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Friends are Godís way of looking after us. I love spending time with close friends Ė just chatting or even just sitting quietly and enjoying being in each otherís company. Whenever I feel stressed, or irritable, or fed up, just being with close friends instantly makes me feel better. I come away feeling like my emotional reserves have had a big boost and generally much happier with the world. I love the fact that I can just relax Ė thereís no pressure to be the life and soul of the party Ė just the invitation to come and sit and just be myself.
If everyone in the world got along with each other, the world would be a much happier place. Trying to draw up a table plan for my wedding would also be a lot less stressful! Itís a headache trying to keep families together, trying to make sure that one group isnít on the same table as people they donít get along with, trying to sit individuals who wonít know anyone with people they will be able to chat to and have something in common with. For the first time, Iíve really started to wonder whether we should have just eloped.
It was such a lovely spring afternoon that I decided to take a more scenic route home and go for a bit of a drive. Whilst driving down one of the country lanes, I saw a warning sign which read ďHeavy Plant CrossingĒ (which always leaves me with visions of Audrey IIís crossing the road). About 50 yards further down the road, lo and behold, there was a plant pot in the road. Unfortunately it must have been a plant who didnít know his Green Cross Code as the pot was empty and there was no sign of the plant.
Yesterday was my great-nephew Eliís christening. Despite being on call, I managed to make the trip back home to be there. It was great to see so many members of the family Ė at one point in the pub afterwards, I was sitting with six of my siblings and we were all reminiscing about things that had happened whilst we were growing up and laughing about them. Itís not often that we get that many of us together at one time and it was so nice to look back over the past and remember all the funny things that weíd done.
Some friendships can last a lifetime, whereas others are just there for a time and a season. It can be hard to accept sometimes that a friendship has moved on, that people change in different ways and can be close to you one moment and almost a stranger the next. Sometimes the change is so gradual that one day you suddenly wake up and realise that what you thought was friendship is really nothing more than the ghost of the relationship that once was and all that is left are the beautiful memories of the times and fun once shared.
Sitting still and watching a birthing woman is amazing. Itís not easy Ė the temptation to be active, to verbally encourage, to be doing something is always there. Seeing a woman gradually go into her own world and draw on her inner strength, focusing only on her partner for support and reassurance during contractions is awe-inspiring. And then when she births her baby, seeing her joy at what she has achieved is magical. I feel that moments when I am at my most invisible in a birthing room are those when I most understand the true meaning of being ďwith womanĒ.
Itís been a busy week Ė one of those weeks where home becomes a place where I can just about manage to eat, sleep and shower (the first two being in somewhat short supply). Working in maternity services means having a certain amount of unpredictability to my job, although not usually to the extent where every day of the week becomes turned upside-down in some fashion. Fortunately I have a weekend off booked for my birthday to recharge my batteries (my physical and emotional reserves are running on empty at the moment) and hopefully things will calm down after the weekend!
Itís my last day of being in my twenties Ė tomorrow is my 30th birthday. Iím quite relieved that I have managed to get through my twenties without finding any grey hairs (my siblings werenít so lucky!!) although I have to confess to embracing the wonders of anti-aging cream already! I really canít believe my twenties have flown by so quickly and whilst my 21st birthday doesnít seem all that long ago Ė it some respects it feels like a lifetime ago Ė my life has changed so much since then. Iím looking forward to partying tomorrow night with my friends and family.
Iíve been spending my birthday preparing for the party and trying to sort out some wedding things whilst I have my friends around. Weíve been spending most of the today cutting, buttering and filling 400 rolls (thank goodness for Gillian arriving earlier than anticipated and being very willing to help out!) and vol-au-vents (the rest of the food being prepared by various friends and family members), the bridesmaids are trying on their dresses and Michael is taking food to the hall. We are having a fancy dress party with disco and karaoke and I have cracked open the wine already!
Had such a fantastic time at my 30th birthday party last night Ė it is always great to be able to spend time with friends and family. There were a few very interesting fancy dress costumes Ė one of my brothers turned up as a Transformer (walking on stilts inside the costume) and one of my nephews turned up on his horse dressed up as Robin Hood. We gave up on the karaoke quite early in the evening due to technical problems but the disco was great, if a bit loud (does complaining about the noise levels means that Iím getting old?!)
