Thursday 27 September 2018

She-Hulk and the Teen Button-Presser

There was a time when I was known for my temper.  I could erupt quickly and nastily and no one near me was safe.  I thought that time was long behind me.  But as my children move into their teenage years, I find my oldest at 15, has found some buttons that can switch the rage back on.  I thought those buttons had been lost in the mists of time, or at least buried so deep in the recesses of my mind that I would never see them again.  But she has deftly and easily uncovered them again, pressing them with abundance and setting off the fury, turning me into someone I am ashamed of.

I grew up in a household where my mum was very free with the use of her fists and various kitchen implements.  She was young, frustrated and perhaps traumatized from a lack of love and a mother in her own life.  In turn, it made me quick with my insults and my own hands, as my poor siblings will attest to. 

I never thought much of my temper and never cared much about the effect on other people.  That was until I married the kindest, most loving and most patient man.  They say that “Love brings up everything unlike itself for the purpose of healing and release.” (A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman).  I can attest to the truth of this in my marriage, my husband’s love and patience meant that I began to release some of the anger, much of it in his direction in the beginning.  I began to see the harm it could cause.  Certainly, once I had my daughter, my precious first-born, I realised that I couldn’t carry on as I once had.

I left Little Lady when she was two and Little Man at eleven months old to go for Hajj with my husband.  As the multitudes circles the Kabah and asked Allah (SWT) for what they needed, I asked for one thing.  I begged Allah (SWT) to help me control my temper, to be kind and gentle and to not hurt those I loved the most and who deserved it the least: my husband and child. 

I didn’t feel the affect immediately.  But over the following years, I felt myself mellow and become calmer.  I found options to manage my emotions, children and life that didn’t involve hitting, shouting and blowing my top (the shouting did still happen sometimes). 

I thought I had cracked it, I thought I had a good relationship with my children and I enjoyed being their mum. But life has a way of humbling you and giving you reasons to crawl back to Allah (SWT) on your knees and beg for help.

Perhaps this is that time.  The buttons get pressed and the she-hulk comes out again leaving me a mess and asking myself how I could have coped with this situation differently.  How do I support my child, how do I listen properly?  When do I Iet go and say I have done my best and when do I straighten my back and say I deserve better, I won’t be spoken to like that?  Where do I hold my tongue for the sake of nurturing this relationship and where do I speak up to guide my loved one away from what’s wrong?

Today I was tired and anxious and craving some quit time, and the she-hulk came out a little too quick.  I sent everyone to bed in a harsh way when perhaps I should have gathered them close and loved them until I felt soothed and they had had their hearts fill and gone to bed themselves.  I don’t know, but I suspect it would have been better than sitting on my own feeling guilty and ashamed and thinking about what damage I might have caused.  If there is anything good to come out of it, it gave me time to pause and reflect.

In the end I called LL in and sat with her in a while, I asked her what she needed for me and what I could do to help her.  Now I am going to see if anyone is awake that needs hugs.

I saw this and literally laughed out loud, Little Lady couldn’t see why it was funny.

Sunday 23 September 2018

Accident and Emergency Take Two

Gorgeous came home from school this week cradling his wrist and telling us it was causing him a lot of pain.  Two weeks into his first year of high school, one of the Year 11 boys kicked a ball into his hand with full force.  He tells me it’s not the first incident, one of his friends was hit with a ball by the Year 11’s and knocked clean out.

I didn’t fancy taking him to the Accident and Emergency on a busy Friday night, so gave him pain relief and sent him to bed. Instead, we went after Fajr (dawn) prayers when we found it empty and were seen without any delay and back home by eight in the morning.  It turned out he had fractured his wrist in two places.

After his older brothers fractured ankle earlier this year, where he got stomped on during a game of football, I don’t fancy having to go back to A&E again, nor to the ongoing fracture clinic appointments.

I might have a word with the school about overly boisterous football players. 

Summer Break in Bournemouth 2018: New Forest Heritage Centre and Museum

On the way back from our three days in Bournemouth and the surrounding areas, we stopped in the New Forest.  By this point we had left later than planned due to car trouble, we were tired, the kids were car-sick and everyone was hungry.

