Here we go again

Every year, around about this time, I get a little bit distracted. Not because there’s anything going on with my family, but because it’s close to the birthday of a special girl. I had a dream about her last night. I haven’t seen her for five years – almost to the day. And in one month she’ll be 12 years old.

As her ex-step-mother, I have no right to see her, or any access to be able to see her and I miss her terribly. (I have blogged about her before). I often wonder how she’s doing. I wonder how she’s growing up? Whether she’s enjoying school. Whether she’s a bright spark, a sporty miss or whether she’s just not enjoying it at all. Has she got a boyfriend? But, most of all I wonder whether she’s happy.

Unfortunately, I’ll think about her now every day until after her birthday. A little bit of me wondering if/whether/should I send her a card and if I do will it actually reach her. I know where she lives, but her mother always resented my presence in K’s life. I have my doubts whether the previous cards (birthday and christmas) ever got there.

K has a brother too. I miss him, but my relationship with him wasn’t the same. There wasn’t the same connection between us, as he’d been older when Daddy introduced his new girlfriend. K had been a baby. He was six. He was conflicted and torn between his loyalty to his Mother and the fact that he thought I was cool. Wherever he is, I hope he is happy too.

So, to all you step-parents out there – past and present – I’m sending you hugs. It’s not easy. And it’s hard if you create a bond which you lose. We all know that the rewards are high for step-parents when things are good, but very few blogs I read talk about this side of it.

The UK is Snowbound?

The past week has been dominated by headlines of “UK snowbound” and “UK grinds to a halt” etc. There’s been widespread snow and falling temperatures over the past week in the UK. My parents have snow drifts up to 3m in height. I have three inches of snow outside the front door. My parents have been making a daily 80-mile round trip to see friends. I’ve been to work three times. The difference? Being used to the weather. And, being correctly equipped.

My first memory of living in the remote Glen (Glen Brerachan), I was 13 years old. Resentful. Wilful. Highly spirited. Disgusted that my parents would make me live in such a remote location. And then Winter hit us. We had white outs – I’d never heard of them before. We had snow drifts so deep that you could build ‘snow holes’ in them and hide. It was warmer inside the snowdrift than out. People abandoned their cars and walked to the nearest house, where they were welcomed as old friends (whether or not they were total strangers) and the entire community pulled together to make sure that old, young and needy were taken care of.

That year, I had three and a half weeks off school. The main road was closed for weeks. We had to wait for the local authority to bring a snow cutter into the Glen to cut through the massive three plus metre snow drifts. Even when the snow cutter arrived, we had longer to wait as there were cars abandoned inside snow drifts. Meanwhile, the community rallied around each other. The shepherd, Chic, loaded up his wife, collected lists of groceries from various households and drove in his Zeter (Russian brand of tractor) 20 miles to the nearest town. I learned to ski. It was the only way for me to get to the school bus.

I remember walking with my mum to the nearest village – 4 miles away – through the frozen snowdrifts to pick up essentials. It was a total winter wonderland.

Over the past 10 -15 years, the Winters haven’t really been that bad. They’ve eased somewhat and we ‘Glenners’ have defined this as ‘global warming’ – until now. To have heavy snow, as it’s been this week, as heavy as it is, is completely different. Unheard of. It would be OK in January. February even. But November? No way.

Today, in my Glen it was -22 degrees. My parents have  snow drifts that are three metres high and one of their cars is buried. They have to run the heating 24 x 7 just to maintain a bit of warmth in the house.

I worry about them constantly.

And I feel guilty when I complain that I’m cold. I’ve been in the South too long. I’ve gone soft. It’s 21 degrees in my lounge. I know my parents are about to go to bed and I know that their bedroom is a mere 6 degrees.

My parents have heating, thankfully. I will make sure that they’ll always have heating, but other, older people, don’t have a ‘me-type’ to help out and it’s not cheap to stay warm. What do they do?

Happy Birthday Kaiko

Tomorrow, 9th July, it’s the birthday of a very special little girl and I’m unable to celebrate with her, or wish her a very Happy Birthday. So, I’ll blog about her. Tomorrow she’ll be 11 yrs old. I remember meeting her for the first time – a screaming baby, in a car seat, carried by a Dad who was not confident with the screaming child. She and I became friends.

It’s four years since I last saw her, but I think of her often. Such a special girl. She’ll always have a place in my heart.

I can only hope that she remembers me, and remembers the fun, the laughs and the good times.

Miss K Kaiko, I miss you kiddo. Happy Birthday.

I blogged about being a step parent previously here –

Consultant visit

Today I met a new consultant about a long-standing health issue. Unlike my GP (all three GPs from the surgery in the village), the consultant examined me, went through my medical history with a fine tooth comb and listened when I told him of the side-effects I experience with the drugs prescribed by my GP. Immediately, he offered other alternatives and didn’t try to convince me to go down the drugs route.

The end result is surgery. No, don’t frown. It’s not unexpected. In fact, I kind of thought it would be the option he proposed. I’m not worried by it, in fact, last time I had surgery ‘things’ were a lot easier and more acceptible to live with for quite a while.

The thing that made me frown was around the subject of conception. Babies. Specifically – me having children. Apparently, it is still an option – despite being told years ago that the window for me was a narrow window (and would have closed years ago).

Dazed, confused, shocked, stunned, emotional and numb.

Where to now?

It’s getting louder

Today, one of the girls in the office announced she’s pregnant. I’m absolutely delighted for her. At the same time, that damn clock started ticking again. Watching her beam from ear to ear and revel in the moment, all I could hear was that clock. I could see into the future everyone cooing over the new baby, and me…detached from it all. How can you grieve for something you’ve never had? Is that what this is?

Nothing to it, just have to get on. It is what it is, right?

Diary of a step-parent

I’m very fortunate that my BF has two gorgeous little boys. They are adorable. I love spending time with them, and over the years have come to understand that my relationship with ‘step-children’ is something that needs a lot of care and attention. Lucky for me that BF and I have been able to manage the relationship well, and that the boys are so open about their feelings. It gives us a clear view on how to handle any situation.¬†

I’ve been a ‘step-parent’ before too. But, unfortunately, when the relationship with the ‘real parent’ ended, so did the relationship with the children. It wasn’t a choice I made. It certainly wasn’t something I wanted. But, something I had to accept.

It’s been a while now – several birthdays and Christmas’ have been missed. The kids are older and it’s not easy for me. I haven’t seen them for some time and I often wonder what they think and how they feel.

As an ‘ex-step-parent’ you have no right to any contact with the children once the relationship ends. None whatsoever. I have often thought about the effect that has on the children…Suddenly, a once very prominent figure in their lives is gone forever.