Thursday, 26 May 2011

A single mum's special day.

I'll let you into a little secret: it's my birthday this weekend. Regular readers may remember what a big kid I am at Christmas yet birthdays are a different story, mixing feelings of mild excitement - we are still talking presents, after all - and minor dread. Dread that, as with most of us, my actual age - the one facing me in the mirror - in no way matches the one in my head. I know ageing is all part of the natural process, and better than the alternative, blah, blah, but birthdays force focus on the numerics like no other day. And, birthdays highlight another issue too.

As all single parents will know, any event or occasion is down to us to organise, even our own birthdays. It breaks my heart when I recall mine just a month after I split with the DD's father. It was the least of my concerns that year, yet when I put them to bed the night before, DD1 looked up at me anxiously, and said "Mummy, it's your birthday tomorrow, what do we do?" Unknown to me, they had presents but didn't know the 'drill' for a birthday, as the adults had always led the charge. To their credit they are (almost!) as happy to celebrate my special day as they are their own. They just need me to tell them what we are doing, what we are eating, who we are seeing, should they buy a cake or can they make one, where do I keep the candles etc. All the stuff they're used to me sorting for theirs. Oh, to have time off from being the grown up, to be able to sit and be the carefree teenager I am in my head for this one day whilst someone else picks up the slack! (Just for one day, mind...)

But I'm not complaining. It's an overused, yet apt, sentiment that to estimate ones worth we should look at how much is left if we take away everything money can buy. With my kids, friends and family, I am stinking rich and very lucky.

So I will stop feeling sorry for my ageing bones, greying hair and the fact that this birthday finds me wearing reading glasses for the first time ever *stifled sob*.  On Saturday morning, I will be woken by giggling outside my bedroom door and loud 'sssshs', designed to do the exact opposite, and a half-spilt cup of tea will appear (which I will discreetly 'Vanish' from the beige stairs carpet later). Homemade cards, painted stones, pictures and collages, bundles of carefully chosen gorgeous things and donated precious items wrapped in pretty paper with mismatched ribbon will plop onto my duvet. My darling girls will pile into bed next to me, argue over what I should open first, then give a running commentary on who chose what and why. Later, friends will pop in, my lovely mum will sing 'happy birthday' down the phone, we will eat cake, and I will feel loved and special.

Sunday will find me a year older and starting preparations for the fast approaching DD1's birthday, the wish list for which I have already received because it's an extra special one this year. So, actually I should just get over myself, stopping focusing on the wrinkles, and face up to the fact that theirs are the only birthdays that really count anyway.

Monday, 2 May 2011

I've got a crush and I'm not afraid to admit it

Hands up who had a crush on Donny Osmond or the Bay City Rollers? Maybe David Cassidy was more your thing? My own obscure crush was the curly blonde bombshell that was Peter Frampton after I saw him in the Sgt Pepper film with the Bee Gees and it was instant love. I can still remember the delicious certainty that the song lyrics were written and sung just for me, about how my love for my victim, oops, object of my affection, would never die. Bedroom walls were bedecked with posters and snogging was practised on album covers – much firmer I found as the posters used to go soggy after a while. And during Top of the Pops if my little brother so much as murmured during “Baby I love your way” I'd have gouged his eyes out with a teaspoon.

Now I am a fully fledged grown up - I have the gravy jug to prove it - and my love for Jon Bon Jovi is no secret to regular readers. But in my more lucid moments, I have to accept he is unattainable. He's married with kids and is never in one place for very long. Not really the best start to a proper relationship. No, Jon is up there on his pedestal keeping Rob Lowe, Gerard Butler and Patrick Dempsey company. I happen to think though that my boys are some of the least embarrassing people to have crushes on. I mean, have you looked at them lately? Like fine wine, so much better with age.

But I know two grown women who have huge, gallumping crushes on… I can barely type it… Michael Ball. In fact, one of these women has the following in her workplace: a calendar, mug, framed portrait, an embroidered silk cushion, and various pictures all paying homage to Mr Ball. She has even been known to wear a shirt with Michael’s name embroidered on the breast pocket.

Another friend has seriously saucy dreams about Will Young (the fact that he’s gay means nothing to her), another lusts after Richard Hammond (only since the  crash - eh?) and yet another bought a life size photo of Vigo Mortesan  from Lord of the Rings and hung it over her bed. Her husband left shortly after. 

Perhaps crushes are our way of maintaining that lighthearted, fluttering emotion we experience at the beginning of a relationship before real life takes over and we are trawling around Halfords on a Saturday afternoon looking for roof boxes with our men. Who wouldn't prefer an emotionally attuned god of rock ?  Or god of stage and cross-dressing? And I guess it's only fair that the boys get Angelina or Jennifer to counter-balance all those hours spent pretending to care whether those cushion covers match the sofa.

Though I am not as prone to developing crushes as you might think, I have recently developed a new little one which is embarrassing for an entirely different reason. Because to admit the new object of my affection I have to admit to doing something which I haven't even confessed to my best friends: Micky Norcross - 'The Only Way is Essex'- you have been warned!