2 weeks until the end of the year.
Blimey, how did that happen? It feels like you blink and the kids are a foot taller, the seasons have flown by and life has rolled on again as I was simply catching my breath.
But winter is here, the time when one year becomes another, the house is adorned in twinkling lights, the dimness of which helps mask the fact I have not cleaned for weeks. A fake tree stands to attention in the centre of the lounge, and cute little snowman with puppy shaped teeth marks in their legs dangle from every shelf.
It has been another epic year.
Facebook kindly offered to share my 2016 in images, it was shite. I politely pressed decline and thought I could do better in words.
This time last year I was building up to a Christmas that scared me, the ex was coming for the day, it was going to be tough, but part of me still felt it was better than being alone. It was tough; the kids loved it, it was the right thing to do.
We began 2016 on a child’s ward, I recall being cross that I didn’t even get breakfast.
This year, Christmas is a whole different affair. It will be in my home, the one I own, the one that is 200 miles away from where I waited anxiously last year. It seems madness to think that this time last year I had no idea I was going to move my children back home to the north; so much has changed, life has rolled on.
The usual frustrations still remain, 2016 was another flurry of hospital trips and 2017 looks set to be the same. However, the stress surrounding this seems to have dissipated as the years go on. The kids have “conditions”, Owen will need surgery again come January, and for the next two years as it stands. Libby-Sue seems free of all ailments, barr an annual hip check and her teeth are falling out at an alarming rate.
Molly, my Molly, still has it harder than she should. Her diabetes is a beast, I don’t recall when I last slept through the night, when she had a day that didn’t involve a crushing low or a soaring high. She has fought a flare of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her feet this summer and won, only for it to cruelly reappear in her wrist last month. More physio, more pain, more just getting on with it.
Perhaps I lied when I said the stress was dissipating, perhaps I just don’t notice it as much any more.
In other news, 2016 saw a return to dating.
God, nearly 40 and going on first dates. Dating wasn’t even a thing back in my day, you literally ‘got off’ with someone, then started seeing them, and at some point one of you ‘packed in’ the other. Or you got married, had kids, and in my case, divorced.
But the dating…
I’ve met a chap who wanted to fix me. Apparently my reluctance to send emoticons with a kissing symbol, and to refuse a virtual hug means I am colder than Elsa. He wanted to be my therapist and hot water bottle. Thankfully, I recognise I don’t need the first and I can’t stand a warm bed.
Then the ideal man, an athlete with a love of good food. His pictures showed him to be a fine specimen of a man, I worn my tightest pair of spanx for the date.
Turned out, the gym and him had fallen out a year before, and the love of good food had become more than a hobby. But, the pictures he chose to use were those from the past, when he had a beautiful ripped ass. It shouldn’t be about how you look, but you should be able to see what someone actually looks like before you turn up and say hi!
It has not been a great year for dates. But I end the year with a collection of penis shots from Tinder, some crack pot messages from Plenty of Fish, and £35 quid lighter thanks to an invoice from Match.
I’m done with the internet dating; blokes are weird, I am waiting for a referral from a friend, plus I have a puppy to keep me company at night.
It will be what we make, I have learnt as the years have never gone as planned that it is not an annual thing. You can’t rid yourself of demons as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, nor can you wipe the board and start again.
You can simply be, enjoy the good times, survive the bad, cuddle your small people close and marvel at how quickly they grow.
Be happy, find a way.
This year, we have ditched Christmas cards, I think they make me more miserable to write than the joy they give when received. I’ll donate to charity, that makes me feel fuzzy inside. I hope my friends and family know that doesn’t need to be Christmas for me to think of them often.
I think this may be my last post of the year, I could be wrong, but in case it is, to those who read these ramblings, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and of course a Happy New Year.