Another Parenting Milestone.

Another parenting milestone, and not one I was ever looking forward to.

Its going to be my first Christmas without my boy. :'(

He had been gone almost eight weeks – the longest its ever been for me not to see him at all – and he was briefly home from working in Mozambique so I got to see him for a few days.
But this morning I dropped him off as they head back to the dive centre with a massive trailer full of supplies and groceries.
And as I pulled the car into the garage at home I suddenly started crying when I realised I don’t know when I will see him again.

He’s working all through Christmas, and new year, and when they do come back into South Africa for supplies, they don’t come all the way to Joburg.

I miss him a lot, and I can talk to him on the phone, but its not nearly the same.

I Miss You, My Daddy Darling

20081026_6455

August 7th 2016 was the 46th anniversary of my mommy and daddy darling “going steady”. It was also the day my daddy darling died.

My dad was “Uncle Duck” to many, many people, a larger than life personality who made friends wherever he was, drawing you in to his space and making you laugh. Able to discuss almost any subject, my dad’s general knowledge was vast, yet you never felt like he was trying to lecture you.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding with my dad in attendance, you would have found yourself being fed peach schnapps on the dance floor, and you couldn’t say no!
And he was a prankster too!
My BBF and I spent weekends and school holidays in each other’s homes, and one weekend we were riding bikes when Gen took a tumble, grazing her knee badly on the gravel. We limped home, and she sat in the bath as we rinsed stones and grit from the cuts on her knee. Then my dad appeared, full of concern, with a tin of mercurochrome spray. He gently patted Gen’s injuries dry, spritzing a little of the spray on her knee as he worked, and then before she could blink he sprayed a bright orange-red stripe of mercurochrome from her knee to her ankle! She went to school like that for a week before it finally washed off properly!

My dad’s family was his treasure. He loved nothing more than spending time with all of us together, and any occasion was a reason to get together. I have treasured childhood memories of me and my sister B as little girls, gallivanting to the movies with my dad, just us three, watching The Fox and the Hound and Bambi on the big screen. He loved tradition! He dressed up as Santa to hand out Christmas presents. He went to great lengths to hide Easter eggs for his children and grandchildren to hunt in the garden. We were given bicycles for our 8th birthday, a good quality watch for our 14th birthday, and sometimes for sport – a tin of condensed milk and a box of jelly powder wrapped in newspaper, like he got as a schoolboy.
I remember one time, he and my mom caught and painstakingly painted doors and windows on a couple of garden snails, so that we little girls could “find them” in the garden and see the snails carrying their own houses!

When I was raising my knucklehead on my own, my dad was there if I needed him. No matter how hard it was for him to be a father figure for my son as well as being his grampa, he never let me down.

My daddy darling, you can be proud. My life is filled with happy, treasured memories of us.

I miss you so much.

And I will be careful, always.

Daddy Darling…

Today is fathers day, and as soon as I think about it I start crying.

20160605_132304

My daddy darling has always been my hero.
When I got my drivers license, the first thing my dad taught me to do was change a tyre, and that has served me well a few times. If any of us got stuck somewhere, my dad would come and get us at the drop of a hat. When we lived at home, and went gallivanting, my dad would stay awake until we got home and he was sure we were safe. My dad went to school meetings with me when I was a single mom with an ADHD son and couldn’t face another judgmental panel of teachers.
I had a couple of boyfriends, and one of them described my dad as “a big oke with a gun” as my dad was wearing his big revolver when they first met. My dad loved torturing our suitors, who had to come to the house and ask my dad’s permission to take us out. My dad would sit in his chair, all big and intimidating, then going down the passage to his room and laughing his head off at the boy’s sweating in silence while trying to pluck up the courage to speak to him.
And now he looks small and frail… :'(

what-is-dementia

My daddy darling is being stolen from us. Its a little at a time, but its happening really fast. 🙁
Special days – Christmas, birthdays, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Easter – were big occasions for my dad, and he loved celebrating them with all of us. We didn’t make plans to spend Fathers Day together this year, as it seems having too many visitors and people in and out in a day stresses my dad too much. :'(
I don’t know if he even knows its Fathers Day today.
He’s confused and fearful and sad. My mommy darling can’t be out of his sight for more than a minute without him panicking. He’s not sleeping, restless and wandering around the house. He can’t use the TV remote anymore. He keeps asking my mom when they’re going home.

I wish Dementia was a person so I could smack it upside the head and tell it to fuck off.
I’m angry and frustrated.
I don’t think I have never felt so helpless in my life.

A whilst part of me doesn’t want to talk about it, another part of me wants to talk to everyone about it.
And every time I think about what is happening to my dad, I start crying. I feel like I am already mourning my dad, but he’s still here, and it is so confusing.

IMG_20160531_234626

I see a rack full of Asterix comics in a bookshop and I start crying. I see a Clint Eastwood movie or a war movie on the TV guide and I start crying. I get excited about feeding the birds in my garden – a love of bird watching in instilled by my dad, and I know he won’t remember us speaking about it.
I have caught myself speaking of my dad in the past tense already, but he’s still here…

Don’t Wait!

