3 Weeks Today

I am getting married for the first time in my life. Yep, I will have made it to 39 (birthday on Monday) without ever having tied the knot. This post is going to be ever so slightly self indulgent as I actually think it has finally set in that it is going to happen.

I have never even been close before. I raised Joshua and Elizabeth on my own and was content to do so. Their father was physically abusive towards me (broken cheekbone, several broken arms, head through a wall  – you get the gitst). BUT! Yes, finally, 3 weeks today I am marrying my first ever boyfriend.

I was not a particularly pleasant teenager. My Mum worked nights and my father was a raging alcoholic, so from the age of about 13 I was out of control. Drink, drugs, you name it. We moved towns on my 15th birthday (I am still in the same town now) and when I was 16 my parents threw me out of the house. Looking back, I genuinely don’t blame them but I have raised my children differently knowing the consequences.

I got crappy bedsit, for anyone who has read The L Shaped Room you will get what I mean and a job in the local takeaway. A couple used to come in fairly regularly and one night asked would I be interested in babysitting their two young daughters so they could have a bit more time out together. Believe you and me, I jumped at the chance – for some normal family life to just dip in and out of.

So, I began babysitting for the couple’s daughters who were absolutely adorable. I am still in contact with them today. Their Dad came from a very big family (one of 16 brothers and sisters) so there were always people coming and going.

Anyway, one day I went up to babysit and as I was early they decided to go out early. One of Richard’s younger brothers was coming up the house to walk down with him, so he asked me to tell him which pub they would be in as hell, nobody had mobiles back then!

Just a side note, without Richard, the children’s father, I would literally have gone under or ended up committing suicide. I really was at an all time low at that point in my life. I owe him a debt of gratitude that I will never in a million years be able to repay. He gave me self worth, and made me feel like a human being again.

Back to the night out. There I am with the girls, I had them bathed and we were watching some dross on the telly having a tea party when the knock came at the door. If you hadn’t guessed already, there was Bert. Now people say there is no such thing as love at first sight but I would beg to differ. Bearing in mind, I was a full blown goth with waist length blonde hair (well, I had to be slightly different), there was this absolutely gorgeous blonde guy dressed so sharply and my gob quite literally hit the floor. The girls adored him and ran over to Uncle Bert so he came in for a little while to play with them and then went to meet Richard and his wife.

Let’s just say, the rest of the evening passed in a bit of a blur as I felt like I had been hit like a sledgehammer by this blonde vision at the door! Richard came home and quite literally said off the cuff  “oh, I see you met our Bert tonight”. I could have killed him! I have never been able to hide my feelings on my face and I think I went through many shades of pink to red to purple before I could splutter out a meek “yes”.

Well, that was it! Commence the taking of the piss of Sarah!! After that night, surprisingly Bert was there every time I went to babysit. I remember bathing the girls one night to come down and find him sat in the living room so took them up for a second bath because I was blushing so badly! Of course, Richard was of NO help whatsoever as he found it highly hilarious! Bert was (and actually still is) very shy so we hadn’t spoken much but it was more than obvious that I liked him.

I knew he was WAY out of my league – a well brought up guy from a stable family and me, with all my issues that I didn’t have enough tissues for. So, I resigned to admiring from afar. But god he was handsome. Just think Tim Roth Reservoir Dogs era if that kind of thing floats your boat.

Anyhoo, work beckoned on an early shift so I got there and there was a letter for me under the door which my boss had picked up for me. I picked it up and read it. Probably nearly fainted in the process, but no, it was a letter from Bert asking me out on a date and if I would like to go for a drink with him (I was 17 by then and he was 23, I still tease him to this day about taking underage girls out for drinks!). Only one problem. He still lived at home and had left me his phone number and what time he would be in to call if I wanted to go. Well duh, yes!!

I went up to Richard’s house as I didn’t have a phone and begged him to call for me as I was scared stiff who would answer the phone! I offered 10 free babysits but no, he literally rolled up and down the sofa as I stammered my way through the conversation! Fortunately Bert’s Mum picked up the phone and we just about managed to sort a time and a date out!