There are now just two months to go until the wedding and weíve still got to book a videographer and DJ. Fortunately Michael seems to have made a little more progress on those tasks today, so weíve now got a couple of potential options. Weíve been spending the evening working on a few wedding-related tasks Ė ordering favour boxes and table decorations, updating the guest list and working out which group shots we want the photographer to take (and trying to keep them to a minimum!) Things seem to be coming together, but thereís still a few things left to do!
Today I had one of those tap lessons where my feet just wonít seem to do what my brain wants them to do! I know most of the routines for our exam class in my head, but just canít seem to get them right when we go through them which is very frustrating. Weíve started practising facing away from the mirrors now that the exam is becoming more of a reality Ė turning the routine around 90 degrees really shouldnít make that much difference as the steps are exactly the same but somehow it suddenly seems to be much more difficult.
Some people have the ability to walk into a room and instantly become the focus of attention. When they speak, people stop and listen; if theyíve had their haircut or bought a new outfit, people notice. Iím not one of those people. My particular skill appears to be the ability to walk into a room full of people and become invisible. When Iím with a group of people engaged in conversation, it often takes me several attempts at saying something before I can make myself heard. The trouble is the more it happens, the harder it is to keep trying.
Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my dad would play piano and my mum would always be singing. My twin and I had piano lessons, my brother would play keyboard in his room. Itís something that Michael grew up with too and now every so often, Iíll be playing the piano and heíll come in and sing, and then want to play the piano so Iíll be the one singing, or playing flute, and before we know it, an hour or so has gone by.
Itís going to be a busy weekend with another wedding to look forward to tomorrow. My best friend is getting married and I am going to be her maid of honour. I have got the day off work but am on call overnight tonight and have a client in early labour (was hoping sheíd labour earlier this week, but no such luck!) Still, if Iím up all night, I will be helping to make my friend look even more fabulous tomorrow by being a somewhat haggard-looking, sleep-deprived bridesmaid! Hopefully it will be a quick labour and Iíll manage some sleep.
My day started at 3am with a call to go out and attend a beautiful (and quick) waterbirth. I managed to get home in time to have a quick nap before getting ready to head off for my friendís wedding so am not feeling too frazzled (but might be by midnight tonight!) Today will be the third time for me being a maid of honour/chief bridesmaid (previous times being for my friend Cait and my twin sister) and I think at least the eighth time being a bridesmaid (although am not sure Iíve remembered all the times from my childhood).
It was a lovely wedding. The showers cleared up and the sun came out in time for Tanyís arrival at the church and for the photos afterwards. There were so many beautiful moments: the moment when Tany came downstairs in her dress looking absolutely stunning; the way she and Phil looked at each other when saying their vows (as if they were the only two people in the church); the pride in Tanyís dadís voice during his speech and the look of relief on both Tany and Philís faces when they managed to get through their first dance routinely successfully!
Junior Church was very interesting yesterday. We started off on the theme of friendship, but the discussion ended up evolving into their views on Sunday services and what they want from a service, which is quite different to what we currently do. However, trying to encourage them to think how they could try to introduce some small changes and be more involved only prompted the response ďItíll never workĒ which is a shame. Itís left me with some food for thought for future Junior Church sessions Ė trying to discover more about they want, and making sure their voices are heard.
Having now managed to find a videographer and DJ, it seemed as though our wedding plans were on track. Today we have had a bit of a hiccup with regards to my transport to the wedding. Michaelís dad had originally offered to restore his old Aston Martin but, after a few weeks, realised that he wouldnít be able to restore it in time. One of his friends had a similar Aston and offered this as an alternative, but now with less than two months to go has retracted this offer so weíre having to investigate other options for wedding cars.
Traffic jams are stressful enough without other drivers becoming rude and aggressive. I have spent far too many hours today stuck in traffic with other drivers beeping their horns, making rude gestures and shouting at me to move out of their way when Iím virtually bumper to bumper with the car in front and havenít got anywhere to move to. Having a Spring Harvest sticker on the back of my car has done wonders at stopping me from making equally rude gestures in retaliation but the whole experience is unpleasant and has reminded me again why I dislike city life.