We ended up stopping at the New Forest Heritage Centre Museum, which has an accompanying visitor centre.  We found disabled toilets to make ablution and prayed in the car park.  The kids stretched their legs and got some air.  We asked the nice ladies in the centre about somewhere to eat.

I wanted to take a very quick look in the Heritage Centre Museum, but the older kids wanted to stay outside, so the Babies and I took a quick tour.

The Museum documents the life and history of the New Forest area including the people, crafts and nature.

There were lots of interactive activities for the little ones, and crafts and art for me to look at, including old maps and a tapestry documenting the history of the New Forest to the present day.

One room was dedicated to art work by local artists, including a mixed media picture of a horse I thought was very beautiful.

Running Wild by Jillain Fry:

The visitor centre and museum were a nice distraction and place to stop and get out bearings.  The accompanying shop had some nice things and I managed to leave with a pretty silver sycamore bracelet that hubby bought me.

Summer Break in Bournemouth 2018: New Forest Wildlife Park

We have passed by The New Forest in the past on our trips to Dorset and I was intrigued by it, so when one of our group suggested we stop there on the way back to London from Bournemouth, I was up for it.  I didn’t have much time to research what we could do, and most activities seemed mainly suited to hikers and cyclists, which my group is decidedly not.

In the end, we settled on the New Forest Wildlife Park, which is a collection of local animal species housed in the forest itself.  The Wildlife Park requires you to follow a path through the forest that leads you from one enclosure to another.

We saw wolves, deer, boar (Peppa’s dad apparently…), lynx, wildcat and a beautiful stag. We did manage to go around in circles a few times and missed seeing the Bison. 

The number of animals isn’t enormous, but the setting of the New Forest is beautiful and there were a number of well-designed and interesting play spaces for younger and older kids that we spent quite a bit of time in.

There was also a butterfly house which housed a few other small mammals like otters and field mice.  There were quite a few butterflies hidden in the foliage, although I didn’t manage to get a picture of the most beautiful one, which had big cobalt wings.

Overall, not the most exotic or the largest collection of animals we have seen, but made up for by the beautiful location in the forest and the play spaces.

Friday 21 September 2018

Summer Break in Bournemouth 2018: The Beautiful Walk to Durdle Door

If there was one place I have the fondest memories of from our last trip to Dorset it would be Durdle Door and if there was one place that was my favourite this time round, it was Durdle Door.

The last time, we parked at Lulworth Cove visitor centre and because it was a long walk uphill and the weather was temperamental, we left my mum, mother-in-law and our then three children in the car and went off to take a quick look.  I lasted about 20 steps and then had to be dragged the rest of the way by my husband.  We sat at the top gazing out over the sea with my head on his shoulder, but with me secretly worrying about the lecture we were going to get when we got back, for leaving everyone for so long.

This time, I suggested we park at the top at a closer car park and save our legs.  Funnily enough, it was still almost a 20 minute walk down hill and then down a long set of stone steps onto the beach.

But what a wonderful walk it was.  We were blessed with a sunny day and fresh breeze and there is something about happy families on holiday that makes for a lovely environment.  A few people saw me taking pictures and offered to take one of me with the kids.  The views from the top were so very beautiful.

You need to be a little solid on your feet because the walk is long and the path is not always flat.  But the long walk and the careful descent down the stairs is well worth it.  At the bottom is a cove-like beach with green water and the stones that form Durdle Door nearby.

The kids forgot they were cool teenagers and descended into joyful kids.  Little Lady was tasked by her grandfather to do a photo shoot of pics to take home to Pakistan with him, he was insistent that there should be English people in the background…

The boys skimmed rocks and the babies looked for pretty stones.  Hubby decided to photo-bomb me and I just enjoyed the green water and the blue skies and my family around me.

I was dreading the walk back to the car park as it was uphill, and it took us so long to get down.  In the end it took as 30 minutes and we stopped once to give my dad-in-law a rest, but it was do-able.

If you are ever in the area, I heartily recommend making a stop in this magical place and enjoying the walk down, maybe the walk back up less so :)