So, we started dating. Richard gave me the 3rd degree after our first date as his brother was so shy but conversation just came naturally to us. That first night he ran home at 5 am as we had been up talking all night and he had work at 7 am.

At the time I can say I was the happiest I had ever been in my life but all good things come to an end. I came home from work one night to find the few bits and bobs he had left at my bedsit gone. No explanation, nothing. Turns out that a girl that fancied him had spread a rumour so vile that he didn’t know what to do as I was his first girlfriend. I found out years later that Richard spent 18 months trying to get us back together but it just wasn’t to be.

Anyway, with what was left of my heart in even smaller pieces, I picked myself up, and built the highest wall I could around me. Nobody was ever going to get as close to me again and I stood by that.

Bert went off, got married to the girl that split us up (but he didn’t know it was her until a couple of years ago), they had 2 gorgeous children together and I genuinely wished him happiness. Just because I couldn’t have it, I wasn’t going to deny him it.

In 19 years I saw him once, from the back with his youngest son and literally ran the other way. He has a very distinct walk and I couldn’t face it as the love I had for him had never faded.

Ok, I will bring us up to 22nd March 2010 now. My back was at this point screwed and I was bedbound so the internet was the keeper of my sanity. Please excuse my obsession with dates but I have a photographic memory and it just helps me keep a handle on things. I opened Face Book and there was a friend request but I half recognised the name. Bert is obviously a nickname, but the surname is pretty distinct. It genuinely took me a good few minutes to work out which one it was aaaaaand then the penny dropped. It was Bert. We can safely say that mild panic set in!

I have to be honest, I didn’t accept straight away. The man who I had been in love with my entire life wanted to get in contact. I wasn’t entirely sure if I could open Pandora’s box. I sat on it for a week, and then caved in and accepted and did the usual “Nice to hear from you, hope you and the family are keeping well” and left it at that. Yeah, I was a big girl, I could cope with that. Or so I thought.

Of course he was on his computer at that exact time and the PM’s started, just catching up. Funny thing, he knew I had a back back but no children! It isn’t like I had hid them in a cupboard or anything! Turns out we had actually been living in the same small town for all that time and I had seen him just the once. He had seen me a couple of times but didn’t know what to say.

So, slowly, we would get to know each other again via PM on Face Book each night for a couple of hours. And then the decision had to be made. Do we meet up for coffee? We did. I remember choosing which one, and sat with my back to the door reading a book as I had turned up early (Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman) just in case you are interested! I didn’t see him come in but heard him when he got to the counter. He came and sat with me and one look in his eyes and I new things would go one way or the other. He has piercing blue eyes and I had the same feeling I did the day I opened the door to him 19 years beforehand.

The conversation flowed, we well and truly overstayed our allocated time that we had given ourselves and then dissected it via the internet that night.

Now, I know Bert is going to read this one day so this is a confession to him. I knew that I could never just be his “friend”. I was going to have to push him away before I got my heart broken again. I hasten to add, we were both single at the time, but I couldn’t go through it. So, I went to the off license, bought a bottle of Jack Daniels and composed the world’s longest email. I told him EVERYTHING. No stone left unturned. My battle with drink and drugs, my foster daughter committing suicide, my father abusing me, how I felt about him. Oh yeah, I let it out. I had to let him see what a selfish bitch I was and that I wouldn’t or couldn’t be his friend, much as I wanted to.

So, 2 am, I hit send and then had the WTF have I just done moment. I am very glad I did do it as he is such  a decent human being I felt he deserved better, even for a friend. So, the next day, apart from having the hangover from hell (I don’t drink) passed in a haze. I was up at a friends house when he text me asking if I was up for a natter that night. Of course I though he can’t have read the email so was like “Yeah, sure” thinking “Yeah, right!” more like it.

Anyway, he HAD read it and we sort of carried on in some weird limbo as we had been before, chatting away each night. I have never quite got my head round how that one worked but am not asking! OK – fast forwards to 1st May 2010 and I got a cryptic text – that he had something he would like to tell me. Given the luck I have had in my life, I was expecting him to say that he had found a lovely girl etc.

