I was apprehensive, only given my fragile state of mind. I'm not nuts or going loopy-doo but because I have very few friends in my locality (Hi, Sharon... that makes 1!!!) being in a room full of strong women meant that I shouldn't let down my guard and burden them with my personal insecurities.
And we all have them. I know because Dyan taught me this quote a while ago......
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle" -Philo of Alexandria
I do have very emotional anxieties over my daughter. Im a very fragile mummy. But Im not a stupid mummy. Its just that I don't have anyone who can relate fully to what we go through. And because I don't have a support unit to deal with it (and get to vent that so much) I knew it might have come splurging out at the weekend - given empathic ears! Its a lot for anyone to take in, so I thought I'd contain it as much as I could and be an ear for someone else instead (RE: the quote above!)
We all arrived at a teeny village called Gayle, near Hawes. It was pitch black so I had no idea what on earth the surroundings looked like. I could make out the shape of the house from the outside and it was gorgeous. Inside was quite sympathetically decorated except the lounge was a bit more modern. On the website it did appear that the dining room table was enormous. Er, no way! So we camped in the lounge and made effective use of quite a small space. And there were 8 of us! Before long the booze was in full flow and sing star/just dance was slammed into the wii and those that wanted to dance and sing, did and those that wanted to craft, did and those who wanted to veg - did! Party food, more booze and fair chatter lasted until 2.30 for me and I went to bed, sharing a room with Ali and Suzi. Worrying that any of snored was excused before we shut our eyes and not before long we woke up to a beautiful bright day. Opening the curtains was a treat. The village was beautiful. The hills were speckled with meting snow and the grey brick and slate of the cottages blended in beautifully with the countryside.
We ate communally and we all got along fine. GREAT, my biggest fear was sunk. Everyone was heard and everything was just nice. We all did our own thing but I crafted. I wanted to explore art journalling but not in the sense Dyan expresses herself. I prefer to build pretty pictures although I am opening up to the raw ideal of true journalling - just give me a few more weeks. I was quite happy to make things, share things and talk and listen. Phew...... I was coping really well. After lunch some of the girls wanted to visit the Wensleydale creamery so I gave them a lift as I needed a chaperon to excuse me for buying petrol in my jammies. I did not bring one item of normal clothing with me as my intention was to stay put. I wish I had of brought them because Wensleydale and Cranberry cheese is my favourite ever and I'd have loved to have seen that all being made. But still, with them at the creamery I took off back to the house to take shots of the tiniest village ever.... in my jammies!
The house, dating back to 1695!
Under the cutest bridge in the village
I put my camera on slow shutter speed (even hand held it....whoa!) to capture the river looking like velvety smoke)
Other parts of the river looking like sheet glass.
Isn't this view breathtaking?
and upstream...... **sigh**
I came back to the house and took snaps of the lovely nooks and crannies before settling back down to finish Dyan's birthday treat from me.
Id seen this idea on Jak Heaths blog the other day and knew exactly that I could recreate one for Dy. I'm so chuffed with it and have to make 2 or 3 more the the show this weekend (I'm on C&C at noon, on Saturday if you care to join me!). Aren't they delicious?
Before I knew it, it was tea time, lovely chatter and fun.
We ambled back into the lounge and everyone did their own thing again.... nobody complained and nobody sulked. It was just marvellous, to be honest. Late in the evening Sue asked us to join her outside for Chinese lantern lighting. It was such fun as a gust had started to brew and these lanterns needed calm! I seriously thought we were going to set the village alight.
LOL, it was so dark I couldn't focus with my camera - the 2 lanterns look like 4They are absolutely beautiful to watch rise into the air and gaze at as they drifted hundreds of feet into the air and travel as far away; to look like stars in the sky.
We came back in, watched a bit of tv and some girls danced on the wii, some crafted and some vegged. It was all quite liberating to feel that we didn't have to entertain each other, rather just ourselves. I crafted late into the night and sat alone with Dyan before going off to bed. It was our first private chat we had had in a while. She is so busy and I am so busy and I needed to talk with her as she really is such a good friend. She knows how I tick. I think she knows me more than my own family do. She is the most dearest friend I have and she has taught me so much with art and wisdom that I feel never going to be able to repay her with anything equally as inspiring. She is my friend-mum and she knows everything about Ellie and can convey how Im feeling to other people when Im too upset to explain. Everyone needs a friend like Dyan, she is a silk purse of everything life throws at you with answers to match.
