looks gorgeous (of course) but come on! I only gave birth to her yesterday….and today she looks sixteen. Sigh. I’m not just menopausal. I’m old and menopausal!!
Ads and I often chat whilst I’m cooking. He sits on the stool, strokes the dog and chats! Harvey loves a good stroke so is very very happy❤️
Just a few photos of my almost grown up children (plus Ads!):
And one last one of Lillie with her boyfriend comparing muscles at the gym!!
Happy happy days, in spite of the hormones ❤️