I have to be honest, by this point we had upgraded to MSN for chatting and would chat away into the small hours. Anyway, the 1st of May was a Saturday as I remember vividly watching some god awful act on Britain’s Got Talent and turning the TV off. So, texts sent, MSN fired up and we were off. My heart was pounding in my mouth and to be quite honest I felt sick to the pit of my stomach. But, the conversation was normal and then suddenly, at 1.46am on 2nd May 2010 I got the bombshell. He wanted to give us another go.

The words gob and smacked were the understatement of the moment. I was genuinely in shock. He felt the same as I did. Corny as it sounds, I would wait another 19 years for him. There really are some things worth waiting for. For the first time in my life I feel love. I am in love and am loved in return, unconditionally. Illness etc be damned, he picked me out of anyone he could have had.

So, 3 weeks today I will be married to the love of my life. It has taken me a while to get there but like I said, I would wait a lifetime for him again. I know I am going to cry as I say my vows in Church as I had always sworn that I would never marry but nothing in my life has ever felt this right.

So, if you have ever felt as though the world is against you, lonely, abused, frightened and that there is no way out, believe you and me, keep the faith. Good things can and do happen. And never settle for second best. I am actually listening to Adele’s Someone Like You as I write this and it still resonates, even though I have got my man. Yep, the tears are pouring down my face but for all the right reasons!

I would love to dedicate this to Richard for saving my life, and to Bert for completing it.

Sarah

 

My birthday came early!

Ok, confession time here. I don’t watch much TV, really do prefer films full stop but I do have one slight obsession. Supernatural. I can remember clearly in 2005 an ad catching my eye on TV, it was actually the song that accompanied it (The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen) but that is pretty irrelevant.

So, had a quick look at the ad and it was love at first sight. Well, praise be to Chuck and Cas (only anyone remotely interested will get that reference) Season 8 has arrived! I am going to save it for later for when I have been out but god, I can’t wait.

Fortunately my family know that my obsession is NOT to be interrupted at any time.

I have been there from the start, experienced the highs and lows of ‘The little show that could’. The writers strike that nearly took it off air, the untimely death of Kim Manners (Lazarus Rising still makes me bawl like a baby) and I will never give up. Apparently Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have signed up to Season 10 so fingers crossed. Ben Edlund is taking over as show runner as well as Sera Gamble did, he will probably take it in the right direction again.

Erik Kripke (the brains behind the operation) had mapped out a 5 season story arc so seasons 6 and 7 are a bit ad hoc, so yeah, I am 38 and bouncing on my bed with excitement to see where we are going to go from here.

To quote Jensen Ackles, the fandom is rabid! Yeah, we are all quite protective of ‘our’ show. I feel that I can say our with confidence as the team really do interact well with the fans. And as for Misha Collins? Well, THE finest introduction of a character to a series 4 seasons in.

And, on that, I am going to leave you with a quote from Ben Edlund.

“You have to love something before you can feel its loss”

Sarah

Christ, pass the Valium

I think we can safely say that today has not gone to plan. I am currently ensconced in my bed (well, more of a nest with a cot side in case I fall out – which I have done on several occasions) with just me, Bert at the other end of the baby monitor and Marvel films for company (currently on The Incredible Hulk if anyone is interested). Oh joy of joys. And as for the Valium? I wasn’t joking. It is 5pm and I got 2 hours sleep last night and you betcha, little sleep = lots of fits. Already had 4 today so far so am taking time out to have a bit of a release and break from them.

Well, the wedding dress fitting didn’t go to plan yesterday – my lovely (and I genuinely mean it) dressmaker called saying that the embroidery wasn’t finished so wedding dress fitting take 2 on Friday. At 10am – should be interesting! I am not normally able to get my legs moving until lunchtime!