We managed to let off some steam before I hit the hay and know I could rest without a dull ache in my stomach. I laid in and was the last up at 1115am - yeeks!!! When I got up everyone was gathering their things to go home and I was really sad. I hadn't planned to go so early and I wanted to do more of my book but still, that was selfish of me to be sad that they were leaving.
These are the pages and cover that I had decorated in my kraft page book:
He heeeee, Suzi Blu's class paid off with my hand drawn/coloured doll. I finally got to use Dy's Barn Doors (for gods sake Tim, it was a long time coming bringing that true red out in the distress inks line!) I love her. She is me and I love her. I don't mind sharing my journalling here. It reads "I wish I had wings. I'd not run away. Instead Id fly away so furiously that it would be beautiful". I'm going to do a whole series of these dolls, they are the best things I have learned to draw in the longest time.
Anyway, 5 girlies left which left Dyan, Marie and myself in the lounge. I didn't want to go home but knew there was a little girl at home with a surprise for me and homemade meatballs for tea (hand rolled by her!). I thought Id stay for a cup of tea with Dy and Marie and finish my lemon drizzle cake before I took the 2 hour journey home. It wasn't long before I was blubbing and breaking my heart and telling these girls how I was feeling and how Im so desperately trying to keep it together and how much I want people to stop and listen and empathise and appreciate what an awful battle we are fighting and how its hurts not to be heard and how horrible it is when people mistake your please for help as a plea for pity. My god, it was quite liberating to spew that out. It didn't solve anything but it released the months of pressure that has been aching in my heart and my chest and my bones. Dy's heard it a million times from me but Marie? I didn't even know Marie before Friday and there she sat on the sofa......listening.
I wish I could describe Marie to you without sound like I am in love with the woman because I barely know her. But I'll give it a go. Marie, the whole time we were there, contributed so much expression and philosophy and sensible explanations to all of our thoughts and conversations that I thought it almost impossible someone could be so valuable. The more I listened to her empathy, her advice and calm voice, the more I thought that this woman was not of this earth. I seriously thought she was an apparition; even a figment of my imagination. She was totally mesmerising to listen to and I didn't hear her contributing her own thoughts and insecurities to any of us. It was like she was there to soak up all our crap and in return chew it up and recycle it back into words we were so desperate to hear. I mean, if you could buy a machine that did that, there wouldn't be a standard to measure a price on it. She was also fun loving, a tease and a real tonic - a real centre piece at the party. Although she wasn't employed to be the crap eater/entertainer, it felt like she was the soul of the group and I liked her very much. She made my weekend, to be honest and the prize of meeting new friends.
That, of course, is not to say everyone else played such a lovely part. Ali, Suzi, Sue, Dyan,Jay and Emmy all contributed to the party in equal, bite sized measure. Together, as a group, it was empowering because it makes you realise you are not fighting a forgotten, lonely, battle; we all indeed have our own to conquer. You just need to be attuned to it, open up to it and fight it all together.
I bet Julius Caesar would have pooped himself if he had of come up against us.
I got home to one very excited pooch, a lovely girl with wild curls and jammies and a husband who was very patient and very understanding. I opened my mothers day card from Ellie and was treated to the best cuddles and kisses. She bought me an Orchid to nurture (plants and I have a habit of not getting along) and had helped Mark prepare fresh meatballs (Gordon Ramsay style) and home made marinara sauce with pasta and gazza bread. I can't tell you how gorgeous it was but if you got a whiff my burps right now, you would know it contained lots of garlic... YUM!
After Ellie and I had bathed she lay on my bed with me for a cuddle and a chat and I looked at her angelic face and the cheeky giggles she was throwing at me and thought to myself that I am lucky to have that little girl in my life. No matter what we go though, she is such a happy child who doesn't let her problems affect her as much as they affect me. She is my cub and I'll always be that mummy who just loved her too much....too too much and the more she learns that now, the less she will forget it it in future. Not many 14 year-olds would spend the time together as mother and child like we do and in lots of ways its beautiful, it really is. It is tinged with sadness but what the hell, she is alive and makes me feel valid...... so with the beauty of that feeling, I feel its time for some changes around here. And if it wasn't for this weekend, I wouldn't have thought about those changes. Now that's empowering.