Four years ago, I got a phone call in the afternoon, after a completely normal, even pleasant day.
I was told that my six year old nephew, with whom I had a deep bond, had been killed in a car accident.
I didn’t stop crying for days. It still seems surreal. It still seems too incredible that I will never again hear his voice or talk to him.
I know that a part of the reason I still feel his loss and his absence so keenly, is because I allowed the anger and bitterness I feel towards his guardians to prevent me from at least talking to him on a regular basis. I regret it. I wish I could change it. I wish I could honour his memory and his nature with love and forgiveness.

In the preparation for his memorial service, we were looking for pictures of him through the many we had. Pictures of him with his father, him with his cousins, him with us, and I found lots of wonderful pictures of him with my knucklehead, and even a few with him and I together. I wished there were more. Those pictures are my treasures.

I realised with a start, during that exercise, that I had maybe a handful of pictures of my knucklehead and I together, and he was already a grown up! I had mostly been behind the camera while he was growing up, taking the pictures, but as is typical of many women – I had avoided the camera because I was too fat, had no make up on, was taking the picture… Whatever. And now it was too late to take those pictures.
I wish I had taken those pictures, or had someone take pictures of me with my boy. Pictures with bot of our faces in them.
Now I take a selfie with my son, or I hand my phone-slash-camera to someone else, every time I see him. I love these pictures.

BeFunky Collage

I also take selfies with my family when I see them – my mom and dad, my sisters, my gran… To me the pictures are very special. I know not everyone sees photos as all that important, preferring to make memories rather than take pictures, but my pictures are a part of my memories and I look at them often.

I never part company with my son, or my husband, or my parents and siblings, without telling them I love them. I never want to feel the heartache I feel now because I didn’t talk to them enough.

Don’t wait to take pictures of you and your children together. Selfies are fun. Play silly buggers in a photobooth. Celebrate special occasions. Don’t wait till you’ve done your hair or you’re better dressed.

You can’t go back.

Odontophobia, The Fear of Dentistry

I am a sufferer.

Its ridiculous because I can’t actually pinpoint a particular dentist appointment in my life where I was hurt by the dentist. I was about 10 when I got my first filling, and I remember the assistant wiping my tears out of my ears but I don’t remember actual pain… and as I’ve gotten older its gotten worse.

This afternoon my knucklehead had an appointment ‘coz his wisdom teeth are really bugging him, and as I have a few small problems with my teeth – nothing painful yet – I decided to book an appointment too.
I called the dentist last week to arrange a Dormicum scrip because just phoning to make myself an appointment gives me butterflies, and they called me back saying the Dentist wanted to see me first to see what needed to be done before he’d write a scrip. It took several phone calls to explain that I couldn’t even sit in the chair without the meds, no matter what needed doing, so he wrote me a scrip.
The chemist didn’t have the 15mg tablet I was prescribed and gave me two 7,5mg tablets instead, which I didn’t think would be a problem and I took them 50 minutes before my appointment.
But once my knucklehead was finished – having a wisdom tooth pulled IN THE CHAIR no less – the dentist told me to take a seat, and I was still wide awake… and I burst into tears.

My poor knucklehead has never seen that because I tried not to be in the chair if he had an appointment – and he has no problem with the dentist! When he was younger I would still be checking our details in reception and he would have slipped off down the passage and be sitting in the chair chatting to the dentist when I got there.
And I only found out about Dormicum when he was already 17 years old! I couldn’t believe no dentist had ever mentioned it before.
Needless to say there’s no twice-a-year check up for me.

My boy was so sweet. He put his arm around me and encouraged me to get in the chair so the dentist could just have a look, and he came and sat next to me and held my hand, trying to reassure me as I literally bawled and tried to push my body backwards through the chair.

The dentist was really nice too, trying to reassure me that he wasn’t going to hurt me, but even as he just had a look with the little round mirror and took X-rays I cried, gripping the arm of the chair and my son’s hand till my arms were white to the elbow.
He tried to ask if it was the needle I was afraid of and I spluttered that it was all of it. Then he said there was one small cavity he could fix without giving me a shot as it was only on the surface, and asked if he could try. I could barely acknowledge anything and as he started the drill he barely touched it to my tooth before I was sobbing and he just couldn’t work like that.
Then my darling Glugster arrived and immediately saw that the meds hadn’t worked like they should, and he held the hand my son wasn’t holding.
We tried to wait a bit to see if the meds would kick in but nothing changed and after a few minutes I left, I’ll make a new appointment when the tooth starts hurting me. 😛

Normally, when the Dormicum works like it should, I fall asleep in reception 20 minutes before my appointment and have to be guided into the chair. Apparently I talk a lot of nonsense and the dentist has to repeatedly tell me to open my mouth, but I’m not there and I remember nothing afterwards. Obviously I have to be driven to the dentist and then home again, and I sleep for several hours afterwards, but it doesn’t take me days to recover from the physical tension I experience without the meds!

I apologised to the dentist, who I am sure has seen this kind of behaviour before, and my Glugster drove us home. As Murphy would have it I fell asleep 5 minutes before we got home and slept for a couple of hours, but I remember the appointment in its entirety.
The dentist suggested we hire a type of anesthetist next time rather than using Dormicum, but that will be pricey as we have to pay the specialist up front and claim it back from the medical aid, so I think I’ll probably go with the Dormicum again when I have to go back – I’ll just make sure I get the 15mg tablet.
Thankfully I’m not stiff and achey this time since the poor dentist didn’t actually do anything.

How are you with dentist visits? Do you need to be medicated first?