Yesterday wasn’t a total bomb though, Mum, Bert and I went up to our main town and did some (more) shopping and had lunch out which was rather pleasant for a change. Sure as hell beats my normal routine of having to sit in bed whilst other people do things for me. If you haven’t already noticed, I am having a downer of a day.

So, on to brighter things. 3 weeks ago, we, and by that I mean me, my Mum, Joshua and Elizabeth thought that that was our family. My father drank himself to death a few years ago and it was a running joke that we could hold a family reunion in a broom cupboard. I know I am marrying into a big family, but that is besides the point. Anyway, Mum got a message out of the blue on Facebook asking about her Father. All we knew was that he abandoned her and my Grandmother when she was 2 and a half and that was the last we heard and presumed him dead (my Mum is 70). Well, seems not. Not that my Grandfather is dead, he most certainly is, but it turned out she had a younger brother who had been looking for her for 22 years.

As you can imagine, a bit of a shock to say the least! So, with phone numbers exchanged over the internet, Mum called her younger brother and he had a bit of a shock for her too. She doesn’t have one brother, or two, or three or four. She has 5! Yep, Mum went from being an only child to one of 6 in the space of 24 hours! Oh, and I get 11 cousins into the mix too. Pretty impressive for a day’s work.

Our new found family live a boat or plane ride away but have been beyond welcoming. We honestly had no idea they were out there as Mum had always forbidden me for looking for my Grandfather but they had known about her for 22 years and had never given up. I know it sounds like the kind of crap you would see on daytime TV, but to actually have it to you is unbelievable. My Uncles, Aunties and cousins have all been very helpful and tolerant of me – they all live close by and are from a big family. I am an only child, with two of my own so there is so much to take in. I do hasten to add, I nearly got Mum to sign an affidavit that I WAS an only child!

As I can’t travel at the moment, Mum is going over to see them before Christmas and hopefully I will make it over afterwards. Obviously apart from the wedding (3 weeks and 3 days, not that I am counting) I can’t wait to meet them all. One of my Uncle’s wife’s I have hit it off with really well and we email daily, just usual dross but I love it.

So, tomorrow, and I swear I am not lying, I am going to try and get the rest of the wedding invites out. I kid you not. Nothing like leaving it until the last minute. In my mitigation, I haven’t been at my best but I really should have pulled my finger out by now. Ah well, who turns up will turn up – as long as the Priest, Bert and I are there I am passed caring currently. I am sure I will feel differently tomorrow!

Apologies for this being all over the place, just how my brain works, but I had a Drs appointment yesterday. Now, for anyone that doesn’t know, if you have an infection, you are more susceptible to seizures. I am not quite sure who to thank for the chest infection that I am now thoroughly enjoying (or to quote Bert at 3am – “God, you are barking like a dog with that cough”) but if I make it up the aisle I will be impressed!

Just a general out loud thought but I can smell curry coming from the kitchen and urgh, it is making me want to puke! No doubt in about 25 minutes I am going to be asked what I would like for my tea (Bert is an absolute superstar, believe you and me, I couldn’t cope without him and wouldn’t cope without him) but I can absolutely guarantee that curry is NOT going to be top of the list! I have gone right off hot food since I had a fit face first into a bowl of chili and scalded my face funnily enough! Apparently there are tons of pictures of me on the families phones of me in states of seizures doing strange things (all with my prior permission, I hasten to add). I was introduced to ‘planking’ by one of them and it looked to all intents and purposes that I had joined in the craze, the only giveaway being I was unconscious as I had knocked myself out against the skirting board in the process!

Apparently the hilarity just gets better when I eat after I have taken my medication (I have to have it after food). I have no idea why but sometimes it just hits me like a brick wall and I try and feed my nose, eyes, you name it. Bert and I have been known to be sat together with me trying to feed my nose and him directing me ‘lower, lower, too low, up a bit’ – you get the picture (that I am NOT posting!!)

As for Leanne trying on her bridesmaids dress, I will leave that for another day as I don’t think there is enough Valium in the pharmacy to get me through that drama.

So, with tentative plans of delivering the last of the wedding invitations and (consults diary) bugger all else tomorrow and on a seizure count of 4, I bid thee farewell.