Itís been a really tough day for various reasons (my dad being in hospital, Michaelís trip to LA suddenly being brought forward and extended) but fortunately there have been a couple of good moments to make the day a little better. Michael got a letter this afternoon confirming that after seven years he has finally been awarded his PhD and is now Dr George Ė hooray! Itís been a long slog (we wondered for a while if it was ever going to happen!) but Iím so pleased and proud of him Ė canít believe Iím actually now going to marry a doctor!
Went home to see my dad as he is in hospital at the moment after having a fall last week. He has Parkinsonís and dementia, but also is disabled due to having an artificial leg as well. It was really hard going to see him today as he was a little confused (fortunately much better than yesterday though) and wondering where my mum was and wanting to go home. On the plus side, the doctors have now realised that my mum needs help looking after him so will be arranging for a carer to come in once he goes home.
Michael is now en route to LA and will be away for the next two weeks. He was originally supposed to be going on Thursday but found out a couple of days ago that some of the equipment being shipped over for the event he is working on was damaged in transit and so he is having to go early to try and find replacement equipment. I really hate it when he has to go away, particularly when it is for this long but am feeling surprisingly calm about it given the emotional rollercoaster of the last couple of days.
I love my family. Sometimes they drive me mad, but when things go wrong, everyone pulls together and supports each other. With my dad in hospital at the moment, everyone has been making sure my mum is okay and being supported before heading off to the hospital to visit my dad, cheer him up and make sure he is being looked after properly. I havenít been able to get back home and visit over the weekend due to work, but my mum and siblings have been phoning me with regular updates and reassuring me that my dad is doing well.
Iíve been taking advantage of Michael being away to give the flat a thorough spring clean, knowing that for the next few days at least, the flat will stay tidy! I love Michael dearly, but he is quite untidy Ė usually I manage to tolerate the clutter for a while and then every so often I get cross about it Ė at which point, Michael realises that it might be a good idea to do some cleaning! To be fair, he does help out if asked Ė itís just that he doesnít notice that the flat needs cleaning until I point it out!
There are just under seven weeks left to go before our wedding, and the various arrangements now seem to be coming together nicely with most of the important things now sorted out. I had a meeting booked at our reception venue this morning for the florist to see the venue and finalise details of the flowers. Our meeting started a little later than anticipated due to the florist having a burst tyre en route and having to stop and change the wheel, but the meeting was a productive one so thatís another task I can tick off the to-do list.
With Michael away in LA, I decided today that despite being on call, I just needed to go and see my family and visit my dad in hospital so I took a trip back home (whilst hoping that no-one went into labour!) When I arrived at the hospital, two of my brothers, a sister-in-law, brother-in-law and two nephews were already there and then another sister and brother-in-law arrived later on so itís good to see my dad is getting plenty of visitors. Itís looking like heíll be there for at least another week but hopefully will be back home soon.
Iíve been going through a period of feeling a bit low lately Ė probably brought on by being somewhat stressed with everything that is going on in my life and so Iím finding myself actively needing to focus on the positives at the moment so here are some things that have made me happy today:
ē Speaking to my mum and being told that my dad is doing well.
ē Michael phoning earlier this morning.
ē Not getting stuck in traffic jams on the way home.
ē Having a tidy flat.
ē Curling up on the sofa with a good book and a box of chocolate.
Iím back at my parentsí again this evening having had another trip home to see my family. I donít often get home quite this often Ė itís a shame that itís mostly because my dad is in hospital. Heís gradually improving, but the level of hospital care really could do with some improvements. Twice this week, heís not been helped to get washed and dressed before visiting started mid-afternoon and thereís been a few times now when his artificial leg hasnít been put on properly which makes physiotherapy sessions to get him walking again rather more challenging than they should be.
Today wasnít one of my dadís better days. He was quite sleepy during visiting hours and although he had a few moments where he was quite alert and chatty, most of the time he dozed in his chair and seemed a little more confused than he has been the last couple of times I have visited. It was a lovely sunny day so we wheeled him downstairs to the courtyard to sit in the garden (where he seemed a little less confused). My sisters have been great with supporting my mum Ė I wish I lived closer and could help too.
Several people at church this morning asked me how the wedding preparations were going and then commented on how calm and unstressed I appeared about everything. Iím definitely not feeling calm underneath though with everything else that is going on right now, wedding preparations are low on my list of concerns. Still, my mum tells me that my dad was a little bit brighter today, and I have a good support network who would be there if only I would let them (and knowing that people in my old church back home are also praying for my dad is helping).
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