I think it was John Lennon that said ” life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans” and this morning I finally understand that quote. I mean I always understood what he meant as an intellectual exercise but until today I didn’t really feel that it applied to me. 

To put it into context, I moved a box of old photographs ( I can do that now after that stupid hernia repair) and an old photograph fell out. The photograph is of me aged 21, I was at university and ready for yet another night out, I’m relaxed , happy and smiling . I didn’t have a care in the world. Jack immediately recognised me but followed it with ” what happened ?” I just laughed and said ” life mate” . But as I was showering Jack I did think to myself , yeah what happened? 

When I look in the mirror I don’t recognise the old trout looking back at me, last week I accidentally looked in the magnifying side of the mirror and almost screamed. I mean I know I’m getting on a bit but I had quite the surprise when I clocked the ” laughter lines” around my eyes, I mean surely nothing is that fecking funny? 

I thought back to my younger self. Kathy Collins was what my dear Nan would describe as a hell of a girl, there is nothing that I wouldn’t drink/ smoke/ try, these days my idea of risk taking is sneezing without clenching my pelvic floor. Gone are the days when I would be on my way to a job interview, bump into my mate Kev, end up in the pub and turn up to the interview as pissed as a fart ( obviously I didn’t get the job) these days I’m a responsible adult. 

Having Jack and Lucy made me grow up pretty damn quick. I know that parenthood makes the majority of us grow up quickly but when you have a child with a disability I think you reach a level of maturity that you didn’t think possible. Don’t get me wrong I still laugh at childish things but for the most part I’m quite sensible these days. I have two children who depend on me for literally everything, they are in no way and never will be independent. But that’s ok. 

My days are spent cleaning people up, feeding people, negotiating with people who make impossible demands ( I would be a great hostage negotiator I think) measuring out and administering medication , dressing and undressing people and carting the Christmas cow and fox the wolf everywhere we go. 

Before I had children I decreed that my children would not control my life, would only eat organic food and never have a tantrum in public. Let’s all take a minute to laugh about that 🙄

Sometimes I feel that in the middle of this heavy caring responsibility that I have lost myself. I mean I am a parent carer, a wife, a daughter, an employee, a friend, a cousin ( I’m an only child) and somewhere in the middle of that I am an individual. I always feel guilty that I don’t give enough time to people. I am constantly exhausted . 

Having kids like mine is not always the best for your self esteem. Jack is always telling me my hair needs dying, he touches my face and tells me I have a beard like santa, recently he pulled up my top in Tesco and started singing ” jelly belly” of course my hands were full so I couldn’t really do anything. Lucy is forever shaking my belly and shouting ” wobble wobble ” . But then they tell me they love me and I’m the best mother in the world and I immediately forget the rest. 

As I sit here typing this whilst wearing my reading glasses ( because I’ve reached the age that I need them) listening to Lucy being a growling bear and thinking of all the funny things the kids say and do I realise that Kathy Collins is still in there somewhere , I mean the kids have got their eccentricity from somewhere right? 

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