Sarah

It is official…

Not only is it my birthday a week today, but I am getting married this month too. I think we can safely say that slight panic is starting to set in. Thank god I haven’t got a reception to sort out – we are just having a simple Church do and then back to the house.

Everyone keeps asking what I want for my birthday but there is genuinely nothing that springs to mind, other than a new brain and a new back (hmm, might re write The Wizard of Oz on that front!). Just a quiet seizure free day with the family sounds like plan. Oh, I suppose and Indian meal wouldn’t go a miss, only the main problem is I am in the minority, everyone else prefers Chinese food. Might just stamp my foot down on that one!

So, the weekend. That was a revelation. We went up to our main town on a shopping expedition with my husband to be and my step son to be to get a few bits and bobs. And, I am sure you are on the edge of your seat, some more pyjamas for me. Somehow, I ended up £150 lighter – how the feck that happened I have no idea. Might be a combination of M&S, HMV, TK Maxx and the Irish version of Poundland (Dealz).

Urgh, just remembered, I was going to give you some of my thoughts on being in a wheelchair. This does fit in with the shopping trip quite well. One thing I have to say – people can be quite bloody rude! And you have NO idea how disorientating it is being that low down in shops. I can’t see where I am going at all! I have to get Bert (the OH) to go ahead of me so I can follow him. Same in all the shops really.

One thing I have noticed is the difference that men and women display towards me when I am in Lilith. Men? Couldn’t be more helpful. If there is something I can’t reach, they are super polite and ask if they can help (obviously not wanting to offend me, not that I am easily offended). Women (mainly the ones without prams)? Bloody animals! And don’t even get me started on the shop layouts. Men’s section? Fine. Women’s section? Christ, I would have more luck in the Crystal Maze!! Ok, I am specifically speaking about Marksies here but still. Ok, maybe I am being a bit harsh but I actually had a woman push me out of the way whilst I was looking at something? I mean, a simple excuse me would have done. I actually felt quite incensed at it all but fortunately one of the staff commented on it for me. Like I said, apparently my IQ dropped the moment I put my backside in Lilith. Note to self – put brakes on at all times and grow a thicker skin!

What was nice was being able to keep up with my boys. Normally they tear up and down the high street with me lolloping along behind them planning the shortest route possible. I am enjoying the freedom of not having to bother with that anymore.

Of course I managed to ruin a perfectly good day by having a 7 minute seizure in the car on the way home but it goes with the territory. Some of the seizures I can ‘push away’ almost if I really concentrate and I had been trying for an hour but once we were in the car, boom, off I went. Still feel like I have had a sledgehammer put through my forehead now.

Tonight is quite a big night for my second bridesmaid. My chief bridesmaid is my 16 year old daughter Elizabeth and I have seen her in her dress and it is currently at the dressmakers getting taken up. Tonight my other bridesmaid Leanne is going to try her dress on for the first time. I am keeping them at my Mum’s house so we are going round with her and her Mum (my SIL2B) so that she can have the pleasure of seeing her daughter in her dress for the first time. Then we can have the great unveiling in the living room afterwards.

I have good things planned for tomorrow, should be my final dress fitting for the wedding dress. Fingers crossed for no fits there please! The design is simple, shoulders and elbows covered as it is in a church – I was brought up in a Catholic country and some things just stick in your head. The wedding is on the 27th of this month so if I can woman up, pics may be incoming.

It is all starting to get so bloody real now, so close. When we decided to get married October seemed ages away yet here we are – 3 weeks on Saturday and I will be married for the first time. My father is dead so my son Joshua is giving me away- I think he is looking forwards to it a little TOO much! He has already rewritten a Red Hot Chilli Peppers song (Give It Away) to Give Mum Away to seranade to me down the aisle. Unfortunately, NONE of my family could hold a tune in a bucket with a lid so I just hope he does it very quietly!

I will probably go with a quick update tonight after Leanne has tried her dress on, so with a seizure count of 1 yesterday and none today, I shall sign off.

Sarah