Wishing you the best!

Let me start this by telling you I mean you no harm. I am not trying or wanting to hurt or shame you in any way and I am trying my hardest to wish you my absolute best at the moment.

I just need to say what I feel today. I need to because my feelings are escaping me and entering into other parts of my life where they do not belong. 

I have to tell you, you let me down. Yes, I can hear you now saying that you haven’t done anything of the sort, we got divorced years ago. Yes you’re right, I’m happy about that, but we had a child. 

Yesterday our son told me he’d like to change his name. As you know, we kept your name but now he doesn’t want it. 

I told him that if he did decide to change it, I would change mine too. I only kept it because I wanted the same name as him, but we couldn’t decide what would we call ourselves. I sort of married my father, a replica anyway, so if we went back to my maiden name it wouldn’t be that much of a statement. We talked about my mothers maiden name, it didn’t sound right, we could make one up, we just couldn’t decide. 

Today he wasn’t so bothered, he had decided he liked his name, he’d got used to it and it didn’t really connect with you if you weren’t about. I don’t mind mine, there is no rush or plan to change it just yet.

I have to tell you, you were always fine as an absent father, we managed. No, we did magnificently, we got over it. That is, until you decided to hold out, I don’t know what you would call it, an invitation, the hand of friendship, god knows. But he believed it, our sensitive, trusting boy believed his dad wanted to know him at last, did you bollocks!

You talked about how important it was for you to know your son, how much he meant to you, how you wanted to make up for lost time. I was over the moon, I fell for it too. I think maybe, I hoped.

I never tried to turn him against you, I had seen friends do this with their kids but I hoped that whatever relationship we might have had, it might be different for him. I told him he was born in love, I thought he was.

He dared hold out his hand back, he asked you for help. You have him platitudes, you gave him hope but you didn’t give him anything he needed. You have his telephone number, don’t you?

It didn’t go unnoticed by either of us when you proudly shared a post about ‘your eldest’ on Facebook. Only she’s not your eldest is she, you forgot our boy.

You held out that hand and snatched it away, you bastard. There are no why’s and wherefores to this post, you won’t read it anyway. I’m not going into any detail on all the things you haven’t done either, because I’m proud of what I’ve done. I just wish you had never shown your face again, he was fine without you.

If I can make any good out of this, I can tell him that it’s a lesson, a hard one, but one that will make a difference, you see all the hard ones do. If I could tell you anything it would be, you’re a disappointment but I’m trying hard at the moment to wish you all the best.


After the Bullies

I watch from the window as you walk down the quiet street.  I’m tucked away in case you look around, I don’t want you to see me up here.  You walk stiffly, shoulders bent and head down, your arms straight and tight by your side.  Those arms should be swinging, you should look comfortable in your body, your head should be high and you should be at your full and beautiful size my wonderful girl.

I see you pause and I look beyond you, to see what has distracted you from your path.  I see the gang of teenage girls, younger than you are now, sitting upon the wall up ahead.  They wouldn’t appear threatening to many people, but to you I know they are a huge obstacle.  You stop for just a moment, I think you might turn around and return home but you cross the road to distance yourself from the group.  They don’t even notice you as you pass on the other side of the street, but I’m sure it doesn’t feel like that to you.  I’m sure just like me you’re holding your breath, waiting for a shout or something to be thrown.  There, my love its over, you made it and they are sure to be gone by your return in an hour, if not you can walk on the other side again, no one will notice.

I hate the bullies that did this to you, took away your teenage years when you should be laughing and maybe like the other girls sitting on the wall talking about boy bands and boyfriends.  I hate the fact that many of your hours are spent in your room with the curtains closed, listening to that awful music and writing in your diary.  I wish you didn’t wear black all the time, I really think you could do with some colour in your life.

Your diary shouts at me from across your room, spews out your hurt, it screams loudly your loss.  I would never open the cover and look but I can feel the pain inside those pages, feel your loneliness and hear your anger. 

I would take away your pain in a moment, carry it for you and more on top if I thought it would give you your youth back.  I know you will overcome this one day, know that you will have a wonderful life.  You are just too lovely not to and like attracts like in the end my darling I promise.

I’m still at the window just over an hour later as you return.  I duck behind the curtain as I see you turn the corner.  It has been a long hour for both of us but you won’t know that I have been watching for you as I sit down with my feet curled under me and open my book.    

A Wallop for Christmas

Christmas, and I was happily meandering through the lanes in Brighton. I was relaxed and soaking up the festive atmosphere, until that was I heard a loud yell from behind. As I turned I saw a woman with what I can only describe as a look of absolute rage upon her face, appearing as if she might explode like a bomb at any moment. Her hair was wild and framed a face that was red and swollen, and eyes that appeared to be almost popping from the sockets, almost sitting on her cheekbones. She grabbed the arm of the young girl with her and propelled her forward and in front of her into the crowd, like you might throw something very heavy. ‘You just wait until I get you home my girl’ she growled at the child as she pushed past me. They were walking very quickly, almost running with the young girl looking up at what I assumed was her mother with a pleading and frightened look on her face. The woman had terrified me, breaking into my day with what felt like a slap around the head with a negativity and anger that radiated from her very presence. I could do nothing but watch as I saw them turn the corner that led away from the main drag. I knew the girl was in for it, didn’t know what she had done but recognised that her mother was out of control and was very likely to lash out at the child or anyone that interfered. I guessed she would, as she had said wait until she got home.

What would the child learn from a good beating, that her mother was bigger and stronger, that you use your size to instill fear into those who are weaker. Would she grow up believing that to raise children would mean raising your hand or even your fist. I wondered when it would stop, when the spirit was beaten from the child or when the child was big enough to hit back.

I don’t and won’t ever agree with hitting children and can’t find any excuse for it, however many radio shows I listen to or articles I read that try and persuade me otherwise. I find it unbelievable how many intelligent people see no wrong with smacking as a punishment or to instill discipline. That so many informed and well-respected people still say ‘it never did me any harm’ is absolutely beyond me. Common sense and basic intelligence surely tell us that to hurt another human being because we don’t agree with their actions is wrong. That a child might learn not to repeat behaviour because they fear being hit still does not teach the child the behaviour is wrong and why, it teaches the child fear. When we can find no other way to deal with our children’s behaviour than hitting out we have lost control ourselves, it teaches our children that it is okay to lash out when things don’t go the way they would like. I know there are a lot more resources in the parenting toolbox.

I wondered what good would these beliefs do me now as I looked at the corner the mother and child had turned. Would she listen to reason if I chased after her or would I by interfering make the situation worse for the child. I know that other people had noticed, you couldn’t not, but the moment had passed and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shoppers resumed as if the incident had never happened.

I gathered myself and started to run towards the corner they had turned into. As I turned I caught sight of them in the distance and called out ‘wait’ continuing as I shouted, to run towards them. The mother stopped and turned, her body rigid and I felt ready to attack. I do not know how I did it but I plastered a smile across my face, laughing as I caught up. ‘I’m so pleased I caught you’ I said as we stood face to face, me smiling and her looking absolutely livid. ‘You dropped this’ I said as I held out a five-pound note, ‘I saw it fall from your coat pocket as you passed me’. I saw a change in her expression, confusion, as she knew she hadn’t dropped it and definite suspicion of my motives. ‘I nearly didn’t chase you’ I said ‘ I thought it was my lucky day, finding a fiver’. Adding ‘but then I thought about it being Christmas and being a mother myself, I felt you wouldn’t want to loose a fiver you could use for your children’. There was silence for a few moments, I could see her mind turning, could she have had five pounds in her pocket she had forgotten about. She took it from my hand with a quiet ‘thanks’ and glanced at the young girl standing with her. ‘I bet you’re pleased your mum hasn’t lost her money’ I said to the child with a big smile ‘what with all the treats she will probably be buying for you’. The girl smiled looking from me to her mother and I saw a different look between them. It seemed and I hope that the anger had subsided, I had interrupted it and replaced it with a gift, and the mothers face had softened. ‘ Well have a lovely Christmas’ I said as I walked back to the main street without the money I had put in my pocket earlier for a coffee.

I carried on my walk thinking about the incident, had I done the right thing. It certainly wouldn’t have taught the woman anything but then I don’t think she would have listened to reason at that time. I hope I reframed things for them and